Julian Stair: Quietus: The Vessel, Death and the Human Body. A major solo exhibition of ceramic works by celebrated British artist Julian Stair. Invoking notions of classical beauty with the belief that pottery can encapsulate the most complex of ideas through elegant simplicity, Stair explores one of the few life experiences universal to all, death. At Lightwells & Deadhouse, South Wing, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2 until 26 January www.somersethouse.org.uk

Honoré Daumier. Described by Baudelaire as the artist with the capacity to capture ‘the heroism of modern life’. This exhibition will showcase every facet of Daumier’s output following a chronological span of the artist’s lifetime, which saw extensive political and social change in France. In the Sackler Wing of Galleries, Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, London W1 until 26 January 2014, www.royalacademy.org.uk

Norman Cornish: A Slice of Life.
Paintings, drawings, watercolours and pastels of mining life. University Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne until 31 January 2014 www.universitygallery.co.uk

Qalam: The Art of Beautiful Writing.
The exhibition brings the vibrant and distinctive art form, Calligraphy, to the heart of Birmingham, showcasing historic manuscripts, decorated objects and contemporary art. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Chamberlain Sq, Birmingham. until 26 January www.bmag.org.uk

Dana Schutz.
Featuring 13 large-scale new canvases created 2010-13, this is the first UK solo exhibition of one of America’s most acclaimed young, contemporary painters. Schutz’s work reflects the social realities and cultural anxieties of today, which are riotously coloured with casts of odd characters and approached with a dead-pan humour. At The Hepworth Wakefield, Gallery Walk, Wakefield until 26 January 2014. www.hepworthwakefield.org

William Darbyshire: The W.A. Ismay Collection. Consisting of over 3,600 pieces, this exhibition brings together contemporary artist Matthew Darbyshire and one of the world’s largest and most significant collections of 20th century ceramics. Supporting approximately 700 ceramics from the collection, Darbyshire uses the architectural footprint of Ismay’s two-bedroomed terraced house where even the bathtub was used as a display shelf. At the Hepworth Wakefield, Gallery Walk, Wakefield until 26 January 2014. www.hepworthwakefield.org

Sean Scully: Triptychs. One of the most admired painters in the abstract tradition painting monumental works in oil revealing the medium’s capacity for expressive power. This is the first exhibition to explore the artist’s engagement with the triptych format from the last 40 years. Pallant House Gallery, 9 North Pallant, Chichester, West Sussex until 26 January 2014
www.pallant.org.uk

White Light/White Heat: Contemporary Artists and Glass – showing pieces by artists and designers including Tracey Emin, Thomas Schutte and Meekyoung Shin. At the Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1 until 26 Jan. www.wallacecollection.org

Colour Coded – works by artists for whom the use of colour is central to their practice. The history, science and symbolism behind the remarkable colour spectrum that it is now possible to reproduce. Alongside Patrick Caulfield’s striking Jules Laforgue series of prints, the exhibition will feature a range of works by contemporary artist Ella Robinson. At Museums Sheffield, Weston Park, Western Bank, Sheffield until 26 Jan 2014. www.museums-sheffield.org.uk

Royal Paintbox:
Royal Artists Past and Present – charting the history of royal artists from the 17th century to the present day. At The Drawings Gallery, Windsor Castle until 26 Jan. www.royalcollection.org.uk

H R Bell – Looking for China. Paintings recording the artist’s visits to China from autumn into winter, when she divided her time between the urban environment of Beijing and the countryside around Lijiang and Shaxi in Yunnan Province. At Francis Kyle Gallery, 9 Maddox Street, London W1 until 30 Jan. www.franciskylegallery.com

Stanley Spencer: Heaven in a Hell of War – the National Trust brings the UK’s ‘Sistine Chapel’ to London to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War. Spencer’s large scale canvases have left their permanent home at the Sandham Memorial Chapel and come to: the Terrace Rooms at Somerset House, Strand, London WC2 until 26 Jan. www.somersethouse.org.uk

A Lasting Legacy – the house and collection of the historian and writer who died in 2010 aged 85 – a fascinating insight into Victor Skipp’s life and extraordinary collection of objects spanning primitive art, modernism, philosophy, literature. At Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street, Cambridge until 26 Jan. www.kettlesyard.co.uk.

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