(July 3): You can look forward to a show of rare art, or a TV series on a lauded novel

Art History
About 150 works from the former collection of England’s King Charles I will be shown together for the first time since the 17th century at the Royal Academy of Arts in London next year. The exhibition includes 90 works lent by Queen Elizabeth II, as well as pieces from The National Gallery in London, the Musée du Louvre in Paris and the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid. Highlights include the monumental portraits of the king and his family by Anthony van Dyck — Charles I and Henrietta Maria with Prince Charles and Princess Mary; Charles I on Horseback with M de St Antoine; and Charles I on Horseback and Charles I at the Hunt (below). The last work, borrowed from the Louvre, is returning to England for the first time since the 17th century.

In the two years before he ascended the throne, Prince Charles visited Madrid, which was u n d e r Habsburg rule at the time. He was very impressed by the Habsburg art collection and returned home with various works, including paintings by Titian and Veronese. Charles built on this fledgling collection by acquiring other pieces — including works accumulated by the Dukes of Mantua — and by commissioning works from artists such as Van Dyck. By 1649, Charles I’s collection comprised about 1,500 paintings and 500 sculptures.

The Royal Academy of Arts was founded by King George III in 1768. The privately funded institution, led by eminent artists and architects, aims to serve as a clear, strong voice for art and artists.

Charles I: King and Collector will run from Jan 27 to April 15, 2018 at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. For more information, visit www. royalacademy.org.uk.

Yangon dreams
Billed as one of the top 20 travel destinations of 2017, Myanmar is a kaleidoscope of towering gilded pagodas, spectacular archaeological sites and glorious colonial heritage landmarks. Established in 1901 by the Sarkies brothers, The Strand Yangon is one of the leading luxury hotels in Southeast Asia, embodying the long colonial history of this mysterious country.

The hotel recently unveiled new design details after a six-month renovation that preserved its heritage while ushering it into a new era with a contemporary twist. The suites feature traditional décor complemented by vintage-inspired textiles and original artworks, framed by a white and silver colour palette. The rooms have been refurbished to include all the modern creature comforts that millennial travellers look for — high-speed WiFi, USB ports, satellite TV and remote controlled curtains, as well as a new Bluetooth system that allows guests to connect with a butler to order room service.

Dine at the elegant Strand Café or indulge in the formality of The Strand Restaurant, but for a true experience, The Sarkies Bar is a must. The epicentre of social life in Yangon for over a century, the space is panelled in teakwood and features a large circular mirror in the middle of the bar counter. Complementing the classical glamour is a porcelain lamp decorated with a traditional colour painting.

The elegant old-world watering hole features an updated list of signature cocktails and has a modern, mysterious orange colour scheme.

Find more information or make reservations at www.hotelthestrand.com.

Ride and fly
Bentley has created the ultimate accessory for falcon enthusiasts everywhere with the new Bentayga Falconry.

The Falconry is handcrafted by Mulliner — Bentley’s personal commissioning division — and features a bespoke installation that stores all the equipment for a falconry expedition. To create the falconry kit, Mulliner used luxurious, sustainable and durable materials such as natural cork fabric. The falconry has two individual units — the master flight station and a refreshment case. The units sit on a movable tray for easy access. The master flight unit contains a special piano-black veneered drawer with a saker falcon crest that contains bespoke storage for falconry.

Beneath the drawer is a laserembossed Hotspur hide stowage tray with individual compartments for a GPS bird-tracking unit, binoculars, handcrafted leather bird hoods and gauntlets.

The refreshment case features three metal flasks and durable cups, a blanket and face cloths. The cabin contains a removable transport perch and tether on the central armrest, created using 430 individual pieces of wood sourced from all over the world.

Mulliner director Geoff Dowding says, “The Bentayga Falconry showcases what’s possible with our skilled craftspeople. They can devise elegant and exquisitely executed bespoke solutions to complement any lifestyle or hobby. Falconry is regarded as the sport of kings in the Middle East, so it is vital that the kit we created is as luxurious as it is practical and durable to appeal to our valued customers there and around the world.”

Chow, bella
Bulgari has just opened the BVLGARI Il Ristorante-Luca Fantin at the Bulgari Resort in Bali, Indonesia.

The restaurant, opened by Michelin-starred chef Luca Fantin, takes on the same themes as the first Il Ristorante-Luca Fantin in Tokyo, which pays homage to traditional Italian cuisine while using local, organic ingredients for a creative twist. The restaurant is open for dinner only and seats 36 people. The menu includes dishes such as squid ink gnocchi with raw cuttlefish, cold spaghetti with caviar and wagyu beef eggplant.

The talented Fabrizio Crocetta has been appointed resident head chef of the restaurant. Crocetta has chalked up more than six years of experience, working at various Michelin-starrred restaurants throughout Italy and Asia.

Il Ristorante-Luca Fantin will also offer a selection of over 200 wines, predominantly from Italy, as well as an exclusive collection of champagnes.

A suitable boy
BBC is set to adapt Vikram Seth’s novel, A Suitable Boy, for television. Set in post-colonial India, the period drama will feature an entirely non-white cast and is expected to take the coveted Sunday night spot that has included Poldark and War and Peace in recent times.

The novel will be adapted into an eight-part series with the script written by Andrew Davies, who is known for the popular 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice and War and Peace. Filming a period drama is a big risk for BBC, but a welcome change after a warning from regulator Ofcom that its shows were “too white” and often failed to appeal to ethnic minorities.

“We are here to take creative risks and to do the sort of work that commercial broadcasters might be more reluc tant to do,” says Piers Wenger, BBC head of drama, in an article in The Telegraph. “But we also have a real responsibility and a requirement to reflect a range of British communities.”

Seth’s novel was first published in 1993 and is one of the longest ever in the English language, at 1,349 pages. The story follows a mother’s effort to marry off her daughter and draws some parallels with Pride and Prejudice. Filming is set to begin later this year.

This article appeared in Issue 785 (June 26) of The Edge Singapore.