News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 6th August 2008


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, the special display features the spectacle of the Palace's Ballroom set up for a State Banquet, held in honour of a visiting Head of State. These are the occasions when the Queen and other members of the Royal Family entertain around 160 guests on the first evening of a State Visit. The horseshoe shaped table is dressed with a dazzling display of silver-gilt from the magnificent Grand Service, and adorned with flower arrangements and candelabra. Lavish buffet arrangements of jeweled cups, ivory tankards, tureens, dishes and fine English and Continental porcelain flank the table. Film footage shows the behind the scenes work of Royal Household staff, including chefs, footmen, pages, florists and housemaids, who ensure the highest standards of presentation and delivery. 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 28th September.

Arms And Armour From The Movies: The Wonderful World Of WETA is a unique display celebrating the skill and craftsmanship of the multi-award winning WETA Workshop. The studio in Wellington, New Zealand created the arms and armour for the epic films The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, Hellboy, The Last Samurai and King Kong. Among over 230 iconic pieces on display are the weapons of Gandalf, Frodo, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, and the King of the Dead's helmet from The Lord Of The Rings; Peter's armour, Susan's bow, quiver and arrows, and the White Witch's dagger and wand from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe; a selection from the 1,700 weapons made for The Last Samurai; the plane mounted Lewis machine gun that dispatched King Kong; and Hellboy's revolver 'The Samaritan'. The pieces have been specially selected to show the level of craftsmanship that has gone into their creation, and the inspirations which led to their design. Many of the weapons and armour are based on authentic medieval European and Eastern designs, and were made using the original techniques. The exhibition provides an opportunity examine these pieces close up, which previously have only been seen fleetingly in action scenes, and showcases both the practical considerations and the attention to detail that went into their making. Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, until 16th November.

Wyndham Lewis Portraits is the first exhibition to focus on the portraits of Percy Wyndham Lewis, one of the most important modernist writer, commentator and portraitist of the first half of the 20th century, and founder of the Vorticist movement. It is a unique visual record of some of the leading cultural figures of the period, many of whom were Wyndham Lewis's personal friends. The exhibition comprises 58 portraits, ranging from delicate drawings to large oil paintings. Among the highlights are his now iconic renderings of his fellow 'Men of 1914', credited with revolutionising 20th century literature, the writers Ezra Pound, T S Eliot and James Joyce. Broadly chronological, it begins by showing how Wyndham Lewis portrayed himself in a series of multiple identities, and then includes from the 1920s and 1930s such figures as Edith Sitwell, Stephen Spender, Virginia Woolf, Rebecca West and G K Chesterton, as well as his wife Froanna, portrayed in five of his most beautiful paintings and drawings. The exhibition goes on to chart the high point of Wyndham Lewis's career as a portraitist, culminating in his 1938 painting of T S Eliot, and features his rarely seen late portraits. As well as the pictures, there are displays of key texts, including the hugely influential Vorticist journal Blast, which he edited from 1914 to 1915, and The Apes of God, a novel satirising the art world of London in the 1920s, in which several of the characters are based on sitters in this exhibition. National Portrait Gallery until 19th October.


Skeletons: London's Buried Bones features 26 examples from a collection of 17,000 skeletons that have been archived and examined at the Museum of London's Centre for Human Bioarchaeology over the last 30 years. The skeletons reflect London's rich past and varied social geography, from the affluent district of Chelsea to the Cross Bones cemetery in Southwark, believed to have been established originally as a graveyard for prostitutes. Each has its own tale to tell, and collectively they uncover 2,000 years of history, increasing our understanding of how Londoners once lived, and providing insights into the health, diet, diseases and lifestyle of the deceased. The skeletons include: a 22 week old foetus, whose remains were found with its mother, which is the youngest ever individual discovered on a British archaeological site; Chelsea's resident butcher and beadle, William Wood, who had a condition linked to having a diet high in rich foods and died at the age of 84 in 1842; a young female discovered at the Royal Mint, whose bones were stained green from copper residues; and a young woman (possibly a prostitute) found in Cross Bones burial ground in south east London with traces of syphilis in her bones. Causes of death revealed range from 'decay of nature' (old age) through now almost eradicated diseases, such as smallpox and rickets, and those still current, such as prostate cancer, to the CSI favourite 'blunt force trauma'. Each of the 26 skeletons is accompanied by a recent image taken by photographer Thomas Adank of the burial site where they were discovered. The Wellcome Collection, London until 28th September.

