News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 2nd September 2009


Undercover - Life In Churchill's Bunker examines the living and working conditions in the Cabinet War Rooms during the Second World War. The exhibition draws on new personal accounts to build a picture of life under London streets, where events of the war were shaped, and world changing decisions made. Stories, historic images, documents, letters, previously unseen personal objects, and the voices of War Room veterans combine to create the tense, but often humorous, atmosphere in the series of rooms selected as the secret headquarters for Churchill, his war cabinet, and intelligence processing centre. Created in 1938, the War Rooms were originally the storage areas of the Office of Works Building, but were soon pressed into service as the country's operational nerve centre. By 27th August 1939, a week before the invasion of Poland, the rooms were fully operational, and remained the central shelter for government and military strategists for 6 years, staffed 24 hours a day. The exhibition examines the safety and security of the War Rooms, shows Churchill's idiosyncratic methods of operation, how people worked with him, and how they coped with a daily underground existence in 14 hour shifts throughout the entire war. Among the key objects on display for the first time are a transcript of the speech made by Churchill on 9th September 1940, accusing Hitler of trying to terrorise Britain, with several handwritten notes added to the original draft; and a letter recounting Churchill's forthright reaction on finding out that the War Rooms were not actually bomb proof. Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms, Whitehall, until 30th September 2010.

Picturing Britain: Paul Sandby celebrates the bicentenary of the death of the artist who is best known for promoting British landscapes, at a time when Italianate views were the normal artistic fare. However, this exhibition, bringing together artworks including drawings, watercolours and gouaches, etchings, aquatints and a few rare oils, also reveals Paul Sandby as an acute observer of society and razor-sharp satirist. The kind of landscape that Sandby painted is so familiar now, that it is hard to realise how innovative it was when it was first created. Sandby took the 'topographical scene' and developed it into 'art'. Although he was an artist well versed in continental traditions, his early employment as a map maker and topographical draughtsman led him to produce carefully observed and composed views of the native British landscape, including scenes taken in and around London, and on extensive tours through the great estates of England, Wales and Scotland. He often collaborated on paintings with his elder brother, who was an architect, landscape designer and draughtsman, and they shared a fascination both with perspective and with the camera obscura. Sandby's pictures always reward a closer look, as they are richly peopled and animated, revealing a world where work, social interaction, arrivals and departures along roads and tracks, take place against a backdrop of antiquities and natural wonders, landscape parks and forests, road side inns, forges and gallows. Nottingham Castle, until 18th October.

Andre Kertesz: On Reading is the first time images from the On Reading series by the Hungarian born photographer have been exhibited in Britain. Andre Kertesz was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century. These photographs, taken between 1915 and 1980 in the many places he lived, visited and worked, including Argentina, France, Hungary, Britain and America, are a celebration of the absorptive power and pleasure of reading. Kertesz was intrigued by the universal appeal of reading, revelling in the privacy of the moment. Over the course of his career, Kertesz captured readers of all ages in various locations - on rooftops and balconies, in parks, on crowded streets, at train stations, in libraries - creating a poetic study of the act of reading. The photographs range from abstract formal compositions to playful, often humorous observations, a signature style of Kertesz's work. Some photographs in the exhibition also celebrate the book as an object, through paintings, still life compositions and images of book shelves and library interiors. At the moment when digital technologies threaten to render the printed page obsolete, this exhibition is a timely, humorous and nostalgic reminder of the importance of the book, and the culture of reading. The Photographers' Gallery, London, until 4th October.


Outbreak 1939 examines events surrounding Britain's declaration of war on Germany at 11.15am on 3rd September 1939 and looks at how the country mobilised. Seventy ears after the announcement that signified the start of the Second World War and changed the lives of millions, this exhibition explores how being a nation at war shaped the lives of ordinary men and women, as well as those who were actively involved in the political negotiations and their aftermath. Historical material and personal memorabilia illustrate the build up to war, an hour by hour countdown of events on 3rd September, and the early months of the conflict. Among the items on display are the jacket worn by King George VI when he broadcast to the nation; a wedding dress worn for a hastily rearranged ceremony when the outbreak of the war appeared imminent; a purse and coin belonging to an 11 year old boy who survived the sinking of the SS Athenia, the first British merchant vessel to be destroyed by a German U Boat; the medal awarded to Thomas Priday, the first British soldier to be killed in action; the German machine gun taken as a souvenir by fighter ace 'Cobber' Kain from the first aircraft he shot down; a teddy bear belonging to a little girl evacuated from London; and posters informing (and cajoling) the public of what was expected of them. Despite only limited military action during the early months of on the home front, a nationwide blackout was introduced on the 1st September, barrage balloons were launched and air raid precautions taken, the carrying of gas masks and identity cards became compulsory, and plans to evacuate civilians from towns and cities were put into action, so that millions of children's lives changed forever. Imperial War Museum until 6th September 2010

Endless Forms: Charles Darwin, Natural Science And The Visual Arts reveals the impact of Charles Darwin's theories on artists of the late 19th century. The exhibition explores both Darwin's interest in the visual arts, and the vast range of artistic responses to his revolutionary ideas, through a diverse selection of exhibits from around the world. It is arranged in a sequence of thematic sections, which together highlight the significance of visual traditions for Darwin, and the often surprising ways in which his theories inspired artists. The display brings together nearly 200 objects, including paintings, drawings, watercolours, prints, photographs, sculptures, caricatures, illustrated books and a range of natural history specimens. Some of the paintings are by famous artists, such as J M W Turner, Frederick Church, Edwin Landseer, Monet, Degas and Cezanne, while other spectacular works are by lesser known artists such as John Gould, Bruno Liljefors, Felicien Rops and American landscapists. Art works are seen in juxtaposition with scientific material of all sorts, from geological maps and botanical teaching diagrams, to fossils, minerals, and ornithological specimens. They reveal the many interactions between natural science and art during this period. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, until 4th October.

Da Vinci Inventions: Leonardo And His Machines explores in detail Leonardo Da Vinci's relationship with technology. The exhibition consists of almost 50 full scale, half scale and smaller interactive models of machines for flight, engineering and motion designed by Leonardo. These models have been created over a 10 year period by a team of Italian artisans working in Rome, who have collaborated with historians and academics to construct the machines based on a close study of Leonardo's notebooks and drawings, utilising only materials and techniques known in Renaissance Italy. The challenges they faced included having to understand Florentine dialect, the interpretation and analysis of Leonardo's drawings, reading mirrored writing to decipher his notes, and recognising the mistakes in his drawings and information deliberately put in to mislead. The models are shown alongside the drawings on which they are based, one of Leonado's original notebooks, known as a codex, and a display charting his life and career. Among the models on display are: The Autotraction Car, an articulation crossbow mechanism for propulsion; The Flying Machine, a dynamic device that uses all the parts of the body for its propulsion; and The Tank, an example of Leonardo's genius as a military engineer. The Lightbox, Woking, until 1st November.

Waste Not Want Not revisits earlier hard times, during the Second World War, when Britain had to economise on raw materials, save on energy and salvage scarce commodities, encouraged by a powerful propaganda machine. Sound familiar? Whether the message was to grow your own vegetables, make do and mend, or recycle paper, uppermost in everyone's mind was the need to be sparing in the use of meager resources. This exhibition of over 300 items reveals what sparsely furnished grocer's shelves looked like during the time of rationing, with recycled cardboard packaging printed solely in black replacing tins with multicoloured labels; the advertisements that promoted them; and the government's exhortations to do it yourself, use again or do without, such as 'Dig For Victory', and 'Switch Off That Light - Less Light More Planes'.

Packaging: A Sustainable Future looks at the current demonisation of packaging, and how, from being an apparently innocuous and functional part of a product, it has been transformed into a controversial component of the marketing process - one which is increasingly required to justify its existence. The exhibition explains the importance of packaging, how it has developed over the years, and how manufacturers, retailers and designers are now rethinking and revolutionising the way products are presented, adopting a more environmentally friendly approach.

The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, 2 Colville Mews, Lonsdale Road, Notting Hill, London W11, until 29th November.

The Discovery Of Spain explores the fascination for Spanish art and culture in 19th and early 20th century Britain. The exhibition of some 130 paintings, drawings, prints and photographs, charts a period in which Spanish culture flourished, despite - or perhaps partly as a result of - extreme political upheaval, from the peninsular war of 1807-14, to the Spanish civil war of 1936-39. Outstanding examples of Spanish art, including Goya's 'The Duke of Wellington' and 'Disasters of War'; Velazquez's 'A Spanish Gentleman' and 'An Old Woman Cooking Eggs'; El Greco's 'The Tears of St Peter' and 'Woman in a Fur Wrap'; Murillo's 'Flower Seller'; Zurbaran's 'St Francis in Meditation'; and Picasso's 'Weeping Woman' form the centerpiece for the exhibition. They are shown together with paintings by major British artists who were captivated by the experience of travelling through Spain, including David Wilkie's 'The Defence of Saragossa'; William Nicholson's 'Plaza del Toros, Malaga'; John Phillip's 'La Gloria': A Spanish Wake'; Arthur Melville's 'The Orange Market, Saragossa' and 'A Spanish Sunday, Going to the Bullfight'; There are also works by artists who were influenced by Spanish painters, such as John Everett Millais's 'Souvenir of Velazquez'; John Singer Sargent's 'Portrait of W Graham Robertson'; and James McNeill Whistler's 'Brown and Gold (Self-Portrait)'. National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh until 11th October.

