News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 2nd May 2007


Home And Garden: Domestic Spaces In Painting 1914 - 1960 explores the representation of urban domestic interiors and gardens in paintings, providing a vivid and intimate glimpse into private worlds not often on view. The focus is on the valued domestic spaces of the middle classes rather than those of Royalty or the aristocracy. It brings together paintings and drawings from collections across the UK, shown not simply as works of art, but interpreted as historical documents, with detailed evidence for understanding the nature of middle class domestic interiors and gardens. The exhibition comprises around 40 works, by both famous artists, including Vanessa Bell, Walter Sickert, Paul Nash, Eric Ravilious, Victor Passmore and Patrick Caulfield, as well as those who are less well known, such as Charles H H Burleigh, Howard Gilman, Donald Towner and Harry Bush. In all of these paintings the complex nature of the urban English middle classes begins to be revealed, providing an insight into the culture, habits, taste, values and social melieu of the times. The subjects are mainly located in London, but also embrace other major cities and towns. The exhibition reflects the astonishing transformation in domestic life, from the left over Edwardian, to the brink of Contemporary. Long undervalued as 'high art' these paintings reveal real lives, and unlike scratchy newsreels or faded family snaps, are as fresh and as colourful as the day they were painted. Geffre Museum, London until 24th June.

Something That I'll Never Really See: Contemporary Photography From The V&A offers an opportunity to see a selection from the significant additions to the collection of works acquired over the last ten years. On display are images by some of the most innovative international contemporary photographers, including well known names such as Cindy Sherman, Nick Knight, Nan Goldin and Susan Derges, together with emerging new talents such as Frances Kearney, Sarah Jones and Hannah Starkey. Despite their range of subject matter, the selection has in common their creative genre-blurring, typical of the period: fashion images draw on gritty documentary, abstract fine art works use scientific imaging, and apparently realistic photos are actually elaborately staged sets. The grand scale of many of the photographs engross the viewer in the image, whilst smaller scale works draw attention to the traditions of photographic history and fine printing by hand. Among the highlights are Corrine Day's iconic Vogue portrait of Kate Moss (with fairy lights); Stephen Gill's 'L'Oreal Paris Because You're Worth It' - the junkyard of detritus behind the billboard; Richard Billingham's portrait of his mother, with tattoos in a floral dress doing a jigsaw; Neeta Madahar's 'Sustanance 114', featuring birds feeding in the foliage of a tree; and Huang Yan's 'Plum', a face with a classic Chinese landscape painting on it. Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, until 24th June.

Task Force Falklands aims to tell the story of the Falklands War from the perspective of those who lived and fought through it - in pictures, memories personal memorabilia and media. Iconic photographs of the conflict are displayed alongside previously unpublished images. Outnumbered in the air and on the ground, the small task force of British service personnel sent to retake the Falklands were up against the odds - the kind of situation in which British forces have excelled in the past. Theirs was the last conflict that Britain fought alone, and their victory changed the outlook of a nation and its international standing, and helped to define the 1980s. Visitors can listen to the stories of the soldiers who fought the battle for the Falklands, and the stories of the Islanders who lived through it, told in their own words. Another perspective is revealed through letters sent by Argentine school children to Argentine soldiers at the front. Among the other exhibits on display are the Victoria Cross awarded to Colonel 'H' Jones'; the joystick of the helicopter flown on his rescue mission; the diary and medals of the Royal Navy Surgeon Commander who established and ran the British field hospital at Ajax Bay, which became known as the 'Red and Green Life Machine'; sketches made by Official War Artist Linda Kitson and original drawings by Raymond Briggs; and the actual note (written with indifferent spelling on scrap paper) recording the radio transmission made by Governor Rex Hunt to the Argentine military personnel who had landed illegally on South Georgia. National Army Museum, Chelsea, until September.


Behind The Scenes: The Hidden Life Of Georgian Theatre 1737-1784 offers an insight into the theatrical world of the 18th century, which played a crucial role in the society of Georgian London. It aims to illuminate the theatre's most intimate, notorious and hidden spaces, taking visitors behind the scenes, into areas such as the Green Room and performers dressing rooms. More specifically it explores the lives of Samuel Johnson (of dictionary fame) and the actor manager David Garrick, two of the London theatre world's most influential characters. It covers the period from their arrival in London to Johnson's death, shortly after his meeting with Sarah Siddons, the most famous performer of her age, as commemorated in Frith's painting. Among the items on display are Garrick's powder puff and dressing room mirror, and Johnson's contract for the preparation of his 1765 edition of Shakespeare's plays, along with tickets, playbills and other memorabilia. The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive series of Georgian theatre related events, including tours, lectures, performances and workshops. The house itself, where Johnson lived and worked as he compiled the dictionary, has been restored to its original condition, and houses an extensive permanent collection of Johnsonia, which includes furniture, miniatures, prints and paintings. Dr Johnson's House, Gough Square, London, until 18th September.

