Private View held by Richard Andrews
Making Colour traces the history of making colour in Western paintings from the Middle Ages to the end of the 19th century. The exhibition brings together the worlds of art and science to explain how artists overcame the technical challenges involved in creating colour. It charts the material problems faced by artists in achieving their painterly aims, the breakthroughs they struggled for, and the difficulties they faced in creating works of art that were both beautiful and enduring. The display examines the origins of paint sources, be it the natural world or human invention, and their supply, manufacture and application, as well as their permanence and colour effect. It begins by examining how theories of colour, such as an awareness of primary colour, or of the colour spectrum, have influenced painters' use of pigments, and their quest for new materials. The journey runs from lapis lazuli to cobalt blue, ancient vermilion to bright cadmium red, through yellow, orange, purple and verdigris to deep green viridian, and on to gold and silver, in a series of colour-themed rooms. Among the works and objects on view are Monet's 'Lavacourt under Snow', JMW Turner's paintbox, van Dyck's 'Lady Elizabeth Thimbelby and her Sister', an elaborate majolica plate portraying Vulcan at his forge with Venus, Sassoferrato's 'The Virgin in Prayer', lapis lazuli figurines, Degas's 'La Coiffure' and Masaccio's 'Saints Jerome and John the Baptist'. The exhibition is complemented by a scientific experiment that introduces a new world of contemporary and scientific thought on colour, dealing with human colour perception, and the degree to which it is individually variable. It also considers the ways in which the brain processes different visual information, for example in lighting paintings, and the impact that this has on our perception of colour. National Gallery until 7th September.
Open For Business is a comprehensive documentation of contemporary British manufacturing and industry, captured by the lenses of 9 international photographers from the legendary co-operative agency Magnum Photos. During 2013, Jonas Bendiksen, Stuart Franklin, Bruce Gilden, David Hurn, Peter Marlow, Martin Parr, Mark Power, Chris Steele-Perkins and Alessandra Sanguinetti visited over 100 workplaces in 9 cities across Britain, from one-man businesses to FTSE 100 companies. Their photographs range from traditional, handmade crafts to modern, intelligent automation, and from foundries and assembly lines to research laboratories and high tech cleanrooms, showing an economic sector of resilience and diversity. British industry faces several challenges and this display reflects the daily struggle as businesses attempt to cut costs, streamline processes and level up to international competition. The images reveal that, while in some ways industry has changed so much, in others it has changed so little. The photographs document the shifting balance between white and blue-collar workers, the physical reality of process automation and of environments in which a growing staff manage activity from a computer screen. The project raises questions about the corporate responsibility of employers to their employees, highlights the significance of migration to the workforce and shows the pride exuded from workers who make a huge variety of products. It captures British manufacturing's effect on culture and community life, and celebrates the work, activities and lives of its employees. Museum Of Science & Industry, Manchester, until 3rd August.
Peace Breaks Out! London And Paris In The Summer Of 1814 explores a pivotal moment in the history of Europe through the eyes of its contemporaries. The Peace of 1814 and the subsequent congress of Vienna in 1815, after the final defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, laid the geo-political framework of the European Empires that would dominate the Continent and much of the globe up to the outbreak of the First World War. The Allies who celebrated the signing of the Treaty as guests of the Prince Regent in London, would, almost exactly one hundred years later, face each on the battlefields of Europe - this time as enemies. The exhibition includes over 100 rare items, including celebratory paintings and prints created for the festivities held in London and across the United Kingdom to mark the Treaty; drawings of Paris, demonstrating the architectural changes that took place under Napoleon's government; Napoleonica - objects belonging to Napoleon and his closest collaborators; and a quirky, satirical depiction of Englishmen visiting Paris, as seen by the French. There are accompanying by works by contemporary artists Adam Dant, Romilly Saumarez Smith, Laura Knight, Alice Pattullo, Bridie Hall and Paul Bommer offering 21st century interpretations of the Peace of 1814 and of the Regency and Parisian fashions that were so celebrated that year. Sir John Soane Museum, 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2, until 13th September.
Truth And Memory examines the huge artistic outpouring in Britain instigated by the all-encompassing, all-consuming nature of the First World War. The exhibition comprises over 120 artworks, and features the most iconic images to emerge from the First World War, including paintings by Paul Nash, Percy Wyndham Lewis, CRW Nevinson, Stanley Spencer and William Orpen, as well as lesser known, yet significant works, by artists such as Anna Airy, George Clausen and Gilbert Rogers. It shows how artists of all ages, traditions and backgrounds, strived to represent the unprecedented, epoch-defining events of the First World War, which ultimately helped shape the nation's perception of the conflict and of warfare itself. The display aims to make a fresh interpretation of British First World War art, placing it within the context of the times, taking into account critical and popular responses and incorporating contemporary artistic debates. The exhibition marks the reopening of the museum after extensive renovation designed by design by Foster + Partners, which includes new permanent First World War Galleries charting the story of the war: how it started, why it continued and its global impact, through the lives of those who experienced it at the time on both the front line and the home front across Britain and its empire. Over 1,300 objects including weapons, uniforms, diaries, letters and souvenirs, are on display, alongside photographs, art and film, many of which have never been seen before. The atrium now contains 9 iconic objects, including a Harrier, Spitfire and V2 rocket suspended from above, as well as a T34 tank and a Reuters LandRover damaged by a rocket attack in Gaza. The museum was established while the First World War was still being fought to ensure that future generations would remember the toil and sacrifice of those who were impacted by it. Imperial War Museum, London ~ Truth And Memory until 8th March.
John Byrne | Sitting Ducks features the work of one of Scotland's most versatile and accomplished artists and writers. The exhibition explores and celebrates John Byrne's highly innovative and richly varied portraiture, and includes around 60 drawings, paintings and multi-media works from across his career. At times, with all his exuberant flourishes, Byrne might come across as a caricaturist of the arty set, with portraits of friends and family as well as famous sitters, such as Tilda Swinton, Billy Connolly, Gerry Rafferty and Robbie Coltrane. However, Byrne has also produced many insightful and witty self-portraits which form a strong element of the show. As might befit an artist who is also a writer, Byrne's paintings might verge dangerously close to illustration, but then again, he is perhaps best taken to be a late and modest addition to that strain of British quirkily talented eccentrics, including the likes of Stanley Spencer and Edward Burra. Scottish National Portrait Galley, Edinburgh, until 19th October.
Alan Titchmarsh: 50 Years Of Gardening offers a personal narrative to an exhibition that looks at the things which have encouraged and shaped the nation's love of gardening. Alan Titchmarsh has selected 101 objects that tell the recent history of gardens and gardening in Britain. The interpretation of the objects aims to tell a lively history of people, their gardens and gardening, peppered with related biographical narratives from Alan Titchmarsh's experiences. The exhibition includes not just tools, artefacts, books, magazines, seed catalogues and ephemera, but also works of art. There is a particular emphasis on the changes that have taken place since the 1960s, when Titchmarsh became a teenage apprentice in the municipal nursery in his home town of Ilkley Grove. A major theme of the exhibition is how garden centres, television programmes and developments in technology have changed British gardens forever - and that includes decking. Titchmarsh also reflects on the impact of the media during this period, including the first gardening celebrities. The Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1, until 31st August.
British Folk Art reveals the rich diversity of art across a variety of media and contexts. Folk art is an established subject in many countries, however in Britain the genre remains elusive. Rarely considered in the context of art history, 'folk art' has been viewed as part of social history or folklore studies. This show unites an extraordinary selection of objects, exploring the threshold between art and artefact, and challenging perceptions of 'high art'. Encompassing works dating from the 17th to mid 20th century, this visually engaging exhibition examines the contradictory notions of folk art, reflecting the ways in which art historians, artists, curators and collectors have defined folk art in Britain. Nearly 200 paintings, sculptures, textiles and objects exemplify the energy, variety and idiosyncrasy of British Folk Art, from rustic leather Toby jugs to brightly coloured ships' figureheads. Among the highlights are the imposing larger than life-size thatched figure of King Alfred created by master thatcher, Jesse Maycock, in 1960; an intricately designed pin cushion made by wounded soldiers during the Crimean war; maritime embroidery by fisherman John Craske; a sculpture of a cockerel, made out of mutton bones by French POWs during the Napoleonic wars; and shop signs in the shape of over-sized pocket watches and giant shoes. While much folk art is anonymous, this exhibition also presents works by a number of prominent individuals. Amongst these key figures are George Smart the tailor of Frant, eminent embroiderer Mary Linwood, and Cornish painter Alfred Wallis. Often neglected in the story of art in Britain, the inclusion of these artists aims to reassess their position in art history. Tate Britain until 31st August.
Georgians: Dress For Polite Society presents a selection of the finest fashions worn by those attending Assemblies, and other glittering occasions of 18th century life. An Assembly was defined at the time as "a stated and general meeting of the polite persons of both sexes for the sake of conversation, gallantry, news and play". As Bath grew in popularity in the 18th century, there was a need for a grand Assembly Room in the fashionable upper town, and in 1771 the New Rooms, designed by John Wood the Younger, opened to the public. Today, the New Rooms are known as the Assembly Rooms and are the location of this exhibition. The display includes over 30 original 18th century outfits and ensembles, including gowns made of colourful and richly patterned woven silks, as well as embroidered coats and waistcoats worn by Georgian gentlemen of fashion. A highlight of the exhibition is a trio of wide-skirted Court dresses (held out by cane supports known as panniers, from the French word for baskets), dating from the 1750s and 1760s, the early years of the reign of King George III. Accompanying the Georgian clothes are 18th century-inspired fashions by contemporary fashion designers: Anna Sui, Meadham Kirchhoff, Vivienne Westwood, Stephen Jones, and Alexander McQueen. All are influenced by the 18th century aesthetic, and all, in different ways, show how the elegance and grace of Georgian dress continues to inspire fashion today. Bath Fashion Museum until 1st January.
