News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 3rd June 2009


Henry's Women brings together portraits of each of Henry VIII's wives for the first time, along with some of their personal objects, and paintings of Henry himself, and his daughters, Mary I and Elizabeth I, as part of the celebration of the 500th anniversary of his accession to the throne. The exhibition features the earliest surviving panel portrait of Katherine of Aragon, which incorporates symbolisms of the Queen's struggle to remain Henry's wife; a possible contemporary portrait of Anne Boleyn, currently dated to the reign of her daughter, Elizabeth I; a portrait of Anne of Cleves, possibly offered to envoys in 1539 prior to her meeting the king; a portrait recently re-identified as Catherine Howard; the earliest full length portrait of Elizabeth I as queen; and a portrait of Mary I, thought to be a marriage portrait for her marriage to Phillip II of Spain. Each wife is united with a personal object related to her fate, including a lock of Kateryn Parr's hair taken from her corpse; the marriage annulment document of Henry and Anne of Cleves; the only surviving letter of Catherine Howard, written to her alleged lover Thomas Culpepper; the music book written for Anne Boleyn by one of her alleged lovers Mark Smeaton; together with Henry's own rare and beautifully crafted rosary. The exhibition is staged Henry's Council Chamber, which is open to the public for the first time. It was one of the first rooms to be built by the king when he took possession of the Palace, and is dressed in rich silk fabric hangings, decorated with golden Fleur de Lis and the Tudor rose. Hampton Court Palace until 3rd August.

Great North Museum has just opened after a 3 year refurbishment of the Hancock Museum site, incorporating collections from the Hancock Museum, Newcastle University's Museum of Antiquities, the Shefton Museum and the Hatton Gallery. The £26m project, designed by Terry Farrell and Partners, has seen the fabric of the Grade II listed building restored, an extension added to the rear, and a new high-tech museum created inside. This displays a selection of objects from the combined collections, amounting to some 500,000 artifacts, in the best contemporary way. Highlights include a large scale, interactive model of Hadrian's Wall; The Living Planet, showing the evolutionary process over 350m years of natural history, including full size models of an elephant, a great white shark, a polar bear, a giraffe and moa skeleton; an interactive Bio-Wall, featuring hundreds of creatures, revealing how they live and how they survive in such extreme places as the Arctic and deserts; live animal tanks and aquaria, with wolf fish, pythons, lizards and leaf cutting ants; a geology gallery housing a glittering display of gems and crystals; spectacular arms, art and archeological remains from Ancient Greece; Egyptian treasures, such as the mummy of Irtyru and a statue of Ramses II; a planetarium; and, of course, a life size T-Rex dinosaur skeleton. Great North Museum, Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne, continuing.

Richard Long: Heaven And Earth provides an opportunity to view the work of the British artist who extended the possibilities of sculpture beyond traditional materials and methods, radically rethinking the relationship between art and landscape. Long's work is rooted in his deep affinity with nature, developed during solitary walks. Comprising over 80 works, selected across 4 decades, the exhibition includes large-scale mud wall works, and new photographic and text works documenting walks around the world, plus a big selection of the artists' books, postcards and other printed matter. Long's walks have taken him through rural areas in Britain, and as far afield as the plains of Canada, Mongolia and Bolivia. He never makes significant alterations to the landscapes he passes through, but adjusts the natural order of wilderness places, up-ending stones, or making simple, geometric shapes. Long's work explores relationships between time, distance, geography, measurement and movement. He usually works in the landscape, and presents his work in various forms, which include artists' books and postcards, but sometimes uses natural materials in the gallery. The exhibition includes key early works such as 'A Line Made by Walking', made in a field, where Long walked back and forth until the flattened grass caught by the sunlight became visible as a line, a path going 'nowhere', which he then photographed; and six major stone sculptures, such as 'Norfolk Flint Circle', an eight metre sculpture consisting of a single layer of flints lying close together on the floor laid in the gallery, as on his walks, in simple geometric configurations such as circles, lines, and ellipses. Tate Britain until 6th September.


The North-West Passage: An Arctic Obsession examines the myths and realities of the centuries long British endeavour to find the 'passage round the pole'. The fabled North-West Passage, the sea route linking the North Atlantic with the north Pacific Ocean, was sought by explorers as a lucrative short cut for trade between Europe and the East. The exhibition looks at some of the extraordinary stories, feats of endurance and tragedies that surround famous attempts by Sir John Ross, Sir James Clarke Ross, Sir William Parry and Sir John Franklin. Franklin's expedition of unprecedented scale, in vessels equipped with the latest technological innovations, was to become one of the greatest disasters of Arctic exploration, as both ships and their entire crews vanished. The display also provides a glimpse into the survival strategies used by 19th century explorers to combat the Arctic's harsh climate (including on Franklin's expedition, cannibalism when the food supply was exhausted). Over 120 objects - portrait and landscape paintings, letters, maps and ethnographic items, together with food supplies and equipment retrieved by later expeditions - highlight British attempts to explore and map the Arctic. Highlights include drawings that record early encounters with the Inuit, from John Ross's 1829-33 expedition; the flagstaff which Sir James Clark Ross erected to mark his discovery of the North Magnetic Pole in 1831; and letters and relics, including snow goggles and a pocket chronometer, recovered from Franklin's doomed voyage of 1845. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, until 3rd January.