Henry Moore: Moore And Mythology examines two rare excursions into the world of classical mythology by the committed modernist. The Rescue, based on Homer's Odyssey, was a melodrama for radio conceived by Edward Sackville-West, with an orchestral score by Benjamin Britten. When the play was published, it was accompanied by Moore's illustrations. This exhibition brings together for the first time a large proportion of the sketchbook Moore used when working on The Rescue, as well as the final published illustrations. These drawings show Moore's close attention to Sackville-West's text, often taking their colour and form directly from his words, while their composition recall Moore's shelter drawings of the same era, emphasising the common humanity of these classic stories. Moore then received another literary commission, to illustrate Promethee, Andre Gide's translation of Goethe's Prometheus, a dramatic fragment taken from Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound. The exhibition also brings together sketches surrounding this project and the resulting lithographs. In these drawings Moore shapes a new vision of Prometheus as a noble human figure rather than the tormented victim often portrayed. Moore worked in the French tradition of the livre d'artiste, going so far as to design illuminated lettering for the title page and elsewhere. The exhibition then explores the lasting effects these projects had on Moore's later sculpture, sketches and lithographs. Henry Moore Foundation, Perry Green, Much Haddam until 23rd September.

Between Worlds: Voyagers To Britain 1700 - 1850 tells the stories of travellers to Britain who caused much excitement, interest and curiosity in the London social circles of their times. The visitors came from places with which Britain had a colonial relationship, including North America, the South Pacific, India and Africa. Each had different reasons for making their journeys, and received markedly varied receptions on arrival. Those featured include the 'Four Indian Kings' of North America, who came to England to offer their assistance against the French in the battle for North America in 1710; William Sessarakoo, a wealthy prince from a West African slave trading family; Mai of the South Pacific, who travelled with Captain Cook and was the object of fascination and curiosity as an exotic spectacle in society drawing rooms; Michael Alphonsus Shen Fu-Tsung, 'The Chinese Convert', who became well known in court circles and helped to catalogue the Chinese manuscripts in the Bodleian library; Raja Rammohun Roy, the Hindu advocate of Unitarianism; Sara Baartman, a member of the Khoisan, South Africa's indigenous first people; Sake Dean Mahomed, 'Shampooing Surgeon' to the Prince of Wales; Joseph Brant, the most influential American Indian leader in Britain during the American Revolutionary War; and Maharaja Dalip Singh, a tragic Sikh prince. Their experiences - and their impact on British society - are brought to life through paintings, objects, drawings and documents. National Portrait Gallery until 17th June.

London's Burning: The Great Fire Of London 1666 takes the most famous disaster in London's history and tells its story through the voices of those who lived through it. Focusing on eye witness accounts, it reveals the personal side of the tragedy: Samuel Pepys rescuing his bags of gold at 4am in his nightshirt; Elizabeth Peacock and her three children being left with 'not so much as a stool to sit upon', and the boys of Westminster School helping to fight the fire. The exhibition also explores why a fire that claimed less than 10 lives, scarred London as surely as the Great Plague the year before, which claimed 100,000. A video installation allows visitors to experience how a bustling city, full of merchants, traders and craft workers, collapsed into ruins, and hear from Londoners left to pick through the debris of their lives. A wide range of contemporary objects bear testimony to the strength of the fire, and the desperate and futile efforts made to quell the blaze, such as an oven matching the likely culprit for the fire's origin in Pudding Lane, the hopelessly ineffectual fire fighting equipment of the day, and archaeological finds from a building which stood two doors from the origin of the fire. The exhibition also shows how London responded to the fire and rebuilt itself, including the recriminations, scapegoating and summary justices, the plans for new beginnings, designed by Christopher Wren and others (many cast aside by financial imperatives), the artistic responses to the Great Fire, and the legislative procedures that were its legacy. Museum of London continuing.

Andy Goldsworthy, brings together an unprecedented range of work by the 'ecological sculptor', from hand held and works on paper, to site specific outdoor pieces. Revealing the breadth and direction of Goldsworthy's most recent work, the exhibition features new permanent outdoor commissions, and new indoor stone, tree and clay installations, together with sheep paintings and blood drawings. The works are given context by photographic archive material, sketchbooks and key works from his career. By charting significant and developing themes, the exhibition provides an opportunity to reassess Goldsworthy's range, and the scale and complexity of his work. These themes encompass holes and portals, walking and journeying, documentation, the manipulation of nature and time, agricultural structuring and layering of the landscape, and the performance of the body. Among the new pieces are 'Leaf Stalk Room', comprised of horse chestnut leaf stalks collected from the park; 'Hidden Trees', dry-stone walls in a ha-ha pierced by tree trunks; 'Stone Room' made from Yorkshire sandstone; and 'Stacked Oak', made from interlocking branches of trees felled locally. The unique gallery, with both indoor and outdoor spaces, provides a journey of discovery that suggests ideas fundimental and central to Goldsworthy's artistic quest. Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, until 6th January.

The Art Of Italy In The Royal Collection: Renaissance And Baroque is the first exhibition of Italian art from royal palaces and residences across Britain for over 40 years. It brings together 90 paintings and 85 drawings, most of them masterpieces, and many on public view for the first time. The exhibition celebrates the artistic legacy of Charles I and Charles II, whose taste so profoundly influenced the character of the Royal Collection. Described by the painter Peter Paul Rubens as 'the greatest amateur of paintings among the princes of the world', Charles I built up a collection of Italian masters to rival that of any European court of the period. Although the collection was sold during the Commonwealth, a significant number of paintings were reclaimed or bought back by Charles II after the Restoration. Research for this exhibition has resulted in a number of important re-attributions. Among these, two paintings previously thought to be versions of lost works by Caravaggio, 'The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew' and 'A Boy Peeling Fruit', are now generally recognised by experts as the original works. Among the other highlights are Bronzino's 'Portrait of a Lady in Green', Tintoretto's 'Esther Before Ahasuerus' and 'The Muses', Bellini's 'Portrait of a Young Man', Fetti's 'David with the Head of Goliath', Romano's 'Portrait of Margherita Palaeologa', Garofalo's 'Holy Family', and Lotto's 'Portrait of Andrea Odoni'. The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace until 20th January.


Journey To The New World: London 1606 To Virginia 1607 marks the 400th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement in America. After an eventful voyage three small merchant ships arrived in Virginia, and on 13th May 1607, 104 men and boys landed to begin work on a fortified trading outpost called James Towne. Drawing on archaeological evidence and artefacts unearthed since 1994 at the site of the original settlement, together with documents and objects from London, the exhibition charts the crucial role of Londoners in the founding of the United States of America. It is a tale of daring survival, of hope and despair, conflict and failure, tragedy and triumph, and shows how ordinary and extraordinary men, women and children helped to create a new nation. It also tells of how the expedition changed forever the lives and culture of the Native American Indians already living in what was to become Virginia. Through bodices and beads, coins and cups, prints, charts, maps, astronomical and maritime instruments, it reveals the colonists' diet, health and lifestyles, their relationship with the local indigenous peoples, and their attempts to manufacture goods for trade. Tracing the story of Jamestown and the Virginia colonies from their birth to eventual prosperity with the development of the tobacco trade, it looks at the hidden story of hardship, adventure and big business behind the founding of the United States. Museum In Docklands, West India Quay, until 13th May.

Guercino: Paper To Mind celebrates the work of one of the most significant Italian artists of the Baroque period, Giovanni Francesco Barbieri nicknamed Guercino ("squinter") after a childhood incident left him cross-eyed. A prolific and fluent draughtsman, who was known as 'the Rembrandt of the South', he was hailed for his inventive approach to subject matter, his deftness of touch and his ability to capture drama and movement. This exhibition reflects the Guercino's remarkable technical and compositional ability, as well as his wide ranging choice of subject matter. The works featured include a large study of a male nude, an imaginary landscape, a caricature, a number of informal scenes from everyday life, and exploratory studies for large painted compositions. His sympathy for a variety of human situations is particularly apparent in such humorously observed scenes as 'Interior of a baker's shop'. A prominent feature of Guercino's drawing technique is his varied use of drawing media and techniques. Thus, a goose feather pen dipped in ink enabled him to record his ideas on paper quickly and easily in 'Cupid restraining Mars', characterised by its spontaneity and energy; while in 'A child seen from behind', rubbed red chalk conveys the feel of a baby's dimpled skin; and in 'Two women drying their hair', loosely applied brown wash is used to describe the cascading wet hair drying in front of the open fire. Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, Somerset House until 13th May.

London Before And After The Great Fire: Etchings by Wenceslaus Holler 1607-1677 features work by the artist to whom we owe much of our knowledge about London's appearance before the Great Fire. Wenceslaus Hollar was a prolific artist of buildings and street scenes, who also excelled at drawing maps, panoramas, portraits and costume. This display comprises over 40 of his etchings, including his four large panoramas of Westminster, the City, Greenwich, and the ruins of the 1666 fire - all masterpieces. Hollar's Great Map of London was sadly never completed, but the only surviving sheet, showing Covent Garden and the Strand, is an unrivalled example of a mid 17th century 'map-view', where every building is shown in bird's-eye perspective. He delighted in intricate detail as well as the big picture: close inspection of his London etchings reveals beggars in the streets of Bankside, archers in the fields of Clerkenwell, and men clambering on to platforms to view a Tower Hill execution. Holler's work provides a unique and invaluable record of London during times of catastrophe, and great political and social change. Guildhall Library Print Room, Aldermanbury, London EC2, until 12th May.