News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 4th August 2010


Butterfly Explorers charts the life cycle of some of the world's most beautiful creatures in an explorer's trail through a tropical butterfly house, and reveals how butterflies around the world have adapted to their habitats. The trail takes visitors on a journey from egg to caterpillar, and chrysalis to butterfly. In the butterfly house there is a hatchery, where butterflies constantly emerge from their pupa, and join the hundreds of butterflies and moths in the 4 habitat zones of North America, South America, Africa and Southeast Asia, fluttering freely among the exotic plants. Around 40 species with wildly different colourings and markings are on view, including the Glasswing butterfly, which has transparent wings, and the Madagascan moon moth, which has the longest tail of any moth, plus the woolly bear caterpillar, which lives in the Arctic and spends most of the year frozen solid at temperatures of -50˚C or below. Outside the butterfly house is a garden devoted to some of the 58 butterfly species that live in Britain, and offering useful tips for attracting these butterflies to visitors' own gardens. Meanwhile, inside the museum itself, there over 8 million preserved butterflies and moths, including representatives from about 90,000 species, with specimens dating back as far as 1680. Natural History Museum until 26th September.

British Sporting Art explores the genre from horseracing and hunting to boxing, football, cricket - and even ratting. Central to the theme of the exhibition, which includes works by George Stubbs, Alfred Munnings, Edwin Landseer and George Morland, is John Bowes, the founder of the museum, his love for horseracing, and his prolific racing career. The branch of painting that has come to be known as British Sporting Art was at its height during the 18th century, when horseracing fervour swept the nation. It was a golden age for sporting artists, the most famous of which was Stubbs, who immortalised winners on canvas, despite it being rejected by connoisseurs as a low form of art, and by Joshua Reynolds as mere genre painting. A featured painting is of one of Bowes' most successful racehorses, Cotherstone, by J F Herring Jnr. Artists such as Gillray, quite different from those depicting field sports, produced detailed portraits of boxers and comical sporting scenes, which were reproduced in popular print form. The exhibition considers whether this in itself is a statement about the class system in the 18th century, particularly as the print industry became prominent. It also examines the next generation of painters - Herring Snr and Jnr and Henry Alken - who faced less prejudice than their predecessors, and concludes with more recent sporting paintings by Munnings. The period art is accompanied by bronzes of racehorses, deer and gundogs by contemporary sculptor Sally Arnupt. Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham, until 10th October.

Frederick Cayley Robinson: Acts Of Mercy provides an opportunity to re-examine a little known yet highly distinctive artist of the early 20th century, who stood outside the main developments of British art. The four central paintings on display are the summation of Frederic Cayley Robinson's artistic ambition. Executed between 1916 and 1920, 'Acts of Mercy' comprises four large scale allegorical works commissioned to adorn the new Middlesex Hospital. Combining modernity with tradition to remarkable effect, Cayley Robinson emulates the spiritual integrity and methods of the Old Masters. The two pairs are titled 'The Doctor', and 'Orphans'. In 'The Doctor', one panel represents the traumatic effects of conflict on those invalided out of the First World War, while in the other, a doctor is thanked by a kneeling mother (echoing traditional images of the adoration or crucifixion) and the daughter he has treated. 'Orphans', depict the refectory of an orphanage, under the patronage of the hospital, where in one panel, girls are filing in to receive bowls of milk, and in the other, they sit at a table reminiscent of Leonardo's 'Last Supper', while their stillness and steady gazes recall Dutch 17th century painting. Other works by Cayley Robinson in the exhibition include 'Pastoral', 'The Old Nurse' and 'Self Portrait'. These are accompanied by paintings that provided inspiration for their style and content, including Piero della Francesca's 'The Baptism of Christ', Sandro Botticelli's 'Four Scenes from the Early Life of Saint Zenobius' and Pierre-Cecile Puvis de Chavannes's 'Summer'. National Gallery until 17th October.


The State Rooms Of Buckingham Palace, the 19 rooms that 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, marking the 60th anniversary of the Commonwealth, the special display is devoted to the Queen's visits abroad. It includes day and evening gowns specially created for each trip by designers including Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies; jewelled orders worn by the Queen on ceremonial occasions, both from Britain and those presented by the countries she has visited; and gifts received by the Queen on her travels, ranging from a whale's tooth, an emu egg and a kiwi feather cape, to a model of the golden temple of Amritsar, a chess set in African dress, and a model oil rig, as well as items of jewellery; together with films and recordings of the various visits. Visitors can also enjoy a walk in the 39 acre garden with its 19th century lake, which provides a haven for wild life in the centre of London, including 30 different species of birds, and more than 350 different wild flowers, and offers views of the Garden Front of the Palace. Buckingham Palace until 30th September.

No.1 Smithery is a new £13m museum and gallery designed by architects van Heyningen and Haward, created in a restored listed 19th century building, showcasing some 4,000 unique and previously unseen maritime models, artefacts and paintings. This building, a former workshop that forged parts for naval ships from 1808 to the 1970s, marks the completion of the restoration of buildings in the dockyard. The exhibits include Trinity House keeper George Knott's model of the 4th Eddystone Lighthouse, which divides at each floor level like a doll's house; an 18th century model of Admiral Balchen's flagship HMS Victory, lost at sea in one of history's most spectacular shipwrecks; a large topographical model of the Chatham dockyard as it appeared in 1774, originally made as one of a set for King George III; a model of HMS Ormonde, a First Word War minesweeper, which demonstrates early use of dazzle camouflage; and the Napoleonic prisoner of war model of Nelson's Victory, and an engraved gold cup used on board just such a vessel.

Resonance And Renewal: Shipbuilding On The Clyde is the opening art exhibition, featuring all 8 of Stanley Spencer's huge 19ft wide panoramic paintings of workers in Lithgow's shipyards in Port Glasgow, made during the Second World War, on display for the first time since their restoration, alongside 28 associated drawings, some showing women workers, who are not included in the paintings, together with Smithery tools.

The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, continuing, Resonance And Renewal: Shipbuilding On The Clyde until 12th December.

Camille Silvy, Photographer Of Modern Life, 1834 - 1910 is the first British retrospective of work by one of the greatest French photographers of the 19th century. Marking the centenary of Camille Silvy's death, the exhibition includes over 100 images, many of which have not been exhibited since 1860. The portraits on display offer a unique glimpse into 19th century Paris and Victorian London, through the eyes of one of photography's greatest innovators. The exhibition shows how Silvy pioneered many branches of the photographic medium, including theatre, fashion, military and street photography. Working under the patronage of Queen Victoria, having taken portraits of her children, Silvy photographed royalty, statesmen, aristocrats, celebrities, the professional classes, businessmen and the households of the country gentry. His London studio was a model factory with a staff of 40, which produced over 17,000 portraits in the new 'carte de visite' format - small, economically priced, and collectable - that show how the modern and fashionably dressed looked. Works on display will include 'River Scene, France', considered Silvy's masterpiece, alongside his London series on twilight, sunlight and fog. Anticipating the era of digital manipulation, he created photographic illusions in these works by using darkroom tricks. The exhibition also includes a cache of letters in which Silvy describes how he set up and ran his London studio, a selection of Daybooks, providing a unique record of the workings of the studio; a dress worn by his wife for a portrait session; and albums and other items that build up a picture of his working practice. The display illustrates the transformation of photographic art into industry, the beginnings of the democratisation of portraiture, and the life of a photographic genius who fell into obscurity. National Portrait Gallery until 17th October.

Sargent And The Sea focuses on the formative years in the artistic career of the painter once called 'the Van Dyck of his time', covering the period from 1874 to around 1879. The exhibition of 80 paintings, drawings and watercolours by John Singer Sargent ranges from seaside idylls, through tumultuous Romantic seascapes, to studies of dock life intimating his mature, sober side. It opens with works made during summer expeditions by Sargent to the Normandy and Brittany coasts in 1874 and 1875, and continues with a series of innovative seascapes, including three newly discovered works that were inspired by his experience of the Atlantic, when he visited America for the first time. A group of drawings and a little known scrapbook from that period reveal Sargent's precocious talent as a draughtsman, and his detailed knowledge of ships' rigging and tackle. Among the highlights are: 'En Route pour la peche', and 'Fishing for Oysters at Cancale',showing fisherfolk in the little Breton port of Cancale; 'Neapolitan Children Bathing', an evocation of the brilliant light and blue sea of Capri; 'Mid Ocean, Mid Winter', where icy green and black waves swell ominously; a group of Mediterranean port scenes in oil and watercolour; and boating watercolours painted in Venice in the early 20th century. Positioned between the traditional and the modern, Sargent tested the boundaries of marine art with unconventional viewpoints, the realism with which he rendered light and tone, and the bravura brushwork that would be a distinguishing feature of his later career. Royal Academy of Arts until 26th September.

Endurance: Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure chronicles the story of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, and the journey to safety after his ship Endurance was crushed in the ice. Miraculously, all 28 members of the expedition lived through their ordeal in the largely uncharted icy wastes. The exhibition tells this epic tale with over 150 images by expedition photographer James Francis Hurley, 10 of which are in colour, using the pioneering Paget process. Hurley actually dived into frigid waters to retrieve his glass plate negatives from the sinking Endurance, and the negatives and prints subsequently survived ice, open seas and burial under the snow. Among the highlights are: images of Endurance trapped in the ice, by day and night; studies of the expedition members, including sledge dogs, at work and play; scenes of life on board ship; Endurance slowly sinking beneath the ice; daily routine while camped on the ice floe; the men marooned on Elephant Island, and hauling and launching the lifeboat James Caird; and the 36 hour trek across the mountains of South Georgia Island, followed by rescue. The photographs, printed from the original glass plate and film negatives, and Hurley's album of prints, are accompanied by memoirs from the voyage, and a full size replica of the James Caird. Merseyside Maritime Museum, Albert Dock, Liverpool, until 3rd January.