Rank: Picturing Social Order is the first exhibition uniting artists, researchers and information from public agencies, to look at how British society has been represented, from the Renaissance to the present day. It brings together nearly 100 contributors, placing masterpieces from national art collections next to images made for the urban poor from the Working Class Movement Library, and those for Victorian middle class collectors from libraries and archives. The show reveals the shape of society through objects from different social strata, as well as representations of 'ranks', 'classes', 'orders' and 'estates'. Thus, pictures of myths and stereotypes of national life sit alongside those based on hard fact. All seek to visualise the ways in which societies are, and have been, ordered and classified. Among the objects old and new are Fra Didacus Valades's 'The Great Chain of Being'; Thomas Hobbes's 'Leviathan'; George Cruikshank's 'The British Bee Hive: A Penny Political Picture for the People'; William Frith's 'Derby Day'; Ernest Jones's 'The Factory System as Hell'; Eric Gill's 'Dumb-Driven Cattle'; Victor Bergin's 'Possession'; Ciaran Hughes's 'Meet Mr and Mrs Average'; and Evan Holloway's 'Capital'. Though not all the images here can be described as great art, collectively they provide a striking portrait of social disparity - and how it has changed - through the centuries. Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland until 11th July ~ Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, 24th July until 5th September.

Tom Hunter: Flashback is a series of portraits by photographer Tom Hunter, commissioned in anticipation of new Galleries of Modern London, which will open next spring. Hunter is known for making photographs of contemporary subjects inspired by classical paintings, often including newspaper headlines. Here, taking some of the people involved with the new galleries, Hunter created stage sets using objects from the museum's collection. Like a time lord travelling from one period to the next, Hunter has stolen moments from several eras, juxtaposing historical London with modern icons, such as a Vespa scooter with a museum designer dressed in a 1770s panier dress; a project assistant wearing a 1960s mini dress standing in front of a 1920s Lyons Corner House window; the chairman leaning on a Model Y Ford 8 car in a 1750s silk frock coat and periwig; and a project manager wearing a 20th century 'nippy' waitress's mob cap and black dress in an 18th century prison cell. Hunter's intention was to convey the freedom to travel in time, as visitors do when they walk through a museum, but unlike a museum, which sets out to make sense of history, he sets out to confuse, by creating surprising portraits that steal from different times and fashions. The portraits are rich with colour yet intensely dark, reminiscent of the old masters style. Museum of London, until spring 2010.

The Robot Zoo is a menagerie of moving creatures that gives an insight into animal anatomy, based on the book Robot Zoo: A Mechanical Guide To The Way Animals Work, by John Kelly, Philip Whitfield and Obin. It consists of larger than life sized robot animals: chameleon, giant squid, rhinoceros, giraffe, grasshopper, platypus, house fly and bat, plus 11 interactives, which allow visitors to explore animal adaptations in more depth. Realistic sounds and atmospheric lighting contribute to the sense of immersion in each species habitat. The robot animals are constructed with cutaway sections showing the everyday machine parts that have been used to demonstrate their internal organs: pistons represent muscles, brains are computers, and filtering pipes serve as intestines. The robots move realistically thanks to hydraulics. The chameleon rocks as it turns its head, looks around, and fires its tongue at its prey. The platypus swims in breaststroke style while its tail moves up and down. A fish struggles in the grip of the giant squid's 8m tentacles, while the squid's beak-like mouth opens to reveal a spinning food grinder. Video technology is used to demonstrate the chameleon's ability to camouflage itself. Visitors can test their own reflexes against those of a house fly (revealing why flys are so hard to swat). Detailed illustrations give a deeper insight into animal physiology, such as muscular structure and its impact on movement, and reveal how incredibly specialised and adapted to their environment these animals have become. Horniman Museum, Forest Hill, London SE23, until 8th November.

The Elizabethan Garden, lost to the world for 400 years, has been recreated as part of a £3m restoration programme. The garden was originally created for Queen Elizabeth I by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, at a time when he still hoped to marry her. Now, using advances in garden archaeology, along with the survival from 1575, of an extraordinary eyewitness description by Robert Langham, an official in Leicester's household, visitors are once again able to experience the sights, sounds and scents that would have greeted Queen Elizabeth I, when she first walked its paths. The garden is approached from a terrace, with obelisks, spheres and Leicester's symbol of the bear and ragged staff set at intervals on pedestals, from where the division of the garden into four quarters with intricate geometrical patterns, is best seen. In the centre of each quarter stands a pierced obelisk 17ft high, an ancient symbol of rulership. Magnificent carved arbours, reconstructed from an engraving by the 16th century French architect and designer Jacques Androuet Du Cerceau; a bejewelled two storey aviary, with pheasants, guinea fowl and canaries; planting abundant in colour, perfume and fruits, based on a contemporary drawing by the architect and garden designer Hans Vredeman de Vries; and an 18ft high classical fountain carved from Carrara marble, are some of the glories that make it the most complete picture of an Elizabethan garden anywhere in the world. Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire, continuing.

