News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 4th May 2011


Age Of The Dinosaur is a new immersive experience taking visitors on a journey back 65 million years to a time when dinosaurs ruled the earth. Visitors walk through a swamp-like Jurassic lagoon and Cretaceous desert, catching sight of weird, wonderful and now extinct animals and plants among the smells and sounds of this prehistoric land. Life-size, animatronic dinosaurs, including a Gallimimus, Protoceratops, Camarasaurus, Oviraptor, Velociraptor, and Tarbosaurus emerge from the rocks, water and trees, accompanied by jaw-dropping images and film footage. Along the way, visitors can investigate precious fossils, handle specimen replicas and examine evidence to find out what the world looked like when dinosaurs walked on earth. Highlights include a replica of a Tyrannosaurus rex footprint found in New Mexico that measures 81cm by 74cm and dates back 67 to 65 million years; an animatronic Archaeopteryx lithographica, the creature that proves the theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs, with its bird-like features, but also sharp meat eating teeth; CGI video projection of a Liopleurodon, a large predatory marine pliosaur, which was as long as a double-decker bus, snatching and devouring its prey; and a giant animatronic Tarbasaurus bataar, a relation of Tyrannosaurus rex that inhabited Asia about 70 million years ago, which ate other dinosaurs. Natural History Museum until 4th September.

Heracles To Alexander The Great: Treasures From The Royal Capital Of Macedon, A Hellenic Kingdom In The Age Of Democracy provides an opportunity to see objects found recently in the royal burial tombs and the palace of Aegae, on display for the first time outside Greece. The exhibition is comprised of over 500 treasures made of gold, silver and bronze, which re-write the history of early Greece, and tell the story of the kings and queens who governed Macedon, from the descendents of Heracles to the ruling dynasty of Alexander the Great. The city of Aegae remained relatively unknown until 30 years ago when excavations uncovered the unlooted tombs of Philip II and his grandson Alexander IV. Recent work has unearthed a startling wealth of objects, from beautifully intricate gold jewellery, silverware and pottery, to arms and armour, sculpture, mosaic floors and architectural remains, as well as sacred objects, such as clay heads of divine and demonic figures. The artistry, skill and foresight with which these objects were made reveal a truly sophisticated dynasty. The centrepiece of this show is the reconstruction of the burial assemblage of 5 women: 4 dating from the Early Iron Age, and the 'Lady of Aegae', from around 500 BC, a queen and high-priestess, who was found in an undisturbed tomb, bedecked with funerary goods and dressed, head-to-toe, in spectacular gold jewellery which had been sewn into her clothes; plus items from the tomb of Philip II, including a golden head of Medusa, armour, golden wreaths, marble sculpture and silver banqueting vessels. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 29th August.

Dutch Landscapes brings together remarkable works from the 'golden age' of Dutch painting in the second half of the 17th century, largely collected by King George IV. The exhibition includes paintings by Jacob van Ruisdael, Aelbert Cuyp and Meyndert Hobbema. The fine detail and meticulous finish of Dutch landscapes appealed to British taste. The ability of Netherlandish artists to depict mood and emotion through the landscape of their homeland or the Italian countryside influenced the great British painters John Constable and JMW Turner. However, a major pleasure of the exhibition is the people in the landscapes. There are scenes of merrymaking, replete with people boozing, smoking, swaggering and dancing, country fairs abuzz with activity, busy vistas of agricultural labour, hunting parties and well-to-do landowners and burghers, plus a ragged rabble of floozies and farmhands, blacksmiths and street-vendors, barefooted scamps and beggars with peg legs. Highlights include Isaac van Ostade's 'Travellers Outside an Inn', Salomon van Ruysdael's 'River Landscape with Sailing Boats', Jacob van Ruisdael's 'Evening Landscape: a Windmill by a Stream', Meyndert Hobbema's 'A Watermill Beside a Woody Lane' and Aelbert Cuyp's 'The Passage Boat'. The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, until 9th October.


An American Experiment: George Bellows And The Ashcan Painters introduces an important moment in the history of American painting to Britain. The paintings in this exhibition by George Bellows and his artist friends William Glackens, George Luks, John Sloan and their teacher Robert Henri have not been seen in the UK before. The Ashcan School was formed at the beginning of the 20th century as painters, principally in New York City and Philadelphia, began to develop a uniquely American point of view on the beauty, violence and velocity of the modern world, and a find new way to represent them. The most familiar reading of the Ashcan painters is as urban realists who embraced the brutal but vivid life of the city as their subject, and found stark visual language through which to communicate their realities to a contemporary audience. The most prominent member of the group was George Bellows, the 'American master of snow', who seems to offer engagement with the natural world as the main subject of his paintings. Highlights of the exhibition include 'Cliff Dwellers', an almost Hargothian street scene of immigrants on the Lower East Side of Manhattan; 'Excavation at Night', one of a series of images of the building work at the site of Pennsylvania Station; 'Blue Snow, The Battery', depicting the 25 acre public park at the tip of Lower Manhattan; and 'The Big Dory', a view of fishermen on Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine, which anticipates the stylisations of Art Deco a generation later. The Ashcan Painters were part of a widespread interest in the quality of life in the modern cities of the early 20th century. Along with British artists like Walter Sickert, they are representative of a strong analysis of urban experience while owing much to Old Masters such as Velazquez and Manet. National Gallery until 30th May.

Facade examines the key design feature in architecture - the identity, or face, of a building. The exhibition explores through artists' and architects' work, how facades can be used to both reveal and conceal, and often what, upon closer scrutiny, lies beneath the surface: the tension between appearance and reality. One of the most striking architectural developments over the last 50 years has been the increasing presence of glass facades, which have become all but ubiquitous, at least in larger towns and cities, affecting both the environment and people's lives. Firstly shops, then offices, and more recently apartment blocks have been clad increasingly in ever greater expanses of glazing. The exhibition explores some of the origins of this in the radical writings and architecture from around 1910 onwards, the subsequent development of glass technologies, and the range of its manifestations and effects since. It also throws this seeming 'triumph of transparency' into relief, by contrasting it with its inverse, the blank, dark or broken/blind facade in architecture. Reflecting contemporary developments, it looks at how new glazed-facade technology seems to metamorphose between the transparent and the opaque, hinting at a more ambiguous play between material surface and its depth - what lies beneath. Artists and architects whose work is featured include: Alexander Apostol, Foster + Partners, Gelitin, Gregor Schneider, Ian Kiaer, Jeffrey Sarmiento, Michael Raedecker, Mossessian and Partners, Ola Kohlemainen, Phil Coy, Sauerbruch Hutton, Heike Klussmann and Thorsten Klooster. National Glass Centre, Sunderland, until 10th July.

Nothing Is Ever As It Seems marks the centenary of the birth of the playwright Terence Rattigan. The author of 25 full length stage plays, and the most successful playwright in Britain in the mid 20th century, Terence Rattigan saw two of his works, 'French Without Tears' in 1936 and 'Separate Tables' in 1956, achieve West End runs of more than 1,000 performances, a record not yet equalled. Characters in Rattigan's plays are notable for their emotional restraint, which he summed up thus: "It is the implicit rather than the explicit that gives life to a scene". However, the arrival of 'kitchen sink' drama and the Theatre of the Absurd in 1956 made Rattigan's 'well made' plays seem old fashioned, and they were more or less neglected until recent years. The exhibition includes scripts, letters, photographs and other memorabilia from the Rattigan archive. Highlights include the typescript with autograph amendments of 'First Episode', his first staged play, set in an undergraduate lodging house; the typescript with annotations of the satirical farce 'Follow My Leader', which was refused a licence by the Lord Chamberlain so as not to offend foreign powers; the original script of 'Flare Path', under its first title of 'Next Of Kin', together with Rattigan's RAF notebooks and flying log; the script of the original radio version of 'Cause Celebre', and a letter to Robin Midgley, director of its stage adaptation, discussing changes to the script for the theatre. The British Library until July.

Watercolour presents a fresh assessment of the history of watercolour painting in Britain from the Middle Ages through to the present day. The exhibition shows over 200 works including pieces by historic artists such as William Blake, Thomas Girtin and JMW Turner, through to modern and contemporary artists including Patrick Heron, Peter Doig, Tracey Emin and Anish Kapoor. Spanning 800 years and celebrating the variety of ways watercolour has been used, it shows how important the medium is within British art. Drawing out a grand history that traces the origins of watercolour back to medieval illuminated manuscripts, the exhibition reassesses the commonly held belief that the medium first flourished during a 'golden age' of British watercolour, from roughly 1750-1850. It reveals an older tradition evident in manuscripts, topography and miniatures, and challenges the notion that watercolour is singularly British by showing some key watercolours from continental Europe which influenced British artists, such as examples by Anthony van Dyck and Wenceslaus Hollar. Before the advent of photography, watercolour was used primarily for recording eye-witness accounts, because it was so versatile and portable. This exhibition shows the wide range of contexts in which watercolour was employed including documentation of exotic flora and fauna on Captain Cook's voyages, spontaneous on-the spot-recordings of landscapes by artists such as Turner and John Sell Cotman and on the battlefield by war artists such as William Simpson and Paul Nash. In addition, it also shows how watercolour has been used for visionary or abstract purposes with examples ranging from Blake through to the Pre-Raphaelites, Symbolists and Neo-Romantics in more recent times. Tate Britain until 21st August.

Robin And Lucienne Day: Design And The Modern Interior features the work of the couple whose designs were a quintessential part of the Contemporary style in Britain in the 1950s. The exhibition features over 50 Lucienne textiles alongside rare, early furniture by Robin, including key pieces such as the Royal Festival Hall lounge, dining and orchestra chairs. The most celebrated designer couple of the post war years, the Days rose to prominence during the 1951 Festival of Britain. Robin Day was commissioned to design the furniture for the Royal Festival Hall and Lucienne's arresting abstract-patterned textiles and wallpapers were displayed alongside Robin's steel and plywood furniture in the Homes and Gardens Pavilion. Like many architects and designers during the optimistic post-war period, the Days believed in the power of modern design to make the world a better place. Lucienne Day's fresh and progressive textile designs were revolutionary, inspired by plant forms, composed of spindly lines and irregular cupped motifs in earthy and acid tones. The originality of these early patterns grew from Lucienne's love of modern art, particularly the paintings of Joan Miro and Paul Klee. Robin Day's furniture designs were a direct rejection of the solid and ponderous form of pre-war furniture. His response to technology reflected the positive, forward looking mood of the early post-war era, and his sparing use of materials and economical approach to construction stemmed from the enforced austerity of the war years, when materials and labour were in short supply. The results included his famed armchairs with moulded plywood wings for arms and spindly legs that emphasise lightness and space. These habits became deeply ingrained in his design psyche, eventually finding their logical conclusion in the multi-million selling 1963 polypropylene chair, perhaps the most ubiquitous piece of furniture on the planet. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 26th June.

Manifold Greatness: Oxford And The Making Of The King James Bible celebrates the 400th anniversary of the publication of the most frequently printed book in English language. The exhibition tells the story behind the publication of the King James Bible., exploring the political, religious and intellectual context of its time, and looking at the events and conditions that led to and shaped this translation enterprise. Commissioned by King James I of England and VI of Scotland, the translation was the outcome of the laborious efforts of 47 scholars located in Oxford, Cambridge and Westminster. Drawing on the Bodleian holdings, the resources of collegiate libraries from around the University of Oxford, the exhibition specifically showcases the contribution of the Oxford translation committees, of which notable members were John Rainolds (President of Corpus Christi College), Henry Savile (Warden of Merton College) and Miles Smith (Corpus Christi and Brasenose College). The King James translation of the Bible exerted considerable cultural and social influence in the 17th century, and it has become ubiquitous in English speaking culture. The display includes Wycliffe's earliest translation of the Bible into English; John Bois's notes from the committee meeting at which the translation was finally agreed, revealing how words were re-ordered to make the Bible more majestic; reference books used by the committees to help identify biblical insects such as locusts; and a rare copy of the Wicked Bible of 1631, which omits the word 'not' from the seventh commandment, rendering it "Thou shalt commit adultery". Bodleian Library. Oxford, until 4th September.