The Art Of Italy In The Royal Collection: Renaissance And Baroque brings together paintings and drawings, most of them masterpieces, by 20 artists, from royal palaces and residences across Britain. The exhibition celebrates the artistic legacy of Charles I and Charles II, whose taste so profoundly influenced the character of the Royal Collection. Described by the painter Peter Paul Rubens as 'the greatest amateur of paintings among the princes of the world', Charles I built up a collection of Italian masters to rival that of any European court of the period. Although the collection was sold during the Commonwealth, a significant number of paintings were reclaimed or bought back by Charles II after the Restoration. Research for this exhibition has resulted in a number of important re-attributions. Among these, two paintings previously thought to be versions of lost works by Caravaggio, 'The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew' and 'A Boy Peeling Fruit', are now generally recognised by experts as the original works. Among the other highlights are Bronzino's 'Portrait of a Lady in Green', Tintoretto's 'Esther Before Ahasuerus' and 'The Muses', Bellini's 'Portrait of a Young Man', Fetti's 'David with the Head of Goliath', Romano's 'Portrait of Margherita Palaeologa', Garofalo's 'Holy Family', and Lotto's 'Portrait of Andrea Odoni'. The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh until 24th October.

Beano And Dandy Birthday Bash! celebrates the 70th birthday of The Beano comic, together with The Dandy, which launched just eight months earlier, on 4th December 1937. These two comics have been responsible for entertaining generations of British children, with their iconic characters such as Korky the Cat, Beryl the Peril, Desperate Dan, Keyhole Kate and Lord Snooty and his Pals. In the 1950s the British comic entered one of its most dynamic periods, and at D C Thomson artists such as David Law, Leo Baxendale and Ken Reid were producing brilliant, ingenious drawings which inspired many future cartoonists and animators. The decade saw the introduction of many classic characters, some of whom are still with us today, such as Dennis the Menace, the Bash Street Kids, Minnie the Minx and Roger the Dodger. This exhibition presents original comic artwork from eight decades, and shows how the comics and their characters have developed over time. The cast of characters includes Ball Boy, Bully Beef and Chips, Brassneck, The Three Bears, Les Pretend and Winker Watson, as well as feisty girl characters such as Pansy Potter - The Strongman's Daughter, and more recently, Ivy the Terrible. Some things have changed - the comics' graphic style has evolved to suit modern tastes - but children still love the mischief and mayhem created every week in The Beano and The Dandy. The Cartoon Museum, London WC1, until 2nd November.

Hadrian: Empire And Conflict looks beyond the established image of the Emperor of Rome from 117 to 138 AD, best known for his interest in architecture, his passion for Greece and Greek culture, and the eponymous wall he built between England and Scotland. The exhibition offers new perspectives on his life and legacy, exploring the sharp contradictions of his personality, and his role as a ruthless military commander. Set against the backdrop of the events of Hadrian's long reign, it explores his immense legacy, incorporating recent scholarship and the latest archaeological discoveries from Tivoli, his spectacular villa near Rome, which he filled with exquisite works of art from all over the empire. Based upon important material seen together for the first time, the exhibition examines Hadrian's background as a member of the economically powerful and ascendant Spanish elite, his relationship with his lover Antinous, his military campaigns, the iconic architecture of his time, his extensive travels, and his impact and influence on the modern world. It features over 180 objects, including sculpture, bronzes, silverware, letters and manuscripts, mummy portraits, pottery, knives and tools, jewellery and architectural fragments and models of his grand vision, with highlights being the iconic bronze head of Hadrian and the Vindolanda tablets. British Museum until 26th October.

Blaschkas' Sculptures From The Sea is an opportunity to see some remarkable Victorian glass models of creatures from the sea for the first time in decades, after years of painstaking restoration. The 49 delicate models of squid, sea anemones, jellyfish, corals and other marine invertebrates were made by the Blaschka family of glassmakers of Dresden in Germany, from 1863 onwards. Each glass model is a unique blend of art, science and craftsmanship, with striking colours and spectacular forms. They were made in a variety of ways, with many formed over wire skeletons or armatures, and the glass fused together or glued. These spectacular creations still amaze scientists with their accuracy, yet Leopold Blaschka and his son Rudolf never passed on the exact details of their specialist techniques. Originally created to be used as teaching aids, some models look more lifelike than real specimens in preservation fluid in jars. The Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum, Tring until 30th September.

Fashion In The Mirror; Self-Reflection In Fashion Photography offers a look behind the scenes of fashion photography from the 1950s to the present day, showing how snappers picturing the latest trends often turned the camera at least partly upon themselves. Finding both comedy and poetry in the set-up of the studio, the photographers reveal the processes and paraphernalia of the fashion shoot. They become mirrored in their own work and, as viewpoints are inverted and gazes misdirected, cameras stare back out at the viewer from the edge of the frame, or in the foreground of the picture. Revealing the fashion industry's secrets and undermining its glamorous illusions, the photographers in this exhibition create work that exposes this world from within. The exhibition features work by 21 internationally renowned photographers, including Richard Avedon, Terence Donovan, Steven Klein, William Klein, Nick Knight, Helmut Newton, Norman Parkinson, Harri Peccinotti, Irving Penn, John Rawlings, Bob Richardson, Melvin Sokolsky, Juergen Teller, Mario Testino, Jonathan de Villiers and Tim Walker. As well as the photographers often including themselves in the photographs, the addition of assistants, stylists and photographic equipment within the images draws attention to the cliche of the 'fashion entourage' and queries the myth of the slick fashion image. The Photographers' Gallery, London, until 14th September.


British Surrealism & Other Realities: The Sherwin Collection presents key works from the collection of Dr Jeffrey Sherwin, arguably the finest collection of British Surrealism in existence, comprising some 300 items assembled over 20 years, which has until now has remained hidden in his Leeds home. The exhibition includes works by Anthony Earnshaw, Roland Penrose, Henry Moore and Emmy Bridgwater. These are supplemented with a set of original manuscripts, photographs, posters, rare Surrealist volumes and curiosities. In addition, the Surrealist works are contextualised with a broader collection of modern art from Gaudier-Brzeska to Damien Hirst. Among the highlights are works by John Banting, the Bloomsbury Group artist who also designed for the stage; the scandalous paintings, constructions and documents created by Conroy Maddox, from an atheist conviction, including 'Denouement'; and Eileen Agar's 'The Angel of Mercy', a simple plaster head with incredible attitude, together with abstract forms in watercolour like war paint. MIMA (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art), Middlesborough, until 17th August.

Amazing Butterflies explores the life cycle of some of the world's most beautiful creatures in a giant maze, tropical butterfly house, and butterfly garden. The interactive maze takes visitors on a journey from egg to caterpillar, and chrysalis to butterfly, shrinking them to the size of a caterpillar, so that they can experience what it is like to have to navigate past the perils of predatory spiders and sticky plant traps. Those that survive emerge from a chrysalis, and take flight on a zip slide aerial runway. In the butterfly house there is a hatchery, where butterflies constantly emerge from their pupa, and join the hundreds of butterflies and moths from North and 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. Finally, outside, there is a garden planted with the flowers that are best for attracting butterflies that are native to Britain, together with seasonal butterfly visitors. 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 17th 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, photographs, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from around 10,000 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 Humphrey Ocean, Tony Cragg and Gordon Benson, with the theme Man Made. Highlights include a gallery curated for shock and awe by no longer so enfant but ever more terrible Tracey Emin, featuring works by Mat Collishaw, Louise Bourgeois, Gary Hume, Elke Krystufek, Michael Fullerton, Juergen Teller, Damien Hurst, Rebecca Warren, Sigalit Landau and Rachel Kneebone; and 'Promenade', a monumental sculpture by Anthony Caro in the courtyard. Other artists featured include Gavin Turk, Georg Baselitz, Anselm Keifer, Anish Kapoor, Jeff Koons and Ron Arad, along with architects Nicholas Grimshaw, Renzo Piano, Bernard Tschumi, David Chipperfield and Zaha Hadid. There is also a memorial gallery dedicated to showing the works of RB Kitaj, who died last year, featuring some of his greatest paintings and works on paper alongside more recent pieces. The Royal Academy of Arts until 17th August.