Dover Castle has just reopened its Great Tower Keep after a £2.45m restoration of the interior to what it would have looked like when it was built in the 12th century. It is the largest historically researched medieval re-creation ever attempted in Britain. Based on 2 years of study, a group of 141 weavers, seamstresses, embroiderers, turners, carpenters, cabinet makers, blacksmiths, glass blowers, potters, silversmiths and armourers has invested thousands of hours to recreate 80 pieces of furniture, including a royal throne, 21 oak doors, 150 yards of wall hangings, dozens of embroidered textiles, including a royal standard, 47 cushions and over 1,000 other objects, from kitchenware, garments and goblets, to swords, crossbows and shields. All these items are used to furnish the interiors of the King's Hall, the King's Chamber, the Guest Hall, the Guest Chamber, the privy kitchen and the armoury, capturing their original appearance. The biggest single artefact is a 180ft long mural style wall hanging, depicting the Norman Conquest. Recent research has revealed that Dover's Keep was originally built not primarily as a fortification, but as a spectacular royal palace where foreign rulers and dignitaries could stay, representing an unequivocal and majestic emblem of Henry II's authority and wealth. To add to the atmosphere, Pepper's Ghost (projections of moving figures), costumed re-enactors and audio visual presentations help to evoke 12th century court life. Dover Castle, continuing.


Colour Chart: Reinventing Colour 1950 To Today looks at the shifting moment in 20th century art, when a group of artists began to perceive colour as 'readymade' rather than as scientific or expressive. Taking the commercial colour chart as its point of departure, the exhibition emphasises a radical transformation in the post Second World War Western art, which is characterised by the departure from such notions as originality, uniqueness and authenticity. The exhibition celebrates a paradox: the beauty that occurs when contemporary artists assign colour decisions to chance, readymade source, or arbitrary system. Midway through the 20th century, long held convictions regarding the spiritual truth or scientific validity of particular colours gave way to an excitement about colour as a mass-produced and standardised commercial product. The romantic quest for personal expression instead became Andy Warhol's "I want to be a machine"; the artistry of mixing pigments was eclipsed by Frank Stella's "straight out of the can; it can't get better than that." It is the first major exhibition devoted to this pivotal transformation, and offers an alternative survey of mid to late 20th century art, emphasising the significance of colour as an indicator of shifting conceptions around art, commodity and creativity. There is also a presentation of the University of Liverpool's research project on the visual perception of colour and digital colour calibration. Colours look different on different digital display devices - projectors, monitors and so on. This project demonstrates that humans have a remarkable ability to calibrate colour in the brain, as we all perceive certain colours in approximately the same way. Tate Liverpool until 13th September.

J W Waterhouse: The Modern Pre-Raphaelite is the first major British retrospective exhibition of the Pre-Raphaelite artist in a generation, and features over 40 paintings. John William Waterhouse was born in the year that the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood delivered their manifesto for a new reformed art. He inherited their taste for Tennyson, Keats and Shakespeare, but also drew inspiration from classical mythology interpreted by Homer and Ovid. Although his pictures are perceived as serene, they belie a Romantic fascination with intense human passions. Waterhouse's painterly manner and adherence to three dimensional space distinguish him from his Pre-Raphaelite forerunners. The exhibition considers how Waterhouse's paintings reflect his engagement with contemporary issues, ranging from antiquarianism and the classical heritage, to occultism and the New Woman. It includes almost all the paintings that made him one of the most successful and critically acclaimed artists of the day. Highlights are 'The Lady of Shalott', 'A Naiad', 'Hylas and the Nymphs', 'St Eulalia', 'Circe Invidiosa: Circe Poisoning the Sea', 'A Mermaid' and 'St Cecilia' These works are accompanied by studies in oil, chalk and pencil; period photographs; sketchbooks; and the volumes of Tennyson and Shelley in which Waterhouse drew sketches. Royal Academy of Arts, until 13th September.

Images From The Past: Rome In The Photography Of Peter Paul Mackey 1890 - 1901 offers a unique opportunity to see what the eternal city actually looked like at the turn of the 20th century. These photographs of Rome, on public display for the first time, offer a fascinating portrait of the city in transition. On the one hand, it appears still immersed in the countryside, more rural than urban, with vineyards and market gardens, and even artichoke cultivation on the Aventine. On the other, it is shown to be a city unexpectedly industrial, with smoking chimneys on the skyline, and factories filling the Circus Maximus - subsequently demolished. Little is known of the English Dominican Father, Peter Paul Mackey, who arrived in Rome in 1881 to work on the Leonine edition of the works of St Thomas Aquinas, and remained in the city until his death in 1935. Elected an Associate of the British School at Rome in 1906, he presented the School with a set of over 2,000 prints and negatives of his photographs, accompanied by a detailed hand written catalogue. Although most of these are sadly now lost, those remaining, on display here, provide a remarkable record of a turning point in Rome's history. Sir John Soane's Museum, London, until 12th September.