The Oxford Times

Oxtopia is FULL! Read the life stories of Chris Patten, Qu Leilei , Roger Bannister, Dwina Gibb, Peggy Seeger & more


I am a fan of Desert Island Discs . It inspired me to invent Oxtopia and  to dispatch 120 amazing people to my  mythical island . SCROLL DOWN to find the name of someone who interests you. Click on the PDF to read inspiring [...]

Reminiscing and The Portrait of the Artist as Pure Genius (Leonardo da Vinci)

The quest for knowledge is possibly the most inspiring quality in the V&A Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, writes SYLVIA VETTA.
By |May 12th, 2017|Art, The Oxford Times|Comments Off|

Exclusive Chinese New Year feature : Qu Leilei one of the founders of the Stars Art Movement which changed Chinese art forever!

A coup for Chinese New Year! Exclusive interview for Oxfordshire Limited Edition with one of the founders of the Stars Art movement the courageous Qu Leilei.

Ai Weiwei, Ma Desheng, Wang Keping and Li Shuang are among [...]

News from Oxtopia: Eminent entomologist names rare butterfly ‘Sylvia Vetta’, a message from Brian Aldiss and an inspirational project led by Charlotte Bannister Parker.

As well as inviting local castaways to the launch of Brushstrokes in Time on February 2 at Blackwell’s in Oxford @ 6.45pm  (free but booking preferable.)  I inquired about  life on Oxtopia. This was TV naturalist  Dr George McGavin’ssurprising reply.

“I [...]

Here is the cover of Brushstrokes in Time. The book is almost ready to go to print!

I’ve just received the front and back cover of Brushstrokes in Time and I’m feeling rather emotional. 10 years in the making and it really is happening! Claret Press are being brave in publishing my novel set in China [...]

By |December 20th, 2015|Art|0 Comments|

Syndicated reviews

Newsquest have syndicated a lot of the reviews listed below. Here is one of them. Maybe it is down to my Cornish heritage but I loved reviewing this exhibition.

Until recently I wrote two reviews a month for Weekend which [...]

Why and how did I become interested in China?


Pictures:  Qu Leilei and I outside  his childhood weekend home in The Summer Palace, The Stars March to Tiananmen Square  (1979) Right:Weimin He’s picture at the ROQ site inspired by my poem An Artist Observes

.Castaway No 42 [...]

Celebrate Children’s Creativity!

I remember going to the Dora Marr sale of work by Picasso and being struck by the childlike quality of quite a large proportion of it. I am impressed by children’s art when it is spontaneous. In September Oxfordshire Limited [...]

Art CONNECTS Oxford and China Centenary Exhibition of work by Fang Zhaoling and Sylvia’s review of Xu Bing@The Ashmolean


Yi Chen is Christensen fellow at the Ashmolean (  I first met Weimin He when he held that post. )

She and Shelagh Vainker curated this delightful exhibition.

I can recommend it if you need to slow down, relax and enjoy a taste of [...]

My July 2015 castaway celebrates 100 years of the WI.

Pauline Goddard is the Chairman of the Oxfordshire Federation of Women’s Institutes in this special year for the organisation.  Oxfordshire has 142 branches.

I assumed the WI was quintessentially English but I was wrong:  it was a Canadian invention. The [...]