News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 3rd August 2005


The State Rooms Of Buckingham Palace, which are used to receive and entertain guests of State on ceremonial and official occasions, have once again been thrown open to visitors. They are furnished with some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, Poussin, Canaletto and Claude; sculpture by Canova and Chantrey; Sevres porcelain; and some of the finest English and French furniture in the world. This year, the focus of the special display is the State Visit to France made by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in July 1938. The centrepiece of which is the 'White Wardrobe' designed for the Queen by Norman Hartnell, which caused a sensation, and was immortalised in Cecil Beaton's famous series of photographs. Among the dresses in the display are the crinoline worn by the Queen to the State Banquet at the Elysee Palace, and the lace dress chosen for the garden party in the Bagatelle Gardens in the Bois de Boulogne, together with spectacular diamond jewellery. Also on display are the gifts presented by the French President, including a Rene Lalique glass table service, watercolours by Edouard Vuillard, Raoul Dufy and Maurice Utrillo, and two dolls, France and Marianne, with their clothes and accessories designed by the most famous Parisian couturiers of the 1930s. Visitors can also enjoy a walk in the 39 acre garden with its 19th century lake, which provide a haven for wild life in the centre of London, and offer views of the Garden Front of the Palace. Buckingham Palace until 27th September.

Surrealism In Britain looks at how the Surrealist movement, which had been born in Paris in 1922, caused a public uproar when it arrived in Britain with the International Surrealist Exhibition in 1936. The exhibition was a sensation, seen by over 23,000 visitors in four weeks. Prime movers behind the show were Roland Penrose, the young poet David Gascoyne and Herbert Read. Penrose had been closely involved with Surrealists such as Andre Breton, Paul Eluard, Max Ernst, Salvador Dali and Joan Miro in Paris, and he persuaded them to contribute to the show. Among the British artists recruited were Eileen Agar, Edward Burra, John Banting, Reuben Mendikoff, Henry Moore, F E McWilliam and Paul Nash, some of whom did not know that they were Surrealists until so designated by the show's selectors. Indeed the works of the British contingent tended to be more 'idiosyncratic oddball' than wholeheartedly Surrealist. Nevertheless, this display follows the growth of the movement in this country through the late 1930s and into the 1940s, with paintings, drawings, photographs, documents, objects and printed ephemera. Dean Gallery, Edinburgh until 18th September.

Spirit Of Place: Landscapes In British Printmaking celebrates the landscape tradition in British printmaking over the last 100 years, including recent acquisitions on view for the first time. The works in the exhibition embrace a wide range styles and techniques, from realistic to surrealistic, and etchings to screenprints. Among the artists and works featured are Frederick Landseer Maur Griggs's 'Sellenger', whose plate he worked on over many years, re-etching the sky and burnishing areas of copper to achieve the perfect tonal balance; Keith Vaughan, whose lithographs combine abstract forms with elements taken directly from landscape as in 'Landscape 1949'; Paul Nash, whose 'Void of War', is part of his record of the scenes of death and destruction that he encountered on the plains of the Flanders; Joseph Webb, whose plates are based on mystical religious feelings and a sense of awe in the face of ancient buildings as in 'Rat Barn'; Graham Sutherland's 'The Garden', in which the imagery is more stylised and abstracted than in his early work, with the atmosphere more psychologically charged and disquieting; Paul Drury's 'Evening England', a subtle re-working of a previous wood engraving, with tiny 'points of light' created by allowing the paper to show through the hatched lines; and Peter Lanyon's 'Underground', an almost abstract work, suggesting dark cavities - perhaps mineshafts, caves or ancient burial grounds - lit by glimpses of sky. Victoria & Albert Museum until 1st November.


Gunpowder Treason marks the 400th anniversary of the audacious plan to blow up the House of Lords, and with it the government of the day, most of the royal family including King James I, the majority of the aristocracy and the Palace of Westminster. This audio-visual display, tells the story of the arrest, imprisonment, torture and death of Guy Fawkes and the other gunpowder plotters. The Tower of London had a key role in the gunpowder plot story: the 36 barrels of gunpowder planted under the Palace of Westminster were delivered there after the plotter's arrests; Fawkes and the leading conspirators were imprisoned and tortured there in order to get them to reveal who was behind the plan; and seven men left its gates the following January to be executed. The display also explores the historic role of gunpowder, what the effect would have been on the London landscape and British history if the plotters had been successful, and examines the continuing historical importance of the gunpowder plot, with regard to modern political events, religious terrorism and conspiracy investigations. In addition to the display, there is a programme of associated events, including costumed interpretations of the final days of the plotters, and demonstrations of sword fighting and other weaponry used at the time, culminating on the actual anniversary in an interactive costumed event that explores the panic, conspiracies and chaos that would have ensued if the plot had succeeded. Tower of London until June.

The American West offers the first opportunity for Britain to view an extensive collection of rarely seen historical material from an era that continues to hold a global fascination, bound up with myths arising from European expansion across North America. The exhibition also brings this mythology up to date, exploring the cowboy culture that has emerged from the election of the current incumbent of the White House. In telling a series of visual stories it reveals how the west was really won, exploring themes such as invasion and genocide; frontiersmen; captivity narratives; the first official Indian wars; Native American encounters with white settlers and the U.S. army; natural resources and environment, and Hollywood and the cowboy. Included in the exhibition are historical depictions of the subject by Charles M Russell, Arthur Tait, Charles Schreyvogel and Alfred Jacob Miller; 19th century Plains Indian Ledger drawings; art and craft made by Indian prisoners, works by contemporary Native North American artists including Minerva Cuevas, Kent Monkman, Edward Poitras, James Luna and Cisco Jimenez; and interpretations on the theme by Ed Ruscha, Elaine Reichek, Luigi Ontani and Ed Kienholz. In addition, the exhibition contains a diverse selection of historic ephemera from popular culture, including documentation relating to Buffalo Bill's roadshow, period photographs, dime novels, billboards, film posters and John Fitzgerald Kennedy's presentation colt gun. Compton Verney until 29th August.

Graham Sutherland revisits a major figure, now somewhat neglected, who dominated the British art scene from the 1920s to the 1960s. This exhibition concentrates on the period from the mid 1930s, when Sutherland established his identity as a modern painter, to around 1950, when his influence began to wane. It looks in depth at two strands of his imagery, the landscapes derived mainly from visits to Pembrokeshire and the South of France, before and after the Second World War; and the scenes of devastation and production created for the War Artists scheme. In addition, there are small sections on the early 1920s etchings, which introduced certain fundamentals of his art, and on the emergence of his portraiture with 'Somerset Maugham' in 1949. To place Sutherland's work historically, and to bring out certain features, the exhibition includes selected works by other artists in whom he took an interest, such as Blake, Palmer, Nash, and Masson. It brings together the types of work that gave rise to a widespread consensus, amongst fellow artists, as well as critics and collectors, that Sutherland was the most exciting and compelling voice in contemporary British painting. The dramatic colour and lighting, and the semi abstract forms in his pictures, both the landscapes and the wartime images of bombed buildings, mines and factory interiors, produced an atmosphere of gloom and foreboding that, in those traumatic times, struck a powerful emotional chord. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 25th September.

Diamonds is the world's biggest ever exhibition of diamonds, bringing together many of the world's most spectacular white and coloured stones, alongside the story of how nature creates them, and man 'refines' them. Among the many individual highlights are the De Beers Millennium Star, the world's largest diamond (the target of the attempted robbery at the Millennium Dome); the Steinmetz Pink, the largest pink diamond that took nearly two years to cut; the Ocean Dream, the largest blue-green diamond, and one of the rarest; the Moussaieff Red, one of the few true red diamonds in existence; Orange Flame, the unusual colour caused by small amounts of nitrogen within it; and the 616 crystal, the largest uncut diamond crystal in existence. Historical jewels include Shah Jahn's table cut diamond warn as a turban ornament, the George III Garter Star, Queen Victoria's Lesser George and the Star of South Africa, Frederick Augustus III's silver bow containing 662 gems, and the stone credited with starting the South African diamond rush of the 1870s. In addition there are examples of contemporary jewellery, using diamonds together with modern materials and in radical ways, by designers such as Michelle Ong, Georges Cuyvers and Scott Henshall. Multimedia exhibits and geological samples explain how diamonds are formed from carbon under extreme pressure and heat deep in the earth, and then thrust upwards by volcanic action, together with the methods employed to prospect for them, and cut, polish and finish them to create jewels. Natural History Museum until 26th February.

Lowry And The Sea is an exhibition that concentrates on a less well known and surprising element of L S Lowry's work, for those familiar simply with his industrial scenes. The display comprises around 50 paintings and drawings of coastal views, ranging from heavily populated beaches to 'empty' seascapes, by way of working docks and coastlines put to industrial use. Lowry's choice of seaside resort to paint in his younger days captures a time when Manchester residents headed for destinations like Rhyl and Lytham St Annes, before the advent of overseas package holidays. However, it is the seascapes of the North East coast, which he painted in his later years, with their dull grey sky and flat grey sea barely ruffled by waves, that are the most memorable. These have an almost 'Turneresque' quality, very different from the cheery matchstick men, red brick terraces and factory chimneys of his better known work. Their brooding melancholy and the lonely depth of these small and deceptively simple works make Lowry one of the greatest British seascape painters of the 20th century. The Lowry, Salford until 30th October.

70 Years Of Penguin Design marks the 70th anniversary of Penguin Books with a display of some 500 of its iconic book covers. Drawing on material from the Penguin archives that has never been exhibited before, the display shows how the company has responded to - and influenced - changing trends in British culture. Penguin was launched with the pioneering concept of publishing cheap paperback editions of distinguished books, for just sixpence per title. Its distinctive approach to cover design and typography was equally advanced, and has become an integral part of publishing and graphic design history, beginning with the simple bands of colour and the classic Gill Sans typeface. The display is divided into three themes. 'A Living Book' displays the changing covers of The Great Gatsby, showing how this popular classic has taken on various guises from 1950 to the present day. 'Covers Living With British Culture' are represented by Wartime Specials and designs from the swinging sixties, such as The Medium Is The Massage, where a printer's error was incorporated into the title, and the menacing design of Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange. 'Cover Design Now', goes through the design process of covers today, from paper to computer screen and back to paper again, such as the innovative Great Ideas series, shortlisted for the Designer of the Year Award. The display is rich in original art work, and hand drawn roughs, corrected proofs and in house notes bring the finished designs to life. Victoria & Albert Museum until 13th November.


Heroes & Villains is a collaboration between the caricaturist Gerald Scarfe and the National Portrait Gallery. It juxtaposes the pen and ink drawings of contemporary and historical figures by the illustrator, animator and designer with portraits from the National Portrait Gallery's collection. Scarfe's distortions of well known figures reveal the wit and vision of an exceptional draughtsman. This is a general retrospective, with subjects as wide ranging as Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Oswald Mosley, Virginia Woolf, Winston Churchill, Graham Green, the Beatles, Margaret Thatcher and Diana, Princess of Wales. In the portraits the sitters are afforded dignity and grace, but then Scarfe tears into them with his customary savagery. Alongside Scarfe's work, there is a display of his historical influences, such as Hogarth and Gillray. In addition, visitors can delve into the world of caricature and portraiture through a range of hands on activities. Millennium Galleries Sheffield until 21st August.

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is with us again, as it has been every year since 1769 - the usual collection of the good, the bad and the ugly - from amateurs to RA's, proving that popular taste and critical approval find no meeting point. Around 1,200 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from over 12,000 submissions, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. This year, the show has been masterminded by Stephen Farthing and Christopher Orr, and there is a special focus on the use of multiple images or objects, across all the various media on display. Printmaking is strongly featured, with a number of photographs and sculpture editions displayed alongside more conventional examples, and there is a gallery dedicated to works created using mechanical or technological intervention. Internationally acclaimed artists whose work is on show include Paula Rego, Langlands and Bell, Mimmo Paladino, Richard Hamilton, Helen Frankenthaler, Chuck Close and Louise Bourgeois. Ed Ruscha is the featured artist, and his display, concentrating mainly on multiple works, includes photographs and books, in addition to some paintings. There are memorial displays to Peter Coker and Norman Adams. An accompanying programme of lectures, events and workshops covers all aspects of the exhibition. Royal Academy of Arts until 15th August.

Hirschfeld's Hollywood: The Film Art Of Al Hirschfeld features early work by America's foremost illustrator, who from the 1920s to his death aged 99 in 2003, created witty and stylish celebrity caricatures that appeared in the New York Times. Hirschfeld developed and perfected a signature style when he worked for the publicity and art departments of numerous American movie studios. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents the first exhibition to examine these Hollywood years. Over 50 drawings, paintings, posters and movie ephemera, are featured, with a special emphasis on Hirschfeld's unique interpretation of British performers and film makers. National Theatre until 13th August.