News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 7th August 2002


Turner At Petworth marks the completion of the refurbishment of the Carved Room and adjacent Red Room to their appearance in the 1830s. The Carved Room houses carvings by Grinling Gibbons, Jonathan Ritson and John Selden, and four landscapes specially commissioned from Turner. These have been returned to the exact positions for which they were originally intended, and displayed exactly as they were first hung. Two feature Petworth Park itself, which was landscaped by Capability Brown. Turner was a regular visitor to Petworth, and recorded informal views of landscapes and family life in more than 100 works during the 1820s and 1830s. Most of these are now in the Tate collection, and can rarely be put on show to the public because they are so fragile, but this exhibition includes over 70 oil paintings, watercolours and small gouache sketches, which are on display in the Red Room and North Gallery. In addition, there are 20 Turner oil paintings in permanent residence at Petworth, along with 20 Van Dycks, and works by Holbein, Reynolds and Blake. In conjunction with the exhibition, the Old Library, which Turner and other artists used as a studio, is open to visitors for the first time. Petworth House until 29th September.

Personification: Portraits By Clare Shenstone is a retrospective of the work of this compelling portraitist. Shenstone's career started when she sold a work from her MA exhibition to Francis Bacon, who then asked her to paint his portrait. This led to over fifty studies of the artist in oil, gouache, pastel, conte crayon and pencil, produced in three years. More than twenty of these intimate portraits of Bacon are featured in this exhibition, together with those of faces of both the 'known', such as Zoe Wannamaker, and the 'unknown', such as The Speaker at Hyde Park Corner. There are also a number of Shenstone's 'cloth heads', including the one bought by Bacon. From her early career as an actress, Shenstone is acutely aware of faces as masks. She creates a number of images of each sitter, often from different angles and at different moments, and this intense study results in portraits that offer more than just a physical likeness. Sainsbury Centre For Visual Arts, Norwich until 8th September.

Colour Sensations is the umbrella (and don't forget to take one) title for the summer display at these historic gardens. Highlights include: Floral Colour Spectrum, which evolves week by week, as waves of colour develop outward in a 60 metre planted petal shape; Golden Vista, a spectacular 1km long display of sunflowers; Idea Gardens, Kew's diploma students displaying their creativity in four colour themed designs; The 10 Queen's Beasts, replicas of those at Westminster Abbey during the Queen's coronation, colourfully decorated; Rainbow Tours, special summer festival conducted walks taking in the most colourful planting; and when it rains, The Waterlily House 150th Anniversary, featuring gigantic specimens from all over the world in all the hues of the spectrum, as well as the traditional white; Clive Nichols: New Shoots, an exhibition of the plant portraits which helped Nichols to become Garden Photographer Of The Year; and Abstract Colour, a display in the Princess of Wales Conservatory inspired by the paintings of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew until 30th September.


Seaside Fun brings the seaside to London, without having to go to quite the effort or put up with all the inconvenience of the Mayor of Paris's similar scheme. Here, the upper gallery of the museum has been transformed into a seaside resort, complete with a beach, a pretend station for those arriving by train, a pier with deck chairs, and even seagulls. There are also sand castles, slot machines, classic posters, a Punch and Judy show, and one of those things with cut outs to put your face through for a photo. Young visitors can stop at the art cart and learn how to make their own souvenirs to take home - and as it's indoors, visitors don't even have to rely on British weather. Who needs CenterParcs? Bethnal Green Museum Of Childhood until 8th September.

Pickpocketing The Rich: Portrait-painting In Bath 1720-1800 celebrates the particular time when art and pleasure intermingled in the Georgian spa resort - a sort of 18th century Las Vegas. At its height the town attracted 20,000 fashionable members of society each year, and during the course of the century 160 artists opened businesses, including Thomas Gainsborough, Joseph Wright of Derby, William Hoare, Thomas Barker and Thomas Beach. Artists gained recognition and publicity by painting such celebrities as Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, the actors David Garrick and Sarah Siddons, 'Beau' Nash, Alexander Pope and the musicians Thomas Linley junior and senior. Business was particularly good for the makers of smaller portraits. People passing through the resort were eager to sit for inexpensive, portable pictures, such as miniatures in watercolour, cheap silhouettes or profiles painted on glass, which they could send home or give away to new friends as keepsakes. Artists would charge a shilling entrance fee to visit their studios, and sometimes provided entertainment by musicians and singers. Prices for portraits ranged from a few shillings for a head and shoulders sketch by a newly arrived artist, to 100 guineas for a full-length Gainsborough portrait in oils. Holburne Museum of Art, Bath until 15th September.

Electric Dreams explores and celebrates the fantasy glamour of city nightlife, as portrayed by ten international artists. Jack Pierson's found neon signs entice visitors with the illicit pleasures of 'adult video' or the mysteries of a 'psychic'; Kirsten Glass paints pictures of fashion models swirling in dark backgrounds overlayed with dark glitter and fluorescent colours; donAtella's new video, 'LonDonAtella' treats the city of London as a vast virtual stage-set for a surreal performance; whilst FischerSpooner show their unique pop-performance act as a large scale video installation entitled Sweetness. The other contributing artists are Charles Atlas, Martin Eder, Steven Gontarski, Chikashi Kasai, Jim Lambie and Eva Rothschild. The Curve at The Barbican Centre until 26th August.

Thomas Girtin And The Art Of Watercolour celebrates the achievements of one of Britain's greatest, but least known watercolour painters, 200 years after his death at the age of just 27. Girtin played a major part in transforming the art of watercolour, especially landscapes, which grew in scale and ambition. He abandoned careful stained drawings for a more dramatic and romantic style of painting, which captured moods and a range of light and weather effects. For a brief period watercolour painting was the epitome of modern art, and Girtin landscapes were both controversial and popular. Although influential, Girtin remained an outsider to the art establishment, as he did not study at the Royal Academy's school, and tried to break away from a reliance on patronage. He sold his work on the open market, and embarked on projects aimed at a mass audience, such as a group of twenty printed Views of Paris, and an exhibition of an enormous canvas of over 180 square yards, showing a 360 degree panorama of London, known as the Eidometropolis, which opened shortly before his death. This exhibition comprises 160 works by Girtin himself, together with 40 others by his contemporaries, including Turner, who always acknowledged Gritin's influence on his work. There is also an analysis of Girtin's working methods and materials. Tate Britain until 29th September.

Light The Blue Touchpaper tells the history of fireworks in Britain, in the most comprehensive exhibition on the subject ever staged. It draws on the extraordinary collection of Maurice Evans, with fireworks of all kinds - even pre-First World War indoor fireworks made in the shape of fruit - posters, programmes for firework displays, and a wide range of items using fireworks as the inspiration for their design. The Black Cat firework factory (formerly Standard Fireworks) has contributed firework making equipment, showing how a firework-filling shed was laid out, plus display samples, advertising posters and other archive material. Firework inspired memorabilia on view includes comics, stamps, jigsaw puzzles, promotional items, cigarette cards and post cards. Although the industry once boasted over twenty independent British manufacturers, very few fireworks are now made here, as most are imported from the Far East, and so there are examples of fireworks from sixteen other countries. There is also a permanent exhibition telling the story of how gunpowder was manufactured on this site from the mid 1600s to 1990. Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey until 27th October.

Forbidden City: Treasure Of An Emperor is an exhibition of treasures from the Forbidden City in Beijing, staged in a unique collaboration with the Palace Museum, which is housed in the former Imperial Palace. Over 50 of the objects on display have never before been seen outside China, and this is their only appearance. They include paintings, armour, robes, ornate furnishings and other objects that belonged to the Emperor Qianlong, who ruled Imperial China from 1736 until 1796. This is regarded as a golden age in China's history, when it was the wealthiest country in the world. Qianlong was known for his patronage of the arts, and was a painter and calligrapher, with a passion for collecting, antiques and history. His personal acquisitions form more than half the permanent collection of the Palace, which is China's most important museum. The key exhibits include an equestrian portrait of the Emperor, painted by Guiseppe Castiglione, an Italian artist at the Imperial Court, to celebrate Qianlong's coronation, together with the actual armour and equipment he is wearing in the painting, and a sacred gold cup decorated with rubies, sapphires and pearls. Royal Museum, Edinburgh until 15th September.


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 1200 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from over 12,000 submissions. Since last year the courtyard has had a makeover, with fountains placed to represent the position of the stars at the birth of Sir Joshua Reynolds, the Academy's first President, creating a new exhibition space, which features a giant snowman by Gary Hume. Following Peter Blake's changes last year, works are divided into categories of Royal Academicians, Honorary Academicians, Invited Artists and Submissions, and hung in different rooms, thus separating professionals from amateurs. This year's senior hanger, sculptor Bryan Kneale, has gone further, increasing the prominence of sculpture over painting, so it now encompasses four rooms, including works by Ivor Abrahams, Tony Cragg, Richard Deacon, and the exhibition 'signature' shop window mannequins by Allen Jones. Under the aegis of Will Alsop, even the architecture display has gone 3D, with more models and fewer drawings on show. Unfortunately this dash for 21st century, instead of enhancing the best qualities of the original, has the effect of turning it into a poor imitation of the Turner Prize. As our American cousins say "Baby/bathwater - you do the math".Royal Academy of Arts until 19th August.

Seeing Things: Photographing Objects 1850-2001 is a whistle stop tour of some of the best known and most unusual images in the history of photography. It surveys the range of ways photographers have interpreted objects and people to compose a memorable image, including as museum specimens, direct facsimiles, Surrealist surprises, natural history, found objects, impossible objects, domestic details, personal accessories and advertising. Sometimes a single frame can immortalise a whole era, such as Lewis Morley's nude portrait of Christine Keeler astride that '60s chair, displayed here along with the original contact sheet - and the chair. With everything from early Daguerreotypes to contemporary digital images, this exhibition takes in the full spectrum of documentary, fine art, advertising and portraiture. Among the photographers whose works are featured are Eugene Atget, Julia Margaret Cameron, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Helen Chadwick, William Eggleston, Walker Evans, Lee Friedlander, Andre Kertesz, Richard Prince and Man Ray. Victoria & Albert Museum until 18th August.

Matisse Picasso brings together major works by the two giants of modern art, who between them originated many of the most significant developments of 20th century painting and sculpture. The exhibition provides an opportunity to compare and contrast Matisse's expressive use of colour and line, alongside Picasso's stylistic virtuosity through a series of over thirty groupings of paintings and sculpture. Juxtapositions of portrait, still life and landscape, demonstrate both their affinities and their differences. The show traces the artists intricate relationship from its beginnings in Paris in 1906, when they first met regularly in the studio of the collectors Gertrude and Leo Stein, to the period after Matisse's death in 1954, when Picasso paid tribute to him in his work, both directly and indirectly. In spite of their initial rivalry, each artist came to acknowledge the other as his only true equal, and in old age they became increasingly close personally, and increasingly important to each other artistically. The largest part of the exhibition is devoted to the early years, when there was open rivalry between them leading to intense creative innovation, which produced some of the greatest art of the century. Tate Modern until 18th August.