Urban Origami explores the continuing allure and consequences of the expanding modern city. The exhibition presents a multitude of urban images and architectural perspectives, using animation, film, painting, drawing and photography, employing recycled objects and deft use of light, a key characteristic of Sir John Soane, who designed the house that holds the show. The exhibition brings together seven international artists, each with a very distinctive approach to the problematic growth of city dwelling and its debris. Displaced objects, salvaged architecture, and assembled urban spaces are employed in an attempt to expound meaning behind contemporary living. Former air steward Gaia Persico imagines a global city in her drawings, where horizons snake across the page, binding landmarks from San Francisco's Union Square to Darling Harbour in Sydney. A film by Elisa Sighicelli conjures urban spectacle, as a Shanghai skyscraper sends out a rainbow kaleidoscope of lights, while in one of her photographic lightboxes, familiar scaffolding becomes a fantastic structure. Matthew Houlding recycles household flotsam into maquettes of jazzy modernist apartment blocks. Jools Johnson turns yesterday's tech, like upturned old computer screws, into tomorrow's skyscrapers. Haegue Yang offers 'Holiday Story', a series of eerie video landscapes containing faint traces of human presence. Pitzhanger Manor House and Gallery, Mattock Lane, Walpole Park, London W5, until 29th August.


Picasso: Peace And Freedom is the first exhibition to reveal the Spanish artist as a tireless political activist and campaigner for peace in the post Second World War period. It challenges the widely held view of Pablo Picasso as creative genius, playboy and compulsive extrovert, reflecting a new Picasso for a new time. The exhibition brings together 150 key paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures, as well as posters and documents related to war and peace from 1944 to 1973. It provides an opportunity to look at Picasso's work in the Cold War era and how he transcended the ideological and aesthetic oppositions of East and West. The centrepiece is 'The Charnel House', last seen in Britain more than 50 years ago, Picasso's most explicitly political painting since 'Guernica'. Other highlights include 'Monument to the Spaniards who Died for France' and 'The Rape of the Sabine Women', painted at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The most unusual piece is the 'Bernal mural' the head of a man and woman with laurel wreaths and wings, drawn directly on to the sitting room wall while visiting his friend John Desmond Bernal, and later saved when the building was demolished. Picasso's Dove of Peace became the emblem for the Peace Movement and a universal symbol of hope during the Cold War. The dove also had a highly personal significance for Picasso - he named his daughter, born in the same month as the 1949 Peace Congress in Paris, 'Paloma' (Spanish for 'dove'). Tate Liverpool until 30th 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 1,250 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from around 11,000 submissions, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. Over £70,000 is given out to artists included in the exhibition through 10 prizes. This year the show has been masterminded by Stephen Chambers and David Chipperfield with the theme Raw. Highlights include new works by Antoni Tapies, Ed Ruscha, Michael Craig-Martin, Gillian Ayres, Sean Scully, David Hockney and Tracey Emin; plus artists' books featured for the first time. The star work is probably David Mach's 'Silver Streak', a 10ft tall gorilla made of coat hangers. There is also a memorial gallery dedicated to showing the works of the late Craigie Aitchison, Jim Cadbury-Brown, John Craxton, Freddy Gore, Donald Hamilton Fraser, Flavia Irwin and Michael Kidner, plus 3 leaping hare sculptures by Barry Flanagan in the courtyard. The Royal Academy of Arts until 22nd August.

Old And New South American Botanical Art brings the Latin continent's exotic and lush plants to life in Britain. The exhibition combines 62 paintings from the Real Jardin Botanico in Madrid's collection of works commissioned by the 18th century botanist Jose Celestino Mutis, with 68 works by contemporary artists, including Margaret Mee, Alvaro Nunez and Etienne Demonte. Jose Celestino Mutis was sent to South America by the Spanish government to identify and document the plants of the Spanish colony and look for commercially valuable crops, timber and medicinal herbs. While there, he established an art school to train local Creole men to illustrate his findings, and some 40 illustrators worked on the project. The most outstanding of these was Francisco Xavier Matis Machecha, 6 of whose paintings are in the exhibition. Over 6,500 works were sent back to the archives of the Real Jardin Botanico in Madrid, none of which were published until 1952, and this is the first exhibition of the paintings in Europe outside Spain. Among the contemporary artists, Margaret Mee made 15 collecting trips into the Amazon, bringing back and painting hundreds of plants, including 4 previously unknown species that were named after her. The first painting she produced in the Amazon, 'Cannonball Tree in Belem', is in the exhibition, together with some of her notebooks. The display allows visitors to see the vivid and delicate plants of the region, while also highlighting the importance of botanical art as a timeless scientific tool, recording every aspect of a plant to help botanists with their research. Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, until 8th August.