News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 7th April 2010


The Enchanted Palace is a series of installations by contemporary fashion designers based on the stories of the 7 princesses who once lived in Kensington Palace. Designers Vivienne Westwood, William Tempest, Stephen Jones, Boudicca, Aminaka Wilmont and Echo Morgan have created experiences in various areas of the state apartments, culminating in an opportunity of 'meeting the princesses face to face'. Highlights include Queen Victoria's bedroom, the chamber in which she awoke to learn she was queen, which features an avant-garde interpretation by William Tempest of a period dress, including 2,000 origami birds; The Room of Royal Sorrows, the bedchamber of Queen Mary II, Aminaka Wilmont's dramatisation of her travails as she tried in vain a produce an heir, with dozens of antique glass bottles known as "tear catchers", in which tears were put in times of mourning; and Vivienne Westwood's dramatic corseted Dress for a Rebellious Princess, inspired by King George IV's daughter Princess Charlotte, on show in the King's Grand Staircase, amid black veiled candle lanterns and shriveled autumn leaves. The event is an effort to create a unique multi-sensory, magical and, at times, quietly eerie experience, in the middle of the palace's £12m makeover, disguising the industrial evidence of building work that is due to be completed in 2012. Visitors are given an 'enchanted map' with which to embark on a personal tour through the hidden corners of the state apartments in search of the princesses, while actors from WildWorks theatre company provide an interactive element to the experience. Kensington Palace until June 2012.

Photographing Fashion: British Style In The 1960s shows how fashion in Britain in the 1960s ranged from demure dresses and ensembles, by now little remembered ready to wear firms such as Reldan and Nettie Vogues, to dolly bird designs by the new 1960s fashion stars, such as Mary Quant and Jean Muir. The exhibition features a selection of images from the Ernestine Carter Collection of hundreds of black and white photographic prints and original fashion drawings, commissioned by the 'grande dame' of the British newspaper fashion editors, who was Women's, and later Associate, Editor of The Sunday Times from 1955 to 1968. The importance of Ernestine Carter's fashion pages could not be underestimated in the 1960s - as far as young designers were concerned, a piece by her was a hallmark of approval. This display gives a potted history of fashion in Swinging 60s Britain, from former Bond girl Tania Mallet modelling an Empire line evening dress by Sambo for Dollyrockers in 1963, through to Celia Hammond - almost fresh off the Hippy Trail - in her Indian inspired evening dress from only five years later in 1968. Accompanying the photographs are original garments from the period, including a version of the hessian effect pinafore style mini skirt by Mary Quant seen in a photograph from 1965, and menswear by names such as Mr Fish, plus fashions and accessories incorporating the use of new materials and styles, such as oversized sunglasses and paper dresses. Fashion Museum, Assembly Rooms, Bath, until December.

Michelangelo's Dream provides an opportunity to see Michelangelo's masterpiece 'The Dream (Il Sogno)', which has been described as one of the finest of all Renaissance drawings. It was executed when Michelangelo was at the height of his career, and exemplifies his unrivalled skill as a draughtsman, and his extraordinary powers of invention. The exhibition examines this celebrated work in the context of an exceptional group of closely related drawings by Michelangelo, as well as previously unexhibited original letters and poems by the artist, together with other works by his contemporaries. Michelangelo's 'presentation drawings' are a group of highly refined compositions, which the artist gave to his closest friends. These beautiful and complex works transformed drawing into an independent art form, and are amongst Michelangelo's finest creations in any medium. 'The Dream' is likely to have been part of the group of drawings that Michelangelo gave to a young Roman nobleman called Tommaso de'Cavalieri during the first years of their close friendship. This group forms the heart of the exhibition, and includes 'The Punishment of Tityus', 'The Fall of Phaeton', 'A Bacchanal of Children' and 'The Rape of Ganymede', which have not been seen together for over 20 years. The exhibition contains the earliest surviving letter from Michelangelo to Cavalieri, dated 1 January 1533, in which the artist expresses his delight that Cavalieri had agreed to accept the gift of some drawings, which were primarily intended to teach him how to draw. A further highlight is a group of drawings by Michelangelo of Christ's resurrection, which concentrate on the heroic nude figure of the reborn Christ, leaping free of the tomb and the bondage of life on earth, including 'Risen Christ', widely celebrated as one of the most magnificent and potent figures in Michelangelo's art. Courtauld Gallery, London, until 19th May.


