News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 2nd June 2010

Commencing

Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance And The Camera provides an insight into photographic images made surreptitiously or without the explicit permission of those depicted. Spanning a variety of 'lens-based media' from the late 19th century to the present day, the exhibition offers an illuminating and provocative perspective on subjects both iconic and taboo. Aided and abetted by the camera, voyeurism and surveillance provoke questions about who is looking at whom, and whether for power or for pleasure. The show examines the history of what might be called 'invasive looking' by bringing together more than 250 works of photography and film by well known figures including Brassai, Guy Bourdin, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, Robert Frank,Nan Goldin, Dorothea Lange, Lee Miller, Thomas Ruff, Paul Strand, Weegee and Garry Winogrand, plus images made by amateur photographers, press photographers, and automatic systems such as CCTV. Taking the idea of the unseen photographer as its starting point, the show includes images of clandestine, informal or candid situations, impromptu and even intimate moments, made by photographers who have worked in ingenious and inventive ways, often using small or easily concealed cameras. The exhibition includes examples of erotic photography, the cult of celebrity and the paparazzi, and the phenomenon of surveillance. Highlights include images from Brassai's Secret Paris of the 1930s, Walker Evans's subway portraits, Weegee's photographs of Marilyn Monroe, and recent work by artists and photographers such as Philip-Lorca di Corcia and Shizuka Yokomizo. Tate Modern until 30th October.

The Lewis Chessmen: Unmasked uses new research to look at the mystery and intrigue surrounding the Lewis Chessmen. The exhibition comprises the whole collection of 83 ivory pieces, which are displayed with a range of other objects to illuminate their background. The display explores the stories surrounding their discovery, and shows how the characters reflected society at the time they were made. The Lewis Chessmen were discovered on the western shore of the Isle of Lewis in 1831, as part of a hoard of walrus ivory. The chessmen, between 3 and 4 inches high, are in the Romanesque style that was universal in northern and western Europe in the Middle Ages. With a few face pieces and most of the pawns missing, there are enough pieces to indicate they are from at least four chess sets, together with 14 plain ivory disks like the counters for playing board games. The pieces were probably made in Norway in the late 12th or early 13th centuries. As the largest and finest group of early chessmen to survive, they are one of the most significant archaeological discoveries ever made in Scotland. Few chessmen survive at all from the Middle Ages, and these are unparalleled in their high quality, humour and intricacy of design. A new study by the museum challenges the widely held view that they were part of a merchant's hoard when they were buried on Lewis, and suggests that they may have been used for games other than chess. It also proposes they may have been buried in a different place in Lewis than previously thought, and that the pieces may have been carved by up to 5 different craftsmen. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 19th September.

Empire Mail: George V And The GPO looks at the passions of King George V, the 'philatelist king', and the extraordinary advances in design and innovation in the General Post Office of the period. The reign of George V spanned from 1910 to 1936, an era of conflict and great change, which saw the development of a number of communication methods that brought the world closer together. Featuring posters, vehicles, pillar boxes, philatelic rarities and footage from the GPO Film Unit, the exhibition explores themes such as innovations in mail transportation, the first Atlantic air crossing, the rise of graphic design in the 1920s and 1930s and war time memorabilia. The items on display include a sheet of unused Edward VII Tyrian plum stamps, plus the only one known to have been used, sent on an envelope to George V on 5th May 1910 when he was Prince of Wales, which arrived the next day when he had become king, following the death of his father. Other highlights include original artwork, dies, plates and essays from many of the stamps of George V's reign, including the Seahorses and the 1924/1925 Wembley Empire Exhibition; stamps created by Lawrence of Arabia and Lord Baden Powell; items relating to the RMS Titanic, which carried mail; and gems from King George V's own stamp collection, such as Bermuda 'Perots', Cape Triangular errors, an unused Post Office Mauritius 2d stamp and a 1d used on a 'ball cover', which are among the rarest and most valuable in the world. Guildhall Art Gallery, London, until 25th July.