Bridget Riley: Paintings And Related Work offers an opportunity to see how recent paintings by one of Britain's most significant abstract painters of the second half of the 20th century relates to the works of Old Masters. Although Bridget Riley first came to prominence as one of the founders of the Op Art movement in the early 1960s, working initially in black, white and grey, introducing colour only in 1967, she has always had a deep interest in the Old Masters, looking at and learning their uses of colour, line and composition. The exhibition includes one of Riley's first endeavors as an emerging artist, a copy of Jan van Eyck's 'Portrait of a Man'. Two of Riley's works have been made directly onto the walls of the gallery: 'Composition with Circles 7', specially created for this exhibition, and a version of her wall-painting, 'Arcadia'. Among the paintings by Old Masters are Mantegna's 'Introduction of the Cult of Cybele to Rome', Raphael's 'Saint Catherine of Alexandria', and three studies by Georges Seurat. Recent paintings on canvas, which have introduced new curvilinear rhythms and movements into Riley's work, are seen alongside some of her earlier paintings, and a selection of works on paper that help to explain her development and working process. In an accompanying film, Bridget Riley discusses her lifelong artistic relationship with the works of Old Masters. National Gallery until 22nd May.

Paper Memories features childhood fashion memories preserved in paper. The exhibition comprises a collection of more than 100 authentically recreated life-sized children's clothes made from paper by one dedicated woman, which is on public display for the first time. All the clothes are modeled on items of clothes made between the 1940s and the 1970s, and have been painstakingly created over the last few years by fashion expert Felicity Austen. The unique collection, ranging from school uniforms to party outfits, fancy dress to holiday clothes, includes 10 pairs of paper shoes, as well as paper dresses, shirts and even socks. Austin re-created the clothes after studying original garments, looking at family photographs and advertisements, and hearing the reminiscences of a number of people who provided memories of their childhood clothes. Some of the clothes represent 'home made' garments, very popular at the beginning of the period represented, and others, those produced commercially in factories, but all predate the concept of 'children's fashion'. Each garment took hours to put together, using everything from tissue paper to wrapping paper. The clothes are supported by photographs and objects of the period. Also included in the exhibition are other nostalgic paper artefacts, from Coronation memorabilia and old photos, to school books and brown paper packages tied up with string. Snibston Discovery Park, Ashby Road, Coalville, Leicestershire, until 15th May.

A Collector's Eye: Cranach To Pissarro provides an opportunity for the public to see paintings from a private collection spanning 15th century devotional images to 19th century French Impressionist landscapes. As well as being an exhibition of great breadth and depth of style and time periods, it is also a story of how a collection grows and develops, and how the taste of the collector changes and diversifies. The Schorr Collection was assembled by private collector David J Lewis. It has been built up over the last 35 years and now numbers over 400 paintings. Among the 64 paintings in the exhibition are Lucas Cranach's 'Lamentation over dead Christ', El Greco's 'St John the Evangelist', Rubens's 'Battle of the Amazons' and 'Allegory of the River God Maranon', Guidi Reni's 'The Evangelist St Mark', Salvador Rosa's 'A Philosopher', Delacroix's 'Portrait of King Philip IV of Spain', Camille Pissarro's 'Pommiers dans une prairie', and Sisley's 'Autour de la foret, matinee de juillet' and 'Port-Marly sous la neige'. The exhibition pays tribute to the visual and intellectual curiosity of a collector whose acquisitions now form one of the largest collections of Old Master paintings amassed in England since the Second World War. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, until 15th May.