News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 7th January 2009


G F Watts: Victorian Visionary - Highlights From The Watts Gallery Collection is a retrospective exhibition of one of Britain's greatest and most original artists, made possible by the closure of Watts Gallery in Surrey for a restoration and development project. The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to examine the output of the artist whose life spanned the Victorian age, but whose art prefigures so many of the concerns of the 20th century. It comprises over 80 paintings, drawings and sculptures, and explores all facets of Watts's artistic output, from allegorical work to portraits, landscapes and engagement with social issues. Highlights include 'Lady Holland'; 'Found Drowned' and 'Irish Famine', radical social paintings of the late 1840s; the grand allegorical paintings 'Progress' and 'Hope' - a bent and vulnerable figure seated on a globe playing a lyre with all but one string broken, a powerful icon of Victorian faith and doubt; and one of his last works, 'The Sower of the Systems', hinting at the abstraction of modern painting that would follow. Guildhall Art Gallery, London, until 26th April.

G F Watts: Parables In Paint explores the religious and spiritual dimension of Watts's art, and the way that this underpins his sense of social responsibility. The exhibition consists of 30 oil paintings and drawings, also from the collection of the Watts Gallery. In addition, the Cathedral is showing 'Time, Death and Judgement' and 'Peace and Goodwill', together in the nave for the first time in decades.St Paul's Cathedral until 30th July.

I Turned It Into A Palace: Sir Sydney Cockerell And The Fitzwilliam Museum shows how the museum was transformed between 1908 and 1937, under the directorship of Sydney Cockerell, by bringing together some of his most famous acquisitions. Cockerell ended the previously indiscriminate approach to style, quality and period in the choice of acquisitions, and revolutionised the display of art in Britain. Among the items in this treasure trove are Titian's 'Tarquin and Lucretia'; some of the finest ancient Greek vases in Britain; works by William Blake and Samuel Palmer; William Morris's Kelmscott Press books, Keats's autograph manuscript of Ode to a Nightingale; Pre-Raphaelite works, including Dante Gabriel Rosetti's unfinished 'Joan of Arc' found by his deathbed; prints by Durer; drawings by Botticelli, Ruebens and Turner; extracts from the Egyptian papyrus of the Book of the Dead of Ramose; and original scores by Mozart and Scarlattil. The exhibition also marks the centenary of the Friends Society, the first of its kind in Britain, which Cockerell founded to support the museum. The Macclesfield Psalter, the 14th century illuminated manuscript, recent acquired following a successful fundraising campaign, is also on display. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, until 17th March.

From Kabul To Kandahar 1833-1933 reveals the unique and largely undocumented history of Afghanistan, and the British presence there, through rare documentary materials. The exhibition covers the period of the three Anglo-Afghan wars, putting this troubled country's current events in a historical context. Afghanistan is brought to life by the photographs, prints and journals of three men - Ernest Thornton, John Alfred Gray and James Atkinson - who spent time in Afghanistan, as either military personnel or within the expat community, together with photographs and diaries of 19th century British travellers. All together these tell how repeated attempts to invade this fiercely independent and mountainous region have failed, and describe the authors impressions of the Islamic land. Drawings, maps, photographs and lithographs show ancient religious sites, ornamental gardens, everyday market scenes, women, royalty and warriors, portraying an incredibly rich and diverse landscape, culture and people. Early photographs of Kandahar and Kabul from the 1880s show the ravages of war on Afghanistan's architectural monuments. These include the famous 'Bamiyan buddhas', built in the 6th century, and destroyed by the Taliban in 2001, which are now the focus of an international restoration campaign. Royal Geographical Society, London, until 26th February.


Darwin is a celebration of the man and his revolutionary theory that changed that changed man's understanding of the world and his place within it. The exhibition retraces Darwin's life changing journey as a young man aboard the HMS Beagle on its 5 year voyage around the world. It contains the clues that helped him develop the idea of evolution by natural selection through notebooks, artefacts, rare personal belongings, and the fossils and zoological specimens he collected on his travels. The objects on display, coupled with illuminating text and films, reveal the patterns Darwin observed among animals that provided the evidence for the theory of evolution by natural selection, and led to the publication of On The Origin Of Species. These include live green iguanas and horned frogs from South America, together with mounted specimens of the animals and birds he saw on his journey, such as sloths, rheas, armadillos and mockingbirds. There is also a reconstruction of Darwin's study at Down House, where he refined his theory, which includes an original handwritten page from On The Origin Of Species, together with family photographs and love letters, and a box filled with shells and family keepsakes, which show a different side to the scientist, as a family man, husband and father of 10 children. The exhibition concludes with an exploration of modern evolutionary biology, and the importance of evolution in understanding how infectious disease causing organisms keep changing as we attempt to control their spread. Natural History Museum until 19th April.

