News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 8th August 2012


William Morris Gallery has reopened following a £10m restoration of the house and gardens. The gallery is located in the house where William Morris, founder of the Arts and Crafts movement, supporter of the Pre-Raphaelites, socialist pioneer, designer, craftsman and visionary, was born, and its collection represents all aspects of his work. The 18th century, Grade II* listed building has been completely refurbished, revealing many of the original Georgian features for the first time. The gardens have also been restored using design and planting inspired by Morris and plans of the garden from the 18th century. The transformation provides three new galleries offering the chance for previously unseen works to be displayed, a library, research and education centre and a new Georgian orangery-inspired extension housing a tearoom and balcony overlooking the gardens. Almost 600 objects are now on display across 12 galleries, exploring different aspects of Morris's life. These include personal items such as the satchel in which he always carried his sketchings, essays and political pamphlets; wallpaper designs encompassing his first ever and the one designed for St James's Palace; some of the firm's earliest tiles, such as the 'Beauty and the Beast' panel; and stained glass designs that made the firm's name; plus designs, paintings and furniture by the artists and craftspeople Morris surrounded himself with, including works by Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown and Phillip Webb. The new temporary exhibition gallery features Grayson Perry's large 'Walthamstow Tapestry', which explores the emotional resonance of brand names in our lives and our quasi-religious relationship to consumerism. William Morris Gallery, Lloyd Park, Forest Road, Walthamstow, London E17, continuing.

Expanding Horizons: Giovanni Battista Lusieri And The Panoramic Landscape features the work of one of the most gifted landscape watercolourists of all time. This is the first solo exhibition ever to be devoted to Giovanni Battista Lusieri, an artist who was widely acclaimed in his lifetime but whose work has been undeservedly overlooked in the last 200 years. Set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic wars, much of Lusieri's life story reads like a film script. He was employed by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, was closely involved with the removal of the Elgin Marbles from Greece to Britain, and tragically, a large proportion of his later work was destroyed at sea on the journey back from Athens after his death, leaving his reputation to descend into obscurity. One of very few Italian artists of this period to adopt watercolour as his favoured medium, Lusieri often worked on an ambitious scale, combining a broad, panoramic vision, an uncanny ability to capture brilliant Mediterranean light and a meticulous, almost photographic attention to detail. This exhibition brings together about 85 watercolours and drawings, plus his only two known works in oil. Lusieri worked principally as a painter of topographical views and close-up views of ancient monuments. He was passionately dedicated to working directly from nature, and unlike most of his contemporaries who worked in watercolour, insisted wherever possible on colouring his drawings outside, on the spot. The exhibition includes Lusieri's single most ambitious watercolour, the 9ft wide 'Bay of Naples from Palazzo Sessa', and some of his numerous views of Vesuvius erupting by moonlight, which were amongst his most popular works. Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, until 28th October.

The Nazi Games: Politics, The Media And The Body is a timely reminder of how governments have used Olympic Games for propaganda purposes, examining the most successful - and infamous - example. The 1936 Olympic Games left a deep impression on history, including astounding innovations, from the athletes' village and torch relay, which were adopted permanently by the Olympic organisation, to live broadcasts of events, from slow-motion replays of athletes to overwhelming displays of political power. The Nazis exploited the mass media to create images of the body that pushed its message of racial purity and superiority. Drawing on an extensive collection of propaganda, including pamphlets, photographs and illustrated books, the exhibition exposes the astonishing skill of the Nazis as manipulators of public opinion, while also highlighting the stories of people who resisted Nazi views of the ideal sporting body. Among the exhibits are dramatic stills by Leni Riefenstahl; an American pamphlet called 'Preserve the Olympic Ideal', which made the case against American participation; and a range of bona fide souvenirs designed to cash in on the Games, often incorporating Nazi imagery. There is also an exhibit about a German refugee doctor at Stoke Mandeville hospital who set up a sporting contest that eventually became the Paralympics. The Wiener Library, 29 Russell Square, London WC1, until 3rd October.


Another London: International Photographers Capture City Life 1930 - 1980 explores the capital city through the eyes of some of the greatest names in international photography. In the years between 1930 and 1980, some of the best known photographers from around the world came to London to make work about the city and its communities. Bringing together 180 classic photographs, this exhibition highlights the vibrancy of the city as a dynamic metropolis, richly diverse and full of contrast. For these artists London was a foreign city, which they either visited briefly or settled in permanently, and they recorded and represented it in their own unique style and distinctive ways. Emblems of Britishness that might have been familiar to visitors such as pearly kings, red buses and bowler hats are documented alongside the urban poor surviving life in the city as pavement artists, beggars and buskers, often captured in stunning compositions. These pictures, showing London streets and public places as they were during those years, with Norland nannies pushing Silver Cross prams in Hyde Park, Eliza Dolittles selling flowers in Piccadilly Circus, advertisements for products that have long since disappeared, and streets shrouded in fog and smog, reveal the capital as almost a foreign country to us today. The exhibition features striking images from renowned photographers including Bill Brandt, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eve Arnold, Robert Frank, Al Vandenberg, Wolfgang Suschitzky, Dora Maar, Bruce Davidson, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Irving Penn and many more. Tate Britain until 26th September.

John Piper - The Gyselynck Collection features works in a variety of media by one of Britain's most influential modernist artists. The exhibition comprises the collection of over 30 John Piper works acquired by collector Michael Gyselynk, and is the first time the works have been displayed together in public. It provides a unique opportunity to view work spanning Piper's entire career across his different mediums, and represents many aspects of his artistic output, including abstract landscape compositions, topographical and figurative paintings, collage and ceramics. During his career Piper developed a unique style, fusing fluidity of line with elemental forms and perfectly balanced use of colour to communicate the spirit of a place, the feel of a body or the essence of a landscape. Among the highlights are 'Composition', one of a few pure abstracts by Piper painted during a period when he was experimenting with abstraction; 'Reclining Nude', a painted ceramic dish produced by Fulham Pottery, one of eight beach girl designs where the figure has been formed using the minimum of line made from a piece of finely rolled clay laid on a roughly shaped platter; and 'Autumn Flowers', a large and vibrant example of Piper's expressive work from towards the end of his life, when he could no longer travel far and often painted the flowers from his garden. River & Rowing Museum, Henley, until 8th October.

Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker: 850 Years Of London Livery Company Treasures features objects from the rare to the curious, the ancient to the modern. The exhibition offers an opportunity to see items from the collections of London's Livery Companies, the 108 associations in the City of London responsible for regulation of their trades, not usually on view to the public. Visitors can marvel at the splendour of medieval manuscripts and wonder at the rituals of livery company life, as the objects reveal the stories behind some of the world's oldest crafts and trades. Highlights include the oldest recorded livery charter, granted to the Weavers' Company in 1155 by Henry II; a portrait of Henry VIII and the Barber Surgeons by Hans Holbein the Younger; a surgeon's 'pop-up' textbook 'A survey of the Microcosme: or, the anatomy of the bodies of Man and Woman' from 1702; the only known pair of Scarlett-type temple spectacles in the world, dating from around 1730; 'Plocacosmos: or, the whole art of hairdressing', which includes meticulous engravings of the exuberant hairstyles of the late 18th century; The Weoley Cup, a very rare tooled, enameled and gilt Venetian goblet dating from around 1500; a Georