News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 1st December 2010


Bridget Riley: Paintings And Related Work offers an opportunity to see how recent paintings by one of Britain's most significant abstract painters of the second half of the 20th century relates to the works of Old Masters. Although Bridget Riley first came to prominence as one of the founders of the Op Art movement in the early 1960s, working initially in black, white and grey, introducing colour only in 1967, she has always had a deep interest in the Old Masters, looking at and learning their uses of colour, line and composition. The exhibition includes one of Riley's first endeavors as an emerging artist, a copy of Jan van Eyck's 'Portrait of a Man'. Two of Riley's works have been made directly onto the walls of the gallery: 'Composition with Circles 7', specially created for this exhibition, and a version of her wall-painting, 'Arcadia'. Among the paintings by Old Masters are Mantegna's 'Introduction of the Cult of Cybele to Rome', Raphael's 'Saint Catherine of Alexandria', and three studies by Georges Seurat. Recent paintings on canvas, which have introduced new curvilinear rhythms and movements into Riley's work, are seen alongside some of her earlier paintings, and a selection of works on paper that help to explain her development and working process. In an accompanying film, Bridget Riley discusses her lifelong artistic relationship with the works of Old Masters. National Gallery until 22nd May.

Invitation To The Ballet: Ninette de Valois And The Story Of The Royal Ballet charts the development of The Royal Ballet from its foundations in the late 1920s to the present day. The exhibition tells the remarkable story of how Ninette De Valois, a young Irish dancer born Edris Stannus, who started her career impersonating Anna Pavlova in English seaside pier theatres, went on to found The Royal Ballet, which has since become one of the world's leading companies. Drawing on the Royal Ballet's extensive archive, over 40 costumes, worn by some of the greatest names in ballet, from Rudolf Nureyev and Antoinette Sibley to Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope, are on show, together with set and costume designs by designers and artists including Pablo Picasso, Edward Burra, William Chappell, Rex Whistler, Oliver Messel and Yolanda Sonnabend. In addition there are photographs, films, programmes, letters, press cuttings, music manuscripts, dance notation scores, posters and other memorabilia. Among the highlights is a recreation of Margot Fonteyn's dressing room, with her dressing table, personal letters, original practice clothes, costumes, shoes and props. The exhibition also illustrates L S Lowry's involvement with ballet, and shows how his appreciation of art, music and dance affected his work. It includes a triptych of mannequins that has never been on public display before, and portraits of Ann Hilder, believed to have been inspired by de Valois performance as Swanhilda in Coppelia. The Lowry, Salford, until 6th March.

Christmas Past: 400 Years Of Seasonal Traditions In English Homes looks at the meanings and origins of our Christmas and New Year customs, including the holly and the ivy, mistletoe and kissing boughs, decorations, trees, fire and candlelight, carol singing and the Yule log. Also featured are traditional foods and drink, with wassailing, parties, mulled wine, cakes and puddings. Twelve period living rooms decorated in authentic festive styles from 1600 to 2000 reflect our changing social habits, and show how Christmas as we now know it has evolved, from feasting, dancing and kissing under the mistletoe to playing parlour games, hanging up stockings, sending cards, decorating the tree and throwing cocktail parties. There is an accompanying programme of events focusing on 20th and 21st century festivities, highlighting the main developments and changes in the domestic celebration of Christmas, with the switch from home crafted to shop bought decorations and food, the increasing popularity of Santa Claus, and the growing prominence of children, plus decoration, card making and other craft workshops, candle lit entertainment, talks, carols and other Christmas music, right through to the burning of holly and ivy on Twelfth Night, with seasonal food and drink available. The museum is located in fourteen almshouses built in 1715 by the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers. Geffrye Museum, Shoreditch, London, until 5th January.