The Glasgow Boys: Drawings And Watercolours is a selection of works by the informal grouping of artists who were inspired by progressive French painting, and produced some of the most decorative and adventurous painting in Scotland at the end of the 19th century. The group of around 20 artists became known as the 'Glasgow Boys', whose leading figures were James Guthrie, George Henry, E A Hornel, John Lavery, Arthur Melville, James Paterson and E A Walton, treated watercolour and pastel as mediums just as noble as paint. The works on display feature drawings and watercolours that mainly belong to the second half of the artists' careers, when their early interest in rustic realism had been replaced by a commitment to decorative and aesthetic effect, and a wider range of subject matter. Highlights include James Paterson's 'Moniaive' and James Guthrie's 'Winter', both of which show a desire to experiment in an almost abstract manner with the forms and shapes found in landscape; Arthur Melville's 'A Byway in Granada', in which he achieved its strong contrast between light and dark by dropping pure pigment onto untouched areas of the wet paper; and George Henry's 'A Japanese Pottery Seller' and 'Japanese Beauty', which mark a high point in his career. Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow, until 16th May.

Magnificence Of The Tzars: Ceremonial Men's Dress Of The Russian Imperial Court 1721 - 1917 is a display of rare and lavishly decorated costumes and uniforms worn by the Tsars and court officials of Imperial Russia, most of which have never been publicly exhibited before, either in Russia or abroad. These come from the Moscow Kremlin Museums, which together with the Armoury Chamber, form Russia's oldest national treasury, and their collections include the dress of the emperor and other participants in ceremonies at court. Over 40 ensembles include the extensive silver and gold embellished wardrobe of Peter II, ranging from brocade jackets to formal nightgowns made of satin and lined with fur, and the coronation uniforms of the succeeding seven Tzars, concluding with the 5m long ermine trimmed Imperial coronation mantle of Nicholas II, together with dress uniforms of court officials, coachmen, postilions and other servants. These spectacular garments show the work of the most eminent master craftsmen of the period, giving a taste of the legendary magnificence and luxury of the Imperial Russian Court. In addition, there are hats and boots, dress weapons worn at court, an enamelled gold snuff box, a jewelled gunpowder flask, a pocket telescope, a herald's staff, insignia, jewellery, illustrated books and portraits of the Tzars. Victoria & Albert Museum until 29th March.

War And Medicine looks at the continually evolving relationship between warfare and medicine, beginning with the disasters of the Crimean War in the 1850s and continuing through to today's conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. As humankind has developed increasingly sophisticated weaponry with which to harm its enemies, medicine has had to adapt to cope with the volume and the changing nature of resulting casualties. The exhibition highlights the personal experiences of surgeons, soldiers, civilians, nurses, writers and artists, and looks at the impact of war on the 'home front' as well as on front line medicine, considering the long term implications for society of the traumas suffered and the lessons learned. Central to the exhibition is the uncomfortable and sometimes paradoxical relationship between war and medicine and the question of their influence upon each other. It embraces a wide range of subjects - from the pioneering plastic surgery techniques first developed during the First World War to treat disfiguring facial wounds, through to the recent controversies surrounding Gulf War Syndrome and the diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The display of over 200 exhibits - objects, artefacts, and recordings, as well as interpretative material, film and artworks - looks at some of the extraordinary difficulties faced by doctors, surgeons, administrators, nurses and their patients in war time. It also considers what has been learned from such extreme circumstances and the wider implications for society and public health in general. Wellcome Collection, London until 15th February.

Titanic Honour And Glory features many rare and previously unseen artefacts from both passengers and crew who travelled on the fateful maiden voyage of the White Star liner in April 1912. The exhibition brings to life some of their stories and the sights that they encountered, contrasting the ultimate luxury planned for their time on board the new ship, and the horror of what they encountered. It has been put together from the collection of Sean Szmalc and Margot Corson, who have collected artefacts from R.M.S Titanic for the past 20 years. Among the items featured are china dinner plates and a silver sugar dish from the First Class dining room; a Steiff bear that belonged to William Moyes, senior sixth engineer, as a good luck charm; a pocket watch that stopped as it entered the freezing water at 2.28am 96 years ago; and a solid silver cup, presented to the Captain, Edward John Smith, marking 25 years service to the White Star Line, together with plans, brochures, photographs and drawings of its cabins and public rooms. The exhibition also includes rare materials and ephemera from the Titanic's often forgotten sister ships, Olympic and Britannic, including oak paneling, china, glassware, cutlery and silverware. Accompanying the genuine artefacts are props and costumes used in the film Titanic, including the 'Heart of the Ocean' necklace. Milestones Museum, Churchill Way West, Basingstoke, Hampshire, until 25th February.

The Art Of The Poster: A Century Of Design is a retrospective celebrating the outstanding poster design that has been a constant part of London's public transport network. The show explores not only the aesthetics of the posters, but their cultural references, and their ability to change the way people thought about the underground. Featuring leading artists of their day, and many previously unseen artworks, the exhibition explores how the first graphic poster commission for London Underground in 1908 led to the company becoming a pioneering patron of poster art, a legacy that continues today. Taking a chronological and thematic approach, the display includes over 60 original artworks, supported by photographs, letters, concept sketches and artist's materials. The artists and designers whose work is featured include John Hassall, Edward Bawden, Dora Batty, Edward McKnight Kauffer, John Nash, Edward Wadsworth, William Roberts, Abram Games, Howard Hodgkin and Alan Fletcher. The range of styles in their work reflects the changes of artistic fashion through the century. The exhibition reveals stories behind some of the works on display, such as why a painting by John Nash was never published; how John Bellany's misunderstood Chinatown has been reinterpreted by today's Chinese community; and why a controversial poster by Edward Wadsworth in the 1930s was withdrawn from public display. Alongside the original artworks there are reprints of 20 historic posters. London Transport Museum until 31st March.


Le Corbusier - The Art Of Architecture is an assessment of the single most influential (and controversial) architect of the 20th century. Across the world his revolutionary designs were instrumental in the development of modern architecture. From high rise towers to furniture design, his vision of functionalism - using modern materials and engineering techniques - provided radical yet practical solutions to modern urban living, which still evoke strong views today. Featuring original architectural models, vintage prints, original furniture, unique drawings and paintings, specially built models, reconstructions of historical interiors, photographs, digital animations and documentary films, the exhibition takes an in depth look at the projects, interiors and art of Le Corbusier - and also reveals the man behind the myth. It gives a comprehensive introduction to Le Corbusier's work and influences, presenting his most important architectural projects, furniture and interior designs, paintings, textiles, drawings and books. Grand projects include the Palais des Nations, Geneva, the Soviet Palace competition project, Unite d'Habitation in Marseilles, the chapel at Ronchamp, the Philips Pavilion in Brussels and the Capitol buildings at Chandigarh. Previously unpublished material includes original film footage by Le Corbusier, the large scale mural painting from his own office, and a reconstruction of his monumental architectural model 'Ville Contemporaine', his utopian masterplan for Paris. The Crypt, Metropolitan Cathedral, Mount Pleasant, Liverpool, until 18th January.

Andy Warhol: Other Voices, Other Rooms attempts to shed new light on the artist who made such a big impression on popular culture and consciousness in the second half of the 20th century, through a display of many of his lesser-known works. The exhibition presents Warhol's films, screen-tests, videos and television programmes, which combined with archive material, seminal paintings and installations, illuminates his creative process. It comprises three installations: Cosmos, an overview of the various media and techniques with which Warhol worked; Filmscape, in which 19 of Warhol's most famous films are showcased; and TV-Scape, with all of Warhol's television programmes screened synchronously. Highlights include iconic prints such as Marilyn Monroe, Campbell Soup Tins and Electric Chair; films such as Horse, Chelsea Girls and Mario Banana (No. 1); screen tests of writers, musicians and artists such as Allen Ginsberg, Marcel Duchamp and Salvador Dali; Factory Diaries, video diaries showing the inner workings of the Factory, capturing regulars and celebrity visitors; all 42 episodes of his cable television series Fashion, Andy Warhol's TV and Andy Warhol's Fifteen Minutes, in which he appeared with celebrity friends; Silver Clouds, a room of Warhol's helium filled pillow shaped metallic reflecting balloons; and the entire contents of Time Capsule 92, a treasure trove of ephemera, including letters, invitations, receipts, newspaper cuttings and photographs. Hayward Gallery until 18th January.

Renaissance Faces: Van Eyck To Titian explores the dramatic rise of portraiture in the Renaissance, through the masters of northern and southern Europe. The exhibition provides a rare opportunity to view Renaissance portraiture in depth, comprising over 70 paintings, alongside important sculptures, drawings and medals, including masterpieces by among others, Raphael, Titian, Botticelli, Van Eyck, Holbein, Durer, Lotto, Pontormo and Bellini. In the 15th and 16th centuries, portraits played a vital role in every aspect of human life: childhood, politics, friendship, courtship, marriage, old age and death. This exhibition provides fresh insights into fundamental issues of likeness, memory and identity, while revealing a remarkable community of Renaissance personalities, from princes, envoys and merchants to clergymen, tradesmen and artists. Among the highlights are Holbein's 'The Ambassadors' and 'A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling', Titian's warrior portrait of the young Philip II, Anthonis Mor's 'The Court Jester Pejeron' and 'Portrait of Philip II in Armour', Durer's 'Self Portrait', Palma Vecchio's 'Portrait of a Young Woman', Tullio Lombardo's marble relief 'A Young Couple as Bacchus and Ariadne', Arcimboldo's 'Emperor Rudolph II', and Guido Mazzoni's painted bust 'Laughing Boy'. The exhibition underlines the degree of cross-cultural exchange active in Europe at this time, with Van Eyck, Titian and Memling in demand from north to south, so that the influence of their work carried far beyond the courts of their patrons. National Gallery until 18th January.