Continuing

Toy Boats charts how miniature ocean liners, paddle steamers and battleships once captured the imagination of generations of children. The exhibition features over 100 toys, games, catalogues and photographs revealing how the craze for all things maritime drove toy companies to make toy boats of every size and description. It explores the range of toy boats made by European manufacturers from 1850 to 1950, a period marked by rapid advances in maritime technology. As nations raced each other to build bigger and better ships, toy makers were swift to exploit the publicity and follow up with toys that captured the spirit of these famous vessels. Toymakers experimented with a range of technology to power the boats, from twisted rubber bands and clockwork springs to burners producing steam, and early batteries. Late 19th century town planning introduced parks with decorative ponds and fountains, which gave children a space to play with toy boats. This, along with the increase in family seaside holidays, created an appeal which inspired toy makers to compete in creating finer and more sophisticated ships, which also appealed to adults as collectors' curios. Among the highlights are: Dolphin, one of the oldest clockwork ship models in the world, crafted by a family carpenter for the Duke of Northumberland in 1822; HMS Terrible, a large and very rare steam propelled battleship made in Germany around 1905; Hohenzollern, a clockwork propelled replica of Kaiser Wilhelm II's yacht, made around 1900; a rare build-your-own wooden model kit produced to commemorate the launch of RMS Queen Mary in 1936; Italia, a steam propelled cruiser, measuring nearly a metre long, made in France in 1885; and Salamandre, a steam propelled battleship, made of tinplate, copper and wood, with a team of 32 wooden sailors and a small clockwork torpedo boat. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, until 31st October.

Visions Of An Industrial Age features large scale reproductions of a unique series of images of Preston captured on camera in the 1850s. The exhibition offers a rare glimpse of a medieval market town that was undergoing a radical transformation. Taken only 70 years after the first cotton mill was built, these photographs are the oldest known photographs of Preston. They are the work of amateur photographer Charles Wilson, who lived and worked in the town, and was a member of a number of local societies and organisations. The images document the town whose population had increased from 7,000 to 70,000 in the previous 75 years as the industrial revolution unfolded. Photographs include new railway bridges, the gardens of Ribblesdale Place, the historic Market Place, housing in the Avenham area, where Wilson lived, and other places with which he had personal connections.

The Story Of Preston charts the development of Preston as a market town and centre for cotton manufacturing in the 19th century. Among the items on display are: a 17th century family portrait of a Puritan family who once lived on Fishergate; an early 19th century dolls' house which belonged to the Pedder family who founded Preston's first bank; the 'Maudland Cock' weathervane from St Walburge's church; and the Yard Works model of the huge cotton manufacturing complex once operated by Horrockses, made in 1913 for the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to the town.

Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston, Visions Of An Industrial Age until 4th September.

Westminster Abbey Chapter House has reopened after a £3m 18 month programme by 20 craftsmen and stonemasons to conserve and restore the fabric of the building. The octagonal East Cloister, with a vaulted ceiling and delicate central column, which dates from the 1250s, and was originally lauded as 'beyond compare', is one of the largest in England. The monks met there every day for prayers, to read a chapter from the rule of St Benedict, and discuss the day's work. Henry VIII's Great Council, which was effectively the beginning of the English Parliament, first assembled there in 1257. The House of Commons regularly used the room in the 14th century, before they transferred to the Palace of Westminster. After having been a monastic and royal treasury, and repository for Exchequer records from the 1540s, it was restored in the 1870s by George Gilbert Scott. The room is lavishly adorned with rare medieval sculpture, wall paintings of the Apocalypse and the Last Judgement, stained glass windows, and a 13th century stone altar that survived the Reformation. It also contains the finest medieval tile pavement in England, with richly coloured designs including royal coats of arms. In the vestibule of the Chapter House is the oldest door in Britain, dated to the 1050s. The restoration has seen 32 new stone gargoyles carved to Gilbert Scott's original designs, among a total or 64 across 8 pinnacles. Westminster Abbey continuing.

Treasures Of Lambeth Palace Library celebrates the 400th anniversary of one of the earliest public libraries in England. The exhibition draws upon the library's rich and diverse collections of manuscripts, archives and books, some of which are on public display for the first time. It not only shows these treasures, but also explores the history surrounding the people who owned, studied or used them as aids to prayer and devotion. Among the highlights of the exhibition are: the MacDurnan Gospels, written and illuminated in Ireland in the 9th century; the Lambeth Bible, a masterpiece of Romanesque art; the 13th century Lambeth Apocalypse; a Gutenberg Bible printed in 1455, the first great book printed in Western Europe from movable metal type; books owned and used by Kings and Queens, including a Book of Hours found in the tent of Richard III after his death at the Battle of Bosworth, a prayer book that belonged to Elizabeth I, and a book pleading for religious toleration with James I's angry notes in the margins; a pair of embroidered leather gloves worn by Charles I at his execution; physicians' reports on the illness of George III; an exceptionally rare edition of the Babylonian Talmud which survived a 1553 Papal Bull ordering all copies to be burnt, only rediscovered in 1992; the warrant for the execution of Mary Queen of Scots; landmark texts in the history of the Church of England, and papers of archbishops, bishops and leaders of church and state, ranging from the 13th century to the modern day, including those relating to the rebuilding of St Paul's Cathedral after the Great Fire. Great Hall, Lambeth Palace, London, until 23rd July.

Picasso: Peace And Freedom is the first exhibition to reveal the Spanish artist as a tireless political activist and campaigner for peace in the post Second World War period. It challenges the widely held view of Pablo Picasso as creative genius, playboy and compulsive extrovert, reflecting a new Picasso for a new time. The exhibition brings together 150 key paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures, as well as posters and documents related to war and peace from 1944 to 1973. It provides an opportunity to look at Picasso's work in the Cold War era and how he transcended the ideological and aesthetic oppositions of East and West. The centrepiece is 'The Charnel House', last seen in Britain more than 50 years ago, Picasso's most explicitly political painting since 'Guernica'. Other highlights include 'Monument to the Spaniards who Died for France' and 'The Rape of the Sabine Women', painted at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The most unusual piece is the 'Bernal mural' the head of a man and woman with laurel wreaths and wings, drawn directly on to the sitting room wall while visiting his friend John Desmond Bernal, and later saved when the building was demolished. Picasso's Dove of Peace became the emblem for the Peace Movement and a universal symbol of hope during the Cold War. The dove also had a highly personal significance for Picasso - he named his daughter, born in the same month as the 1949 Peace Congress in Paris, 'Paloma' (Spanish for 'dove'). Tate Liverpool until 30th August.

Old And New South American Botanical Art brings the Latin continent's exotic and lush plants to life in Britain. The exhibition combines 62 paintings from the Real Jardin Botanico in Madrid's collection of works commissioned by the 18th century botanist Jose Celestino Mutis, with 68 works by contemporary artists, including Margaret Mee, Alvaro Nunez and Etienne Demonte. Jose Celestino Mutis was sent to South America by the Spanish government to identify and document the plants of the Spanish colony and look for commercially valuable crops, timber and medicinal herbs. While there, he established an art school to train local Creole men to illustrate his findings, and some 40 illustrators worked on the project. The most outstanding of these was Francisco Xavier Matis Machecha, 6 of whose paintings are in the exhibition. Over 6,500 works were sent back to the archives of the Real Jardin Botanico in Madrid, none of which were published until 1952, and this is the first exhibition of the paintings in Europe outside Spain. Among the contemporary artists, Margaret Mee made 15 collecting trips into the Amazon, bringing back and painting hundreds of plants, including 4 previously unknown species that were named after her. The first painting she produced in the Amazon, 'Cannonball Tree in Belem', is in the exhibition, together with some of her notebooks. The display allows visitors to see the vivid and delicate plants of the region, while also highlighting the importance of botanical art as a timeless scientific tool, recording every aspect of a plant to help botanists with their research. Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, until 8th August.

Concluding

Shaped By War: Photographs By Don McCullin is the largest ever British exhibition about the life and work of one of the world's most acclaimed photographers. For more than 50 years, Don McCullin's images have shaped the awareness of modern conflict and its consequences. His courage and integrity, as well as the exceptional quality of his work, are a continuing inspiration and influence worldwide. This exhibition contains over 200 photographs, objects, magazines and personal memorabilia, and shows the effect war has had on McCullin's life. It examines McCullin's uncompromising drive to be on the frontline and document events as they unfold, the influences on his work, and his impact on others. The display reveals the moral dilemmas of bearing witness to and photographing conflict. Set in the context of world events and major changes in photography and journalism which have occurred in his lifetime, items on display for the first time include his US Issue Army Helmet worn in Vietnam, and a camera fractured by a sniper's bullet in Cambodia, as he was taking a photograph. Most black and white images have been handprinted by McCullin himself, and are stunning examples of his darkroom skills. Key images are also displayed via lightboxes, banners and projections - methods that have never before been used to show his work. The exhibition explores how, indirectly, conflict continues to shape Don McCullin and his work today, including cultural change in Britain, landscapes of England, still life photography, and his most recent work, documenting the former Roman Empire. Imperial War Museum North, Manchester, until 13th June.

Christen Kobke: Danish Master Of Light is the first solo exhibition of paintings by one of the greatest talents of Denmark's Golden Age outside his homeland. This exhibition comprises 48 of Christen Kobke's most beautiful and distinguished works, spanning a variety of genres: landscape, topography, portraiture and his oblique depictions of national monuments informed by an avant-garde sensibility. They present some of the most innovative aspects of his work, including outdoor sketching, his fascination with painterly immediacy and his unique treatment of light and atmosphere. The paintings include scenes from his home town, such as 'The Northern Drawbridge to the Citadel in Copenhagen', 'View of the Citadel Ramparts Towards Langelinie and the Naval Harbour' and 'Cigar Seller at the Northern Exit from the Citadel'; portraits of many of his family and closest friends, such as 'Portrait of the Artist's Mother, Cecilia Margrete, nee Petersen'; detailed representations of fellow artists, such as 'Portrait of the Landscape Painter Frederik Sodring'; of rural scenes, such as 'View from Dosseringen Near the Sortedam Lake Looking Towards Norrebro'; and of Danish national monuments such as 'Frederiksborg Castle, View Near the Montbro Bridge' and 'Roof Ridge of Frederiksborg Castle'. These are possibly the smallest paintings (some less than 12 inches wide), with the longest (and most specific) titles. Denmark's 'Golden Age' has become known as 'the age of Kobke', and his precise and clear-cut manner, sharp focus and pristine light are now synonymous with the image of this time of unsurpassed creative flowering. National Gallery until 13th June.

Paul Sandby RA (1731 - 1809): Picturing Britain celebrates one of the Royal Academy of Arts' Foundation Members, regarded as the 'father of English watercolour'. The innovations and subject matter that Paul Sandby introduced into the practice of watercolour painting in Britain had a profound influence on artists of successive generations, including Thomas Girtin and JMW Turner. However, from the mid 19th century, Sandby's work slipped into obscurity. This exhibition of some 80 works highlights the range and variety of his techniques and subject matter, from exquisite watercolour depictions of the British countryside, from Surrey to Scotland by way of Wales, to print series of street vendors, which capture everyday life in 18th century London with Hogarthian wit. Through his extensive tours, initially as a military draughtsman and later as a professional artist, Sandby pioneered landscape painting. He both sought new sites and portrayed familiar ones with a fresh eye, capturing the diverse nature of the landscape of his day, and provides an important record of a country experiencing rapid social, economic and political change. The exhibition focuses on the finest examples of Sandby's work from a career which spanned 50 years, including the majestic landscape 'The Rainbow', and the depiction of 'Part of Wenlock Abbey in Shropshire', together with works which demonstrate the exceptional range of his creative output, from maps of North Britain (one of which is over 3m in length), to paintings, prints and his set of 12 London Cries, including the curiously titled 'My Pretty Little Gimy Tarters'. Royal Academy of Arts until 13th June.