Images And Sacred Texts: Buddhism Across Asia explores the 'three jewels' of Buddhism through sacred texts, painted scrolls and sculptures. The exhibition focuses on the institutional and organisational core of Buddhism, the 'three jewels', consisting of the Buddha himself, his teachings, and the monastic community. These are found wherever Buddhism is practiced, and have been represented in a paintings, sculptures, texts and manuscripts that reflect and perpetuate their qualities. The objects on display include exquisite gold sculptures of the Buddha, beautiful texts on palm leaf and paper, and a selection of images of Buddhist monks. They originate from the whole Asian continent, including Mongolia, India, Tibet, China, Thailand, Cambodia, Korea and Japan and date from the 2nd century AD to the 20th century. The exhibition reveals the remarkable similarities between visual and written material throughout Asia, from Sri Lanka to Japan, over this period. It examines the Buddha's life and illustrates how Buddhism is based on his teachings, provides an introduction to Bodhisattvas (individual beings who have the potential to become Buddhas), looks at the way the Buddhist tradition perpetuated its sacred texts in different media, and examines the monastic community responsible for the preservation and transmission of the Buddha's teaching. Many of these objects have never been on display before, and due to the fragility of the paintings and texts, some items in the display will be changed halfway through the exhibition run. British Museum until 3rd April.

Gods And Monsters: John Deakin's Portraits Of British Artists pairs iconic portraits of British artists by the legendary Vogue photographer, with major paintings by each artist, providing a unique view of early post-war British art and London's artistic bohemia. John Deakin began his career as a photographer with Vogue but, despite achieving recognition for the photographs he took there, he never took it seriously and never expected it to make him a living - and his bad behaviour was legendary. Deakin yearned to be a painter like his friends Francis Bacon, Robert Colquhoun, Lucian Freud and Michael Andrews, all of whom he photographed. In turn, Andrews and Freud both painted his likeness. Deakin was a celebrated part of the artistic circle that convened in the pubs and clubs of Soho. Portraits in this exhibition are drawn largely from a portfolio commissioned by Vogue of 12 contemporary artists in 1951 and 1952, along with other portraits of painters and sculptors made by Deakin for the magazine at various times throughout his career. Deakin's photographs, typically tightly-cropped headshots often greater than life-size, make no concessions to vanity. After pushing the contrast in his prints to its maximum, every pore and blemish is exposed in intimate close-up. Artists and subjects featured include: Michael Andrews, Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon, Robert Colquhoun, John Craxton, Lucian Freud, William Gear, Barbara Hepworth, Patrick Heron, Robert Macbryde, Robert Medley, John Minton, Eduardo Paolozzi, John Piper, Alan Reynolds, Ceri Richards, Leonard Rosoman, William Scott, Graham Sutherland, William Turnbull and Keith Vaughan. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 10th January.

Winter Wonderland, set between Hyde Park Corner and the Serpentine, is the ultimate winter theme park experience. The 20 acre site features London's largest outdoor ice rink - created with 130,000 litres of frozen water, weighing 130 tonnes - able to accommodate up to 400 skaters at a time, with ice guides to help beginners; a toboggan slide; a haunted mansion; an ice palace mirror maze; a traditional Christmas Market, with over 50 separate wooden chalets, offering arts, crafts, presents and foods; numerous cafes and bars serving traditional food and mulled wine; a 50m observation wheel providing a panoramic view of London above the park; a big top presenting Zippo's Circus with a special 50 minute Christmas themed show and Winter Cirque featuring a Wheel of Death a final Battle of Fire; Carter's Steam Fair traditional rides and attractions; thrill rides including Power Tower, Rollercoaster, Black Hole and Ice Monster; a ski jump and snow ride; and a selection of gentler amusement rides for younger children; plus Father Christmas in his own Santa Land. To add to the atmosphere, the trees along Serpentine Road sparkle with thousands of Christmas lights highlighting the natural beauty of Hyde Park. Entrance to the Winter Wonderland site is free, with fees for individual attractions. Hyde Park, 10am-10pm daily (except Christmas Day) until 4th January.

Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices is the first ever exhibition exploring the English language from Anglo-Saxon runes to modern day rap. Driven by developments in religion, politics, technology, economics and culture, English today is spoken by a third of the world's population. This is a unique opportunity to see and hear its evolution from a language spoken on a small island to a global language spoken by 1.8bn people. From Chaucer's Canterbury Tales to Papua New Guinea Pidgin, the exhibition examines where the language is now, where it has come from and where it is heading. It is a 1,500 year history told through the literary canon, looking beneath the tip of the linguistic iceberg at comics, adverts, text messages, posters, newspapers, trading records and dialect recordings that make up the bulk of the English language. The new varieties of the language appearing in world literature and on the internet show that this story is by no means over. Among the 130 items on display are: the earliest surviving copy of the poem Beowulf; the 11th century Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye, the first printed book in English, translated and printed by William Caxton; Captain John Smith's A True Relation, a contemporary description of the first permanent English colony in America; Thomas Hoccleve's The Regiment of Princes poem written for the future king Henry V; an original 17th century King James or 'Authorised Version' Bible; the Victorian Modern Flash Dictionary, which listed popular slang; the original Riot Act; BBC Broadcast English, codifying the correct pronunciation for use on radio in 1929; and Charles C Bombaugh's 1867 poem 'Essay to Miss Catharine Jay', which includes the phrase 'I wrote 2 U B 4'. British Library until 3rd April.

White And Silver: Whistler And The Thames examines the American artist's engagement with the river Thames, in paintings, lithographs, drawings and etchings. This exhibition explores James McNeill Whistler's depictions of the river, from the direct observations of working life in the early etchings, to the innovative paintings in which he drew out a previously unseen beauty from the city's smog-bound industrial landscape. In 1863 Whistler, moved to a house on the riverside at Chelsea, which became his main home for almost 30 years. The Thames was a constant part of his daily life and became a major subject for his art. Throughout his life Whistler was preoccupied by cities and their rivers and canals, notably Venice and Amsterdam, exploring the architecture of the waterside and the shipping and bridges of the waterways. But it was the Thames and its docks and industrial shores that stimulated some of his most important works, from the daringly modern depictions of the working river in the Thames Set of etchings, to the poetic night time views of the Nocturne paintings. The exhibition centrepiece is 'Blue and Silver: Screen with Old Battersea Bridge', which is shown alongside the closely related 'Nocturne: Blue and Gold - Old Battersea Bridge' for the first time in over 40 years. Other highlights include: 'London: A Pilgrimage', 'Thames Warehouses', 'Battersea Reach from Lindsey Houses', 'The Tall Bridge' and 'The Thames'. Whistler's depictions of the river occupy an ambivalent position, neither seeming to be overtly nostalgic for a way of life that was disappearing along the river, nor an advocate of progress and modernisation or social change. Huntarian Art Gallery, Glasgow, until 8th January.

High Society explores the role of mind-altering drugs in history and culture, challenging the perception that drugs are a disease of modern life. Mind-altering drugs have a rich history and have been used variously as medicines, sacraments, trade goods, and routes to the divine or creative muses. The exhibition examines the subject in 5 areas: A Universal Impulse records the common drive to incorporate psychoactive substances into everyday lives; From Apothecary To Laboratory traces the path from the earliest folk remedies through the laboratories of the early 19th century to the garden shed where MDMA (ecstasy) was synthesized; Self Experimentation follows both scientists' and artists' experience of drugs as they looked for different kinds of enlightenment; Collective Intoxication explores communal drug rites from tribal ritual to mass protests; The Drugs Trade focuses on the often violent global passage of drugs; and A Sin, A Crime, A Vice Or A Disease? surveys the temperance and prohibition movements that created the framework for the current drug laws. Over 200 exhibits on display include Samuel Taylor Coleridge's handwritten 'Kubla Khan' manuscript, allegedly written following an opium dream; NASA experiments with intoxicated spiders; a 17th century account by Captain Thomas Bowrey describing his crew's experiments with bhang, a cannabis drink; an 11th century manuscript with poppy remedies written by monks in Suffolk; and a hallucinogenic snuff set collected in the Amazon by the Victorian explorer Richard Spruce. The exhibition also features contemporary art pieces exploring drug use and culture, including Tracy Moffat's 'Laudanum' portrait series; a recreation of the 'Joshua Light Show' by Joshua White, who created psychedelic backdrops for Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin; and an installation work by Huang Yong Ping. Wellcome Collection, London, until 27th February.