Fast Forward: 20 Ways F1 Is Changing Our World reveals how manufacturers and researchers from diverse backgrounds and disciplines are transferring Formula 1 technology to other fields of innovation. Suspended from the ceiling is a McLaren MP4-21 racing car built for the 2006 season, made up of over 11,000 components that took 16 months to put together, which Lewis Hamilton used as a test driver. Beneath this, the new and cutting edge items on display include: K2 All Terrain Wheelchair, which incorporates the incredibly strong carbon fibre shell known as the 'monocoque' at the heart of every modern racing car; Ovei Wellbeing Capsule, an immersive diagnostics tool, designed to capture healthcare data and send it to doctors, therapists, psychologists around the world; Baby Pod II, a self-contained structure for transporting sick babies to hospital, similar in design to the driver's cockpit, made from materials light enough to allow the carrier to be placed in a wide variety of vehicles from cars to helicopters; Surface Table, a dining table made from carbon composite so strong that stretches to 4m in length yet measures just 2mm thick; Guardian Wellington Boot, which reduces workplace accidents by using special rubber material and tread pattern developed from tyre technology, in anti-slip protection footwear for people working on wet and greasy surfaces; and Gen3 Leg Brace, a lightweight leg support that helps reduce damage and injuries to the knee, by employing hydraulic dampers, developed to absorb energy from bumps and keep cars on the road. Science Museum, until 5th April.


Shah 'Abbas: The Remaking Of Iran explores the rule and legacy of one of the formative figures in the creation of modern Iran. Shah from 1587 to 1629AD, 'Abbas is remembered as one of the country's most influential kings and a great military leader, who succeeded in positioning Iran as a world power with a sharply defined national identity. Through trade, patronage and diplomacy Shah 'Abbas fostered good relations with Europe, and ushered in a golden period in the arts, commissioning many beautiful works of art and much grand architecture. He even developed a particular style of art that would be associated with his reign alone. 'Abbas was a great builder and restorer of major monuments across the country, and this architectural legacy provides the context in which to explore the themes of his reign. This exhibition focuses on the major shrines in Mashhad, Ardabil and Qum, which he endowed with his commissions, and the magnificent new capital he built at Isfahan. The display includes many opulent treasures from these shrines, including gold-ground carpets, Qur'ans, mosque lamps, Chinese porcelains, illustrated manuscripts, books, watercolour paintings, metalwork, embroidery and beautiful silks, many of which have never been seen outside Iran before, together with a comprehensive photographic display of the architecture that 'Abbas commissioned. British Museum until 14th June.

Turner And Italy explores the complex and enduring relationship between the artist J M W Turner, and the climate, landscapes and architecture of Italy. The exhibition comprises over 100 works, including oil paintings, watercolours, sketchbooks, and books from Turner's library, which illustrate his fascination with the country. Turner travelled to Italy seven times, and while past exhibitions have considered particular aspects of his Italian work, such as his love of Venice, this is the first to provide a comprehensive overview, and consider the impact it had on his British art. Highlights include 'Rome from the Vatican', a panorama of the city, which shows Raphael painting in the foreground, 'Palestrina - Composition', 'Bay of Naples (Vesuvius Angry)', 'Florence, from San Miniato', 'Modern Rome - Campo Vaccino', 'The Val d'Aosta' and 'Approach to Venice'. Because Turner's enthusiasm for Italy was sustained throughout his career, this exhibition illustrates all the distinct stages in the stylistic evolution of his work, and the transition he made from early, conventional topographical studies, to the highly charged, emotive, and visionary pictures of his later years. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 7th June.

Kuniyoshi is the first exhibition in Britain of work by Utagawa Kuniyoshi, one of the greatest Japanese print artists, in nearly 50 years. Featuring over 150 works, the exhibition presents Kuniyoshi as a master of imaginative design. It reveals the graphic power and beauty of his prints across an unprecedented range of subjects, highlighting his ingenious use of the triptych format. Kuniyoshi was a major master of the 'floating world', or Ukiyo-e school of Japanese art, and dominated 19th century printmaking in Japan. Kuniyoshi considerably expanded the existing repertoire of the school, particularly with thousands of designs that brought vividly to life famous military exploits in Japan and China. He portrayed historic heroes of Japan's worrier past and brigands from the Chinese adventure story The Water Margin, giving dramatic pictorial expression to the myths and legends. Kuniyoshi developed an powerful and imaginative style in his prints, often spreading a scene dynamically across all three sheets of the traditional triptych format, and linking the composition with one bold unifying element - a major artistic innovation. Kuniyoshi was also very active in other genres including beautiful women, Kabuki actors, landscapes, comic themes, erotica and commissioned paintings, in each of which he was experimental, imaginative and different from his contemporaries. He transformed the genre of landscapes by incorporating Western conventions, such as cast shadows and innovative applications of perspective. Highlights include rare original brush drawings, a selection of extraordinarily dynamic triptych prints, and the only known example of a set of 12 comic erotic prints. Royal Academy of Arts until 7th June.