Victoria & Albert: Art & Love examines the unique partnership of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and their shared enthusiasm for art. The exhibition focuses on the period of Victoria's marriage to Prince Albert, from the time of their engagement in 1839 to the Prince's death in 1861, and challenges the popular image of Queen Victoria - the melancholy widow of 40 years. Through 402 works, including paintings, drawings, photographs, musical scores, jewellery and sculpture, Victoria emerges as a romantic and open minded young woman. For Victoria and Albert, art was an important part of everyday life, and a way they expressed their love for each other. Around a third of the objects in the exhibition were exchanged as gifts between the couple to mark special occasions. They range from the simple and sentimental, such as a set of jewellery in the form of orange blossom, to examples of early Italian painting, including Bernardo Daddi's 'The Marriage of the Virgin', and Perugino's 'Saint Jerome in Penitence', both given by the Queen to the Prince for his birthday. Personal items include never before seen drawings from Victoria's sketchbook, including a self portrait and sketches of her children, and the manuscript of a song, annotated by Victoria: 'Composed by dear Albert at Windsor Castle & sent to me by him Jan. 5. 1840. Among the highlights are a 'secret' portrait of the Queen and an 8sqm painting of the couple and their first 5 children by Franz Xaver Winterhalter; Victoria's elaborate silk costume for the Stuart ball in 1851, designed by Eugene Lami; a throne and footstool, carved from ivory, a gift from the Maharaja of Travancore; a gilt table fountain inspired by the Moorish architecture of the Alhambra palace, with horses modeled on Arabs from the royal stable; and an Erard grand piano, with a gilded case painted with monkeys playing trumpets, tambourines and violins. The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, until 31st October.

John Tunnard: Inner Space To Outer Space is the first major exhibition for 30 years of one of the most accomplished, yet frequently overlooked British painters of his generation. Nature-loving, star-gazing, bearded jazz extraordinaire John Tunnard's paintings were inspired by his many and varied interests, and drew on both surrealist fantasy worlds and developments in science and engineering. Tunnard found a way to create a stippled surface that looks textured, seemingly grainy to the touch, but which was entirely flat, seen to greatest effect in 'Fulcrum' and 'Man, Woman and Iron'. Although Tunnard began painting romantic landscapes the 1930s, it was when he moved into abstracts that he found his voice, with works perfectly capturing the post war 'Festival of Britain' 1950s style. He had a strong feel for pattern, which might be explained by his earlier career as a textile designer. The exhibition is grouped into the themes of Tunnards interests: Music and Surrealism, Nature and Landscape, and Science and Space Travel. Highlights include 'Plein Air Abstraction', 'Vane', 'Holiday' from the School Prints series, 'The Return', 'Self Portrait' and 'Messenger'. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 6th June.

Gargoyles And Shadows: Gothic Architecture And 19th Century Photography examines the relationship that developed between photography and architectural practice in the 19th century. The exhibition explores how photography facilitated the re-discovery of an idealised past, as seen in the popularity of Picturesque views and Gothic Revival architecture. The display also addresses the role played by photography in documenting architectural heritage, by John Ruskin amongst others, in securing a record for buildings facing demolition, and its use as a tool for preserving the national architectural heritage. Photographs were also a significant source of inspiration to architects, not least in the Gothic Revival, where architects like Pugin drew upon Gothic design, and its perceived spirituality and nationalism, in the designing of buildings such as the Palace of Westminster. The exhibition includes a range of photographs dating from the 1850s to around 1915, by the leading British, French and Italian photographers of the day. The photographs are all of Gothic or Gothic revival buildings, in Britain and Europe. Alongside them are a selection of drawings, sketch books, watercolours and prints. Victoria & Albert Museum until 16th May.