Gems Of Chinese Painting: A Voyage Along The Yangzi River reveals the beauty and culture of south-east China in a selection of paintings dating from the 6th to the 19th centuries. The display includes the famous 'Admonitions of the Instructress to the Court Ladies' scroll and examples of rare ceramics from the region. The Yangzi River runs through an area of south-east China known as Jiangnan, which has been one of the country's most prosperous and culturally productive regions. The paintings and ceramics in the exhibition reflect the diverse life of its inhabitants, depicting elegant ladies and scholars in gardens, children herding cattle and wealthy merchants, as well as fishermen and farmers. Landscape paintings from along the Yangzi River show lush, fertile fields and rolling hills and highlight the region's famous gardens. Paintings and ceramics from Jiangnan have shaped in great part the Western image of traditional China. Jiangnan is also a region where some of the finest examples of the Chinese concept of the three arts - poetry, calligraphy and painting - were produced. The Admonitions scroll, traditionally attributed to Gu Kaizhi, one of China's patriarchs of calligraphy and painting, is an early example of the combination of the three arts, and is one of the most important Chinese paintings to survive anywhere in the world. The display also includes silk paintings from Dunhuang in the Northwest of China. British Museum until 31st August.
In Fine Style: The Art Of Tudor And Stuart Fashion traces changing tastes in fashionable attire in the 16th and 17th centuries. For the Tudor and Stuart elite, luxurious clothing was an essential element of court life. Garments and accessories - and the way in which they were worn - conveyed important messages about wealth, gender, age, social position, marital status and religion. Using paintings, drawings, jewellery and rare surviving examples of clothing and accessories, the exhibition explores the style of the rich and famous of the period. Both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I enforced laws dictating the fabrics, colours and types of garment that could be worn at each level of society. 'Cloth of gold', which incorporated gold-wrapped thread, crimson-dyed fabrics and certain types of fur were reserved for those of the highest status. On the preparatory drawing for his portrait of William Parr, Hans Holbein the Younger notes that the sitter wore a gown of purple velvet. a fabric usually reserved for royalty, thus reflecting Parr's standing in the royal household as captain of the Gentleman Pensioners. In many cases, the clothing worn by the sitter was more costly than the painting itself. In 1632 Charles I paid Anthony van Dyck £100 for a portrait of the royal family, while spending £5,000 a year on clothing. Renaissance jewellery was often full of symbolism, including classical or mythological figures, and set with stones thought to hold magical properties. The Darnley or Lennox Jewel, an exquisite gold heart-shaped locket set with rubies, emeralds and diamonds, incorporates a serpent entwined around the Tree of Life and skull cameos, serving as a memento mori. The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, until 20th July.
Treason, Plots And Murder centres on the frequent and often gruesome plots, scandals and murders in 17th century Britain. From the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 to the Rye House Plot of 1683 the motivation for these events was often religious, although religion and political power were inextricably linked during the Stuart period. Not all 17th century 'plots' were actually plots at all. The Popish Plot of 1678 was fabricated by Titus Oates with a consequence that dozens of innocent people were brutally executed. Sexual politics could be equally controversial and were central to the case of the Thomas Overbury murder in 1613. This display explores these unwholesome episodes through contemporary prints and raises questions about the role that print culture could play in promoting a highly biased version of events. National Portrait Gallery until 13th July.
William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain examines the life and work of the leading architect and designer of early Georgian Britain. The exhibition celebrates Willaim Kent's work over four decades when Britain defined itself as a new nation with the act of union with Scotland and the accession of a new Hanoverian Royal Family. Kent was a polymath, turning his hand to painting, sculpture, architecture, interior decoration, furniture, metalwork, book illustration, theatrical design, costume and landscape gardening. The exhibition demonstrates how Kent's artistic ingenuity and inventiveness led him to play a dominant role in defining British taste and a new design aesthetic for the period. It brings together nearly 200 examples of William Kent's work, including architectural drawings for prominent buildings such as the Treasury and Horse Guards in Whitehall; spectacular gilt upholstered furniture from Houghton Hall, Wanstead House and Chiswick House; and designs for landscape gardens at Rousham and Stowe; as well as paintings, illustrated books and Kent's model for the Royal palace that was never built, demonstrating the versatility of the 'Kentian' style. Also featured are designs for the new Royal Family including those produced for Frederick, Prince of Wales's Royal Barge, Queen Caroline's Library at St James' Palace and the Hermitage in Richmond Gardens, together with spectacular examples of silver including a chandelier commissioned for the Royal palace in Hanover. The exhibition also examines Kent's projects for the redesign of Georgian London, including projects that were never realised, such as proposals for a new House of Parliament, and interiors for the House of Lords. Victoria & Albert Museum until 13th July.