Private View held by Richard Andrews
Constable, Gainsborough, Turner And The Making Of Landscape explores the development of the British school of landscape painting. During the 18th and 19th centuries there was a shift in style in landscape painting, represented in this exhibition in the works of Thomas Gainsborough, the emotionally charged and sublime landscapes of JMW Turner, and John Constable's sentimental, romantic scenes. These landscape painters addressed the changing meaning of 'truth to nature' and the contemporary discourses surrounding the definitions of the Beautiful, the Sublime and the Picturesque. The exhibition comprises some 120 works of art, including paintings, prints, books and archival material by these three towering figures of English landscape painting. Highlights include Gainsborough's 'Romantic Landscape', Constable's 'The Leaping Horse' and 'Boat Passing a Lock', and Turner's 'Dolbadern Castle' and etching and mezzotint 'Norham Castle on the Tweed'. A number of works by their contemporaries Richard Wilson, Michael Angelo Rooker and Paul Sandby are also exhibited, with prints made after 17th century masters whose work served as models: Claude, Poussin, Gaspard Dughet and Salvator Rosa. Letters by Gainsborough, Turner's watercolour box and Constable's palette are also on display. Royal Academy of Arts until 17th February.
Barbara Hepworth: The Hospital Drawings reveals the remarkable series of drawings and paintings made during the late 1940s, illustrating surgeons at work in operating theatres within Post-War Britain. Following the hospitalisation of her daughter, Barbara Hepworth struck up a friendship with Norman Capener, a surgeon at the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Hospital in Exeter. Through this friendship, Hepworth was invited to witness a variety of surgical procedures at Exeter and the London Clinic. Over a 2 year period, from 1947 to 1949, Hepworth produced around 80 works in the series. As well as pencil, ink and chalk drawings, many were executed in both pencil and oil paint on board, and as such, can be seen as both paintings and drawings. With over 30 works on display, including Hepworth's sketchbook, this exhibition focuses on a less well known aspect of Hepworth's work, her skill as a draughtsperson. The display reveals how drawing was an important means of exploring forms that influenced her work as a sculptor. Hepworth was particularly fascinated by the rhythmic movement of hands during the medical procedures unfolding before her, recognising a close affinity between the work and approach both of physicians and surgeons, and painters and sculptors. Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield, until 3rd February.
Bubbles And Bankruptcy: Financial Crises In Britain Since 1700 looks at the story of bubbles, manias and crashes in Britain over the last 300 years. The display reveals the extraordinary stories of mismanagement, speculative frenzy, fraud and failure that permeate the history of finance. From the nation's first major speculative bubble, caused by the South Sea Company in 1720, to the UK banking crisis in 2008, the display uses original share certificates, prospectuses, banknotes and other objects to explain how, why and when financial crises have happened. As well as identifying its causes, the display shows how society has responded to crisis. Prints, contemporary cartoons, protest badges and modern works of art all reflect the potential for social, political and satirical commentary. Highlights include James Gillray's print 'Political-ravishment, or the old lady of Threadneedle-Street in danger!'; Steve Bell's 'Bank Levy' depicting a banker as a distraught fat cat in a suit having its claws clipped by the Chancellor George Osborne; a champagne bottle given out by Northern Rock to its employees when the Building Society demutualised to become a bank in 1997; and Justine Smith's sculpture made from real UK banknotes built into a house of cards. From the story of the man who sold land in a country that didn't actually exist, to the scandal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer who was sent to prison for financial corruption, the display shows how three centuries of bubbles and bankruptcies are still highly relevant to the British financial system today. British Museum until 5th May.
The Charles Dickens Museum, located in Dickens's only surviving London home, has re-opened following £3.1m restoration and refurbishment project. As part of this programme, the offices were transferred to the neighbouring building, where a visitor centre, learning centre and cafe were created, and the original Georgian house restored to the condition and decorative scheme when Dickens lived there, from 1837 to 1839. During this time, two of his daughters were born, his wife's sister Mary Hogarth (with whom he was alleged to have had an affair) died in his arms, and he finished The Pickwick Papers and wrote Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby. For the first time the entire four storey house is open to the public, including the kitchen and the attic. The museum holds over 100,000 items, including manuscripts, rare editions, furniture, jewellery, personal items, letters, paintings and other visual sources, including the National Dickens Library, the most comprehensive of its kind in the world. Among the highlights are Dickens's original writing desk and chair; his reading desk, which he designed himself; the grille from Marshalsea Prison, where his father was held over a debt, which features in Little Dorrit; his four poster bed; and photographs of the 1865 railway accident at Staplehurst in which he helped rescue the injured. In addition, costumes from the recent film of Great Expectations are on display. The Charles Dickens Museum, 48 Doughty Street, London, WC1, continuing.
In Front Of Nature: The European Landscapes Of Thomas Fearnley is the first British exhibition of the work of one of Scandinavia's most important painters. The fjords, forests, mountains, torrents and glaciers of Scandinavia and Switzerland, the lakes and picturesque country buildings of Cumbria, and the sun-drenched plains, hillsides, rocks and sea-shores of Southern Europe and the Mediterranean are brought vividly to life in the work of the Victorian artist Thomas Fearnley. Of British ancestry, but born and brought up in Norway, Fearnley was thought by some critics during his lifetime to possess a talent for landscape that rivaled Turner's. Although Fearnley toured Britain several times, painting views of the Lake District, and is today revered as one of the fathers of Norwegian paintings, in this country he is now virtually unknown. This exhibition, which aims to restore the reputation of this supremely talented artist of the Romantic era, comprises iconic large landscape paintings, including 'The Grindelwald Glacier', oil sketches and drawings, some of which have never before been seen in public. Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham, until 27th January.
Hartnell To Amies: Couture By Royal Appointment is a retrospective of London couture design after the Second World War. The exhibition explores how the Queen's patronage of ground breaking British designers Norman Hartnell, Hardy Amies and Frederick Fox helped to establish London as an international fashion centre. Whilst the English have been renowned for their tailoring since the 18th century, there was little typically British couture until Norman Hartnell opened in 1923. Known for his landmark art-moderne House of 1935, war-time Utility designs, and the Queen's wedding dress in 1947 and Coronation Dress of 1953, the iconic dress of the mid-20th century, Hartnell expressed the characteristics and the quality of British high fashion, and set the standard for generations to come. Hardy Amies's career began as designer at Lachasse, noted for its tailored suits, and he was in tune with Christian Dior's New Look. By 1951 Princess Elizabeth ordered from him, and as Queen Elizabeth II did so for the next five decades. Amies became a successful menswear designer in 1959 with the first recorded men's catwalk show. The milliner's role in London couture is examined through the work of Australian born designer Frederick Fox. His most famous designs are the hats he created for Queen Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and many celebrities worldwide. The exhibition ends with a discussion of the design house in the current fashion industry and the resurgence of British heritage brands, traditional tailoring and dressmaking. The Fashion and Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, London SE1, until 23rd February.
The Furniture Gallery is the first ever gallery dedicated to providing a permanent home for the internationally renowned furniture collection of over 14,000 pieces. Designed by NORD Architecture, the gallery displays more than 200 outstanding pieces of British and European furniture, from the Middle Ages to the present day, as well as examples of American and Asian furniture, and examines in detail the range of materials and techniques employed for each one. The pieces range from chairs, stools, tables, bureaux, chests, cabinets and wardrobes, to clocks, mirrors and screens. Well-known designers such as Thomas Chippendale, David Roentgen, Grinling Gibbons, George Bullock, Robert Adam, Eileen Gray, Michael Thonet, Ron Arad and Tom Dixon are represented, alongside lesser-known names selected for their superior workmanship. The gallery explores a thematic range of materials and techniques ranging from joinery, moulding, upholstery and digital manufacture, to carving, marquetry, gilding and lacquer. The display focuses on techniques of construction and decoration and includes numerous examples of how conservation and analysis have revealed previously unknown information about the way in which the objects were made. Highlights include a 16th century gilded cassone made for the Duke of Urbino; a 17th century scagliola decorated table formerly at Warwick Castle; a Gothic revival cradle designed by Richard Norman Shaw; a dining chair by Frank Lloyd Wright; and a storage unit by Charles and Ray Eames. Victoria & Albert Museum continuing.
Tracing The Century highlights drawing's fundamental role as a catalyst and vehicle for change in modern and contemporary art. The exhibition has at its heart artworks based on the human body and the inner self, examining the link between figuration and abstraction that characterised art in the 20th century, exploring the continuous slippage between the two. It moves from the preliminary sketch to painting, sculpture, photography and film, acknowledging the broader role drawing played within modernism. Some 100 works are brought together into small, often trans-historical groupings, demonstrating points of contact or crossroads between artists through the practice of drawing, such as a sequence of works on paper by Paul Cezanne, Paul Klee, Richard Hamilton, Lee Bontecou and Julie Mehretu, which proposes drawing as a means of conjuring imaginary worldscapes. Drawing's ability to transcend a fixed set of materials and conventions has ensured the medium's vitality and power to stimulate change. A number of works in the exhibition serve to erode the conventional definition of drawing as a static line on a two dimensional plane, such as Anthony McCall's 'Line Describing a Cone', where visitors can explore the projected line by moving around it, interacting with it and moving within the cone of light created; and Matt Saunders's 'Century Rolls', a series of silver gelatin prints created by projecting light through a drawing or painting to expose a sheet of photosensitive paper, alongside which are a new animated film made from a huge number of ink on mylar drawings, edited into hypnotic moving images. Tate Liverpool until 20th January.