Horace Walpole And Strawberry Hill examines the collection and interiors of Britain's finest example of Georgian Gothic Revival architecture. The exhibition brings together more than 250 works owned by Horace Walpole in his house Strawberry Hill, not seen together since 1842, when they were auctioned by his heir. It shows the breadth and significance of Walpole's collections, ranging from paintings by Joshua Reynolds and Van Dyck, to his unrivalled collection of portrait miniatures, from a pair of gloves that Walpole believed belonged to King James I to an Aztec mirror used by the Elizabethan magician and astrologer Dr Dee. Walpole was one of the most important English collectors of the 18th century, and one of the best known commentators on the social, political and cultural life of his time. He built Strawberry Hill as a summer villa beside the Thames at Twickenham between 1747 and 1790, and designed the interiors together with architects including Robert Adam. The house provided the setting for his collection encompassing paintings, ceramics, glass, silverware, sculpture, furniture, portrait miniatures, arms and armour, historical relics, and rare books and manuscripts. The exhibition recreates several rooms from the house in detail, including the 'Holbein Chamber', a bedchamber designed by Walpole to evoke the court of Henry VIII, with drawings by Holbein on display alongside copies by George Vertue of the Holbein portrait drawings in the Royal Collection; and 'The Armoury', a Gothic interior filled with an array of arms, such as the golden parade armour believed to have been made for King Francis I of France. Other highlights include ceramics and glassware, including Renaissance maiolica, porcelain by Sevres and creamware by Wedgwood. Victoria & Albert Museum until 4th July.

Turner To Samuel Palmer: British Watercolours 1800 - 1850 considers the high point of the watercolour medium in the first half of the 19th century, when the technical, intellectual and social conditions made it a major art form. Principal figures, such as JMW Turner, John Sell Cotman and Peter de Wint, are shown alongside lesser known names who are rarely exhibited, like John Glover and George Campion. While landscape forms an ongoing theme, this display also shows the watercolour medium being adopted for portraiture and figuration. The age of Victorian travellers is represented, and a section brings together artists who pursued an intense visionary approach towards nature, including William Blake and Samuel Palmer. Birmingham Art Gallery until 2nd May.

Chopin: The Romantic Refugee examines the ways in which Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin's music displays his Polish patriotism, in the context of the political sympathies for Poland that were current in France and England during his lifetime. Born 200 years ago, Chopin was a child prodigy whose brilliance as a pianist quickly spread beyond his native Poland, and a tour of Europe cemented his reputation as a composer of startlingly original piano music. Poland was variously partitioned between Russia, Prussia and Austria in the late 18th century, and in 1831 the Kingdom of Poland, established at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, fell under Russian rule. Chopin's nationalist sympathies prevented him from returning to Warsaw after his tour of Europe, and he spent the rest of his life in exile, mainly in Paris, where he associated with the leading writers, artists and composers. The exhibition comprises original manuscripts of several of his most famous compositions, portraits, letters and historic documents. Among the highlights are 6 original music manuscripts in Chopin's hand, including the A major Polonaise, and his late masterpiece, the Barcarolle; a signed copy of Adam Mickiewicz's national epic Ksiegi narodu polskiego; 2 portraits of Chopin, on show in public for the first time; Chopin's death mask, and a plaster cast of his left hand; and rare historic recordings, including the Funeral march played in 1903 by Raoul Pugno, who had studied with Chopin's pupil Georges Mathias, and recordings of Chopin's songs by the Polish soprano Marcella Sembrich. British Library until 16th May.


The Real Van Gogh: The Artist And His Letters for the first time, views the artist's paintings and drawings from the perspective of his correspondence. Over 35 of van Gogh's original letters, rarely exhibited to the public due to their fragility, are on display, together with around 65 paintings and 30 drawings, which express the principal themes to be found within the correspondence. Thus the exhibition offers a unique opportunity to gain an insight into the complex mind of Vincent van Gogh. During his ten year artistic career, his output was prodigious: over 800 paintings and 1,200 drawings. Van Gogh was a compulsive and eloquent correspondent. The majority of his letters were written to his brother Theo, an art dealer who supported him throughout his artistic career, and other artists, notably Anton van Rappard, Emile Bernard and Paul Gauguin. The originality of his ideas about art, nature and literature, combined with his deep understanding of these subjects, make van Gogh's letters much more than a personal expression of feelings: they attain the status of literature. Together the letters create a 'self-portrait', and reveal the ways in which he defined himself as an artist and as a human being. The letter sketches that van Gogh frequently used to show a work in progress or a completed work are a fascinating part of the correspondence, and many are shown alongside the paintings or drawings on which they are based. Highlights include 'Self-portrait as an Artist', 'The Yellow House', 'Still-life: with a Plate of Onions', 'Van Gogh's Chair', 'Gauguin's Chair', 'Landscape Near Montmajour With a Train', 'Wheat Fields After the Rain' and 'Entrance to the Public Gardens in Arles'. Royal Academy of Arts until 18th April.

On The Move: Visualising Action explores the representation and analysis of movement in the visual arts and sciences, drawing on a wide range of material in many different media, to provide an in-depth examination. A central element of the show is the pioneering photographic work of Eadweard Muybridge and Etienne-Jules Marey, with an extensive selection of Muybridge's work, including lantern slides, rare zoopraxiscope disks, and photographic plates. Muybridge made ground-breaking studies of animal and human locomotion investigating the theory of 'unsupported transit' (that is, whether or not all four of a horse's hooves are off the ground at any one moment during the gallop). Where Muybridge represented the successive stages of motion in individual frames, Marey captured them on a single photographic plate, creating overlapping, 'chronophotographic' images that revealed the movement of figures through space and time in wave-like trails. Following Marey's photographic study of the flight of birds, which had until then defeated technical ingenuity, plaster models were created, which were subsequently cast in bronze, one of which is included in the exhibition. Among the other photographers and artists whose work is included are Thomas Eakins, Gjon Mili, Harold Edgerton and Jonathan Shaw, who have in different but complementary ways explored the manner in which the camera is able to capture events too rapid to be perceived by the human eye. Optical toys such as the phenakistoscope, praxinoscope and zoetrope are also on display, both as vintage examples, and working, modern day replicas for visitors to use. Estorick Collection, 39A Canonbury Square, London N1, until 18th April.

Amber: Treasures From Poland offers a unique opportunity to see some fascinating and beautiful artefacts from the Polish national collection of works in amber. This exhibition introduces amber from prehistory to natural history, looking at how people related to amber from the Stone Age onwards, and at the techniques and skill of the craftsmen who created some of the finest examples of amber art ever seen. From the earliest times, the southern shores of the Baltic Sea have been associated with the gathering, trading and working of amber. It is a natural substance found in many varieties of colours and forms, which has been used by man since the ice sheets retreated 10,000 years ago. Amber is used around the world for medical or spiritual wellbeing, for adornment or decoration, and for scientific reasons. Most exhibits in this show are from Malbork Castle, which houses the national collection of Baltic amber artefacts, comprising some 2,000 items. Also included are works from the Gdansk Amber Museum, as well as a collection of insects trapped in amber and some historical amber artefacts from the resident collection. Highlights include the famous Gierùowska lizard, the recently discovered piece of amber containing an almost complete lizard; the 17th century Michael Redlin Casket, constructed of oval plates with eglomise'e technique engravings of ocean scenes; a 17th century home altar, with a relief illustrating the Last Supper; and the 18th century Poniatowski cabinet, containing engraved scenes and inscriptions relating to the most significant events from the life of Stanislaw August. Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow, until 17th April.