Ruins, Rotas And Romance marks the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the remains of Britain's largest Roman palace. In true British style, the palace was discovered by accident during the digging of a water main trench in 1960. The discovery led to 9 seasons of excavations that showed the site had developed from a military base at the time of the Roman invasion in AD43 to a sumptuous palace by the end of the 1st century. It was the one of the biggest systematic Romano-British excavations of its time, undertaken by hundreds of volunteers from all over the world, with around 70 working together at any one time. Between 1995 and 2002, new excavations revealed exciting new insights into the development of the site. The palace and gardens contain a hypocaust (the Roman under floor heating system) and the largest collection of near perfect in-situ mosaic floors in Britain, some 20 in all, including the famous 'Cupid on a Dolphin' mosaic. Over the years the garden has been replanted true to the original plan revealed by the archaeology. The story of the excavations and the people whose labours revealed these treasures is told through an audio-visual programme, rare records, handwritten notes, diaries, photographs, plans, reconstruction drawings and models, together with artefacts that were discovered. Fishbourne Roman Palace, near Chichester, West Sussex, until 15th December.

Treasures From Budapest: European Masterpieces From Leonardo To Schiele showcases the breadth and wealth of one of the finest collections of art in Central Europe. The exhibition features over 200 works, and includes paintings, drawings and sculpture from the early Renaissance to the 20th century, many of which have not previously been shown in Britain, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, El Greco, Peter Paul Rubens, Goya, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Albrecht Durer, Tintoretto, Nicolas Poussin, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Egon Schiele, Marc Chagall, Paul Gauguin and Pablo Picasso. The show is organised broadly chronologically, with thematic sections that consider the richness of the collections in relation to religious works, mythological subjects, portraiture, still lifes and landscape painting. Among the highlights are the 4m high 'St Andrew Altarpiece from Liptoszentandras'; Raphael's 'Virgin and Child with St John the Baptist' (The Esterhazy Madonna); Goya's 'Water-carrier'; Veronese's 'Portrait of a Man'; Rubens's 'Head of a Bearded Man'; Rembrandt's 'Saskia van Uylenburgh Sitting by a Window'; Canaletto's 'The Lock at Dolo'; Leonardo's 'Mounted Warrior'; Toulouse-Lautrec's 'These Women in the Dining Room'; and Schiele's 'Two Women Embracing'. Royal Academy of Arts until 12th December.

Chinese Ceramics And The Early Modern World traces the remarkable journey of Chinese ceramics throughout the globe. Between 1300 and 1800, ceramic objects manufactured at southern Chinese kilns were some of the most universally desired products in the world. From humble Cambodian traders to the shahs of Iran and the princesses of Europe, the wide dissemination of Chinese ceramics testifies to cross-cultural encounters on a truly global scale. Both functional and collectable, ceramic objects were also the bearers of culture that could be interpreted or absorbed in different ways, and Chinese imports influenced many of the indigenous ceramic traditions they encountered. In particular, the exhibition focuses on a European aspect of this dissemination of Chinese ceramics, known as 'China Mania'. It investigates the rise and resilience of porcelain collecting, comparing European notions of material beauty and desire with those of China. The ceramics of all kinds on display show the rich diversity, beauty and quality of the porcelain produced in this period, easily illustrating why it was so sought after. There is much beyond the willow-pattern plate. Museum of East Asian Art, Bath, until 12th December.