Charles Jennens: The Man Behind Handel's 'Messiah' explores the life, work and character of the 18th century philanthropist who was Handel's greatest collaborator. Charles Jennens, an enigmatic character, had an enormous influence on Handel's life and work. As librettist for the oratorios 'Saul' and 'Belshazzar', he provided the composer with words that inspired some of his most challenging and exciting music. Jennens's carefully chosen scripture selection for 'Messiah' was to inspire Handel to even greater creative heights, and together these two men created one of the greatest musical works of all time (for which Jennens never received any payment). The exhibition examines their relationship in detail, alongside other elements of Jennens's life as a great landowner, the builder of a fine country house with extensive grounds, a major art collector, a Christian philanthropist, a devout defender of revealed religion, an encourager of other authors and composers, a forward looking editor of Shakespeare (including Hamlet and Othello), and possibly the owner of the first piano in England. This exhibition unites all known oil portraits of Jennens for the first time, and includes paintings and books from Jenner's collection, letters from Handel to Jennens discussing their projects, and original manuscripts by Handel with Jennens's alterations. Handel House Museum, 25 Brook Street, London W1, until 14th April.
The Lost Prince: The Life And Death Of Henry Stuart is the first ever exhibition about the Jacobean Prince of Wales, marking the 400th anniversary of his death. The exhibition focuses on a remarkable period in British history, dominated by a prince whose death at a young age precipitated widespread national grief, and led to the accession to the throne of his younger brother, the doomed King Charles I. It comprises over 80 exhibits, including paintings, drawings, miniatures, manuscripts, books, armour and other artefacts. Henry Stuart was the first British royal to actively collect European renaissance paintings, and he acquired the first collection of Italian renaissance bronzes in England. He brought the first collection of antique coins and medals to England, and also assembled the largest and most important library in the land. Henry's patronage of court masques and festivals, architecture and garden design established his court as a rival to the great princely courts of Europe. The exhibition includes some of the most important works of art and culture produced and collected in the Jacobean period, illustrating the artistic and creative community that developed under his patronage, including portraits by Holbein, Nicholas Hilliard, Robert Peake and Isaac Oliver, masque designs by Inigo Jones, and poetry by Ben Jonson in his own hand. Henry's death inspired a stream of poetical and musical tributes, published in nearly 50 contemporary volumes. The exhibition displays, for the first time in two centuries, the remains of Prince Henry's funeral effigy with an engraving that shows it lying on his hearse, dressed in his clothes. National Portrait Gallery until 13th January.
Cotman In Normandy looks at the central chapter of the career of the celebrated 19th century English watercolourist. For most of the 19th century John Sell Cotman was the most widely admired English watercolourist, surpassing even JMW Turner in popularity. Between 1817 and 1820 Cotman made 3 tours of Normandy, where he was shocked by the destruction wrought on the region's religious buildings by the iconoclasts of the French Revolution. He painted and drew structures that survived with a sharpened sense of their vulnerability. In 1822 Cotman published two monumental folio volumes, Ancient Architecture of Normandy, and this exhibition aims to put this work in the broader context of his lifelong engagement with buildings, moving on from the general perception that this period was a distraction from Cotman's celebrated lyrical watercolours. The exhibition brings together around 100 of Cotman's drawings, watercolours and prints, allowing comparison of his Normandy work against the background of his earlier architectural work, and presents a further 20 studies by other artists, including Turner, Samuel Prout and Henry Edridge, who also visited Normandy. Among the highlights of Cotman's works are 'Church of St Jacques at Dieppe, the West Front', 'An Old House in the Rue St Jean', 'Cathedral Church of Notre Dame at Rouen', 'A Ruined House', 'Alencon', 'Tower in Normandy', 'Dieppe Harbour' and two paintings of the town of Domfront, which have not been shown together since 1824. Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, Dulwich, London SE21, until 13th January.
Richard Hamilton: The Late Works is a final statement of intent by one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century. Up to his death in September 2011, Richard Hamilton was planning this major exhibition of recent works. It includes 30 paintings in a labyrinth-like space, also designed by Hamilton, encapsulating many of the influential directions his art had taken over recent decades. Just before his death, Hamilton was at work on a major painting based on Honore de Balzac's short story 'Le Chef-d'oeuvre inconnu'. When it became clear he would not live to finish the work, Hamilton decided that the exhibition would culminate in the initial presentation of three large-scale variations on this work. Each one shows three masters of painting, Poussin, Courbet and Titian, contemplating a reclining female nude, and together, they suggest how the final work might have evolved. The exhibition traces several themes of Hamilton's career from the 1980s. They include his exacting attention to single-point perspective and the pictorial creation of interior spaces; the theme of the beautiful woman and desire; and his later interest in space and perspective in works by Renaissance artists. The show also surveys Hamilton's engagement over more than 50 years with the art of Marcel Duchamp, whose master themes, including the nude descending a staircase and the bride stripped bare, he re-addressed. In addition, Hamilton's innovations as a pioneer in the artistic use of the computer, and his advocacy of the use of computer technology, collage and photography in his pictures are also examined. National Gallery until 13th January.