Private View held by Richard Andrews
Comics Unmasked: Art And Anarchy In The UK is the largest exhibition of mainstream and underground comics, ever staged in Britain, showcasing works that uncompromisingly address politics, gender, violence, sexuality and altered states. From the 1825 Glasgow Looking Glass, thought to be the first ever comic, to Judge Dredd's helmet from the recent film adaptation of the 2000AD Judge Dredd series, it traces a long and tumultuous history of the British comic book. With over 200 exhibits, the display explores the full anarchic range of the medium with works that challenge categorisation, preconceptions and the status quo, alongside original scripts preparatory sketches and final artwork that demystify the creative process, from such names as Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Dave Gibbons, China Mieville and Mark Millar. The exhibition looks at intriguing historical figures, from 19th century occultist, magician and writer Aleister Crowley and his original tarot card painting of 'The Universe', to H P Lovecraft to Punch and Judy. Highlights also include an example of a medieval 'comic' from 1470, 'Apocalypse'; a ventriloquist dummy of Ally Sloper, one of the earliest comic strip characters; 1970's underground comics tried at court for obscenity, such as 'Oz', which is accompanied by a previously unheard recording of the Oz trial itself; 21st century original artwork and manuscripts of 'Kick-Ass', 'Sandman' and 'Batman and Robin'; and Keaton Henson's 2012 doll's house installation, 'Gloaming'. At a time when digital comics have never been more popular, the exhibition has worked with webcomic pioneer Daniel Merlin Goodbrey and digital graphic novel company Sequential to display digital comics and graphic novels, reflecting the culture shift in the industry. British Library until 19th August.
Bellini To Boudin - Five Centuries Of Painting comprises some 50 works across a wide range of periods, styles and techniques by some of the most remarkable artists from the 15th to 20th centuries. Well known works include Bellini's 'Virgin and Child'; a selection of works by Degas, including the unfinished 'Woman at her Toilette'; Manet's 'A Cafe on the Place de Theatre-Francais'; the 1632 Rembrandt Self-portrait, Lucas Cranach the Elder's 'Judith with the Head of Holofernes'; 'The Beach at Trouville, the Empress Eugenie' by Boudin; Pissaro's 'The Market Stall'; Gaughan's 'Breton Girl'; Renoir's 'Lady with Auburn Hair; and Cezanne's 'Chateau du Medan'. Less familiar works include Whistler's 'Nocturne: Grey and Gold Westminster Bridge'; 'Portrait of a Gentleman' from the studio of Frans Hals; Manet's 'The Ham'; 'The Dog' by Jean Baptiste Oudry; and Sir John Lavery's portrait of Mary Burrell on her 21st birthday. The Burrell Collection, Glasgow, until 26th March.
The Glorious Georges celebrates the 300th anniversary of the Hanoverian accession to the British throne. The Georges presided over a remarkable era of British history which saw the emergence of many institutions and habits that we regard as quintessentially British today. The Hanoverians surrounded themselves with courtiers - elegant, but decadent and riven with intrigue and scandal - who captured society's imagination and turned the Georgian monarchs and their courtiers into celebrities. A re-presentation of the Queen's State Apartments explores who the Hanoverians were, how they came to rule Britain and how their extraordinary bitter family rows played out in public. Among the exceptional royal ephemera on display are a 1727 book of drawings titled 'The Exact Head Dress of ye British Court Ladyes and Quality', by George I's miniaturist, Bernard Lens III, revealing what the court looked like; and George II's broadsword, with its appropriately hybrid mixture of manufacturers: the hilt was made in Glasgow, the blade in Germany, a reminder that George II was the last British monarch to fight in battle, at Dettingen, near Frankfurt, in 1743. Other highlights include ghostly white paper gowns in the rooms leading up to the State Bedchamber, with a special light effect that projects the shimmering fabrics of actual 18th century gowns on to them; and the richly painted walls and ceiling in the Drawing Room. Hampton Court Palace until 30th November.
Building The Picture: Architecture In Italian Renaissance Painting explores the role of architecture within Italian Renaissance painting of the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. The exhibition aims to increase appreciation and understanding of some of the most beautiful and architectonic paintings by Italian masters such as Duccio, Botticelli, Crivelli and their contemporaries. It looks in new ways at buildings depicted in paintings, and investigates how artists invented spaces in mind and paint that transcended the reality of bricks, mortar and marble. Architecture within paintings has often been treated as a passive background or as subordinate to the figures. This exhibition shows how, on the contrary, architecture underpinned many paintings, and was used to design the whole picture from the very start. This was the case in Sandro Botticelli's 'Adoration of the Kings', where the ruins in the picture were planned first and still dominate the composition. Renaissance paintings are full of arches, doorways and thresholds, like those in Carlo Crivelli's 'The Annunciation, with Saint Emidius' that invite the viewer into the picture. Architecture could also be designed to tell a story, articulating the plot, deepening understanding of the narrative and helping to engage with the events. In Domenico Veneziano's 'Saint Zenobius Bishop of Florence restores to life a widow's son killed by an ox cart in Borgo degli Albizzi, Florence', the compressed perspective of the street heightens the emotion of the desperate mother whose son had just died. Other highlights of the show include the Venetian master Sebastiano del Piombo's 'The Judgement of Solomon', Sassetta's Saint Francis renounces his Earthly Father', Domenica Beccafumi's 'The Story of Papirus', and 'The Ruskin Madonna' by Andrea del Verrocchio. National Gallery until 21st September.
In Fine Style: The Art Of Tudor And Stuart Fashion traces changing tastes in fashionable attire in the 16th and 17th centuries. For the Tudor and Stuart elite, luxurious clothing was an essential element of court life. Garments and accessories - and the way in which they were worn - conveyed important messages about wealth, gender, age, social position, marital status and religion. Using paintings, drawings, jewellery and rare surviving examples of clothing and accessories, the exhibition explores the style of the rich and famous of the period. Both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I enforced laws dictating the fabrics, colours and types of garment that could be worn at each level of society. 'Cloth of gold', which incorporated gold-wrapped thread, crimson-dyed fabrics and certain types of fur were reserved for those of the highest status. On the preparatory drawing for his portrait of William Parr, Hans Holbein the Younger notes that the sitter wore a gown of purple velvet. a fabric usually reserved for royalty, thus reflecting Parr's standing in the royal household as captain of the Gentleman Pensioners. In many cases, the clothing worn by the sitter was more costly than the painting itself. In 1632 Charles I paid Anthony van Dyck £100 for a portrait of the royal family, while spending £5,000 a year on clothing. Renaissance jewellery was often full of symbolism, including classical or mythological figures, and set with stones thought to hold magical properties. The Darnley or Lennox Jewel, an exquisite gold heart-shaped locket set with rubies, emeralds and diamonds, incorporates a serpent entwined around the Tree of Life and skull cameos, serving as a memento mori. The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, until 20th July.
Unlocking Lovelock: Scientist, Inventor, Maverick celebrates the life and 70 year career of one of Britain's most important living scientists and inventors, offering a unique insight into his creative mind and achievements. Professor James Lovelock's career has spanned scientific fields as diverse as medicine, environmental science, atmospheric chemistry and space exploration. He is most famous for formulating the Gaia hypothesis - the idea that Earth is a self-regulating system - which has profoundly shaped the way many scientists think about the planet. The exhibition includes images of Lovelock's home laboratory where he conducted numerous scientific experiments, together with scientific notebooks, charts and data, manuscripts of books, articles and lectures, patent material, photographs, audio-visual material, offprints and examples of Lovelock's own rough scribblings. Prominent in the display is the electron capture detector, one of Lovelock's most important inventions, a device capable of detecting tiny concentrations of environmentally harmful compounds in the Earth's atmosphere. In 1967 he used it to measure the supposedly clean air blowing off the Atlantic onto the west coast of Ireland and found that it contained CFCs, now known to cause ozone depletion. In addition, there is the watchmaker's lathe that Lovelock used to build many of his inventions and the home-made gas chromatography equipment that journeyed to the Antarctic and back, which proved crucial to scientists' current understanding of global atmospheric pollution. Science Museum until 9th April.
The Glamour Of Italian Fashion 1945 - 2014 celebrates Italy's rich and influential contribution to fashion from the end of the Second World War to the present. The exhibition draws out the defining factors unique to the Italian fashion industry: the use of luxurious materials; expert textile production; specialist, regional manufacturing; and its strength as a source of both dynamic menswear and glamorous womenswear. The story of Italian fashion is explored through the pivotal individuals and organisations that have contributed to its reputation for quality and style, within the prevailing social and political context. On display are around 100 ensembles and accessories by leading Italian fashion houses including Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Gianfranco Ferre, Gucci, Missoni, Prada, Pucci and Versace, through to the next generation of talent, including couture by Giambattista Valli, ready-to-wear from Fausto Puglisi and work from Valentino's new designers duo Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli. The show also notes the creativity of influential but less remembered figures such as post-war couturiers Sorelle Fontana and Mila Schon and design innovators such as Walter Albini. The display highlights the exceptional quality of techniques, materials and expertise for which Italy has become renowned. Its status as manufacturer and exporter of some of the world's most stylish and well-made fashion and textiles is linked to the strength of its traditional industries including spinning, dyeing, weaving, cutting and stitching; some of these traditions have been practised in regions around Italy for hundreds of years. Victoria & Albert Museum until 27th July.
Sense And Sensuality: Art Nouveau 1890 - 1914 explores the drama and spectacle of contemporary life at the turn of the 20th century. The exhibition looks at those Art Nouveau designers who were interested in the darker, more complex side of life. The period was one of sexual awakening, and this is reflected in the style. Its organic, curling, rounded forms are clearly derived from the body - male and female - intermingling in a powerful but often disturbing way with the shapes of flora and fauna. The show embraces the sensuality of Art Nouveau, and features a wide range of works from sculpture, graphics, and books to ceramics, glass and furniture. Highlights include Felix Vallotton's original poster 'L'Art Nouveau', the first public presentation of the name; Aubrey Vincent Beardsley's 'Salome' prints, which many believe to be the first true works in the style; Maurice Bouval's 'Femme au pivot' and 'Sleep or Woman with Poppies'; Jean-Joseph Carries's 'Fawn'; and Theophile Alexandre Steinlen's 'The Black Cat'. Other artists whose work is represented include Alphonse Mucha, Francois-Raoul Larche, Paul Francois Berthoud, Emile Galle, Eugene Grasset, Alphonse Mucha, Jean Carries, René Lalique, Rupert Carabin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Berthon, Georges de Feure. Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, until 14th December.
Guiding Lights: 500 Years Of Trinity House And Safety At Sea showcases centuries of work by the Corporation of Trinity House to help sailors navigate safely at sea. In 1514, Henry VIII granted a charter to a fraternity of London mariners who became the Corporation of Trinity House, charged with improving the safety of navigation on the River Thames. Later in the 16th century their remit expanded to setting up beacons and seamarks to help ships avoid dangers. Since then, Trinity House has looked after pilotage, buoys, beacons and light vessels around some of the British coastline and has become the General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales and the Channel Islands. While Trinity House's aims have remained constant its methods of achieving them have changed dramatically as new technology is adopted and developed. The history of Britain's lighthouses is told through intricate models, dramatic film and the personal effects of lighthouse keepers. Lightvessels, buoys and yachts are illustrated through a selection of rarely-seen watercolour sketches by marine artist William Lionel Wyllie. Tales of personal bravery include that of lighthouse keeper's daughter and heroine Grace Darling, who became famous in the 1830s for her role in a daring rescue mission of a group of survivors after she spotted the shipwrecked Forfarshire on nearby rocks. The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, until 4th January.
Ruin Lust offers a guide to the mournful, thrilling, comic and perverse uses of ruins in art from the 17th century to the present day. The exhibition explores ruination through both slow picturesque decay and abrupt apocalypse with works by over 100 artists. JMW Turner and John Constable were among those artists who toured Britain in search of ruins and picturesque landscapes, producing works such as Turner's 'Tintern Abbey: The Crossing and Chancel, Looking towards the East Window' and Constable's 'Sketch for Hadleigh Castle'. John Martin's 'The Destruction of Pompei and Herculaneum' recreates historical disaster, while Gustave Dore's engraving 'The New Zealander' shows a ruined London with the cracked dome of St Paul's Cathedral in the distance. Work provoked by the wars of the 20th century include Graham Sutherland's 'Devastation' series depicting the aftermath of the Blitz; and Jane and Louise Wilson's photographs of the Nazis' defensive Atlantic Wall along the north coast of France. Paul Nash's photographs of surreal architectural fragments in the 1930s and 40s, and Jon Savage's images of a desolate London in the late 1970s show how artists also view ruins as zones of potential, where the world must be rebuilt. Britain's ruinous heritage has been revisited and sometimes mocked by later artists. Keith Arnatt photographed the juxtaposition of historic and modern elements at picturesque sites for his deadpan series A.O.N.B. (Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty); John Latham's sculpture 'Five Sisters Bing' was part of a project to turn post-industrial shale heaps in Scotland into monuments; and Rachel Whiteread's 'Demolished - B: Clapton Park Estate', shows the demolition of Hackney tower blocks, in which Modernist architectural dreams are destroyed. Tate Britain until 18th May.
Court And Craft: A Masterpiece From Northern Iraq features a brass container inlaid with intricate scenes of courtly life in gold and silver, a masterpiece of luxury metalwork from the Islamic world. Originally thought to be a wallet, document carrier, or saddlebag, it is now believed to be a shoulder bag, made in the city of Mosul in northern Iraq around 1300. Through some 40 works, the exhibition explores the origins, function and imagery of this masterpiece, as well as the cultural context in which it was made. The 14th century illustrations of the Il-Khanid court, 3 of which are on display, depict such shoulder bags worn by the page of the Khatun, the wife of the ruling Khan. The exquisite crafting of the bag resembles goldsmiths' work, and it is possible that similar bags were produced in gold and even encrusted with jewels. A bejewelled container of the same shape is held by one of the attendants to the Chinese princess Humayun, in a manuscript of poems by Khwaju Kirmani. A highlight of the exhibition is a life-size display recreating this lavish court scene and featuring objects similar to those depicted: crescent-shaped gold earrings like those worn by the lady, a Chinese mirror similar to the one held by the page, and a Syrian glass bottle as depicted on the table. The bag is richly ornamented with roundels featuring musicians, hunters and revellers, over a geometric fretwork pattern characteristic of the inlaid brass vessels for which the city of Mosul was famous. The objects in the exhibition, demonstrate that the technical and stylistic traditions of Mosul metalwork not only survived the Mongol conquest but flourished well into the Il-Khanid period. A section of the exhibition examines the inlaid metalwork tradition of Mosul during the 13th and early 14th centuries. Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House, Strand, London, until 18th May.
Great Medical Discoveries: 800 Years Of Oxford Innovation marks the 800th anniversary of the birth of Roger Bacon, who became known as England's 'Doctor Mirabilis', and celebrates the city as a world centre of medical learning. Scientists, philosophers and physicians have made Oxford an outstanding scientific centre from the medieval period onwards. From Roger Bacon, who led the way towards the emergence of medical science as an inductive study of nature, based on and tested by experiment, to Dorothy Hodgkin's discovery of the structure of penicillin during the Second World War, and its current position at the forefront of medical research and clinical practice, Oxford has been responsible for some of the world's most important medical discoveries. This exhibition tells of the curiosity, innovation, and tenacity that have contributed to our understanding of human biology in both health and disease through a unique display of original manuscripts, prescriptions, laboratory notebooks, letters, rare books and artefacts. Highlights include the medical records of Albert Alexander, the first patient to receive penicillin; a diagram by Christopher Wren illustrating the Circle of Willis (the arterial blood supply in the brain); Robert Hooke's book Micrographia, which first put forward and illustrated the idea that the body was made up from cells; a Glucose Sensor, which monitors the amount of sugar in a tiny blood sample; the Oxford Knee, a replacement that does not require cutting of muscles; and a recent prototype for self-adjustable glasses for the use in the developing world. Bodlian Library, Oxford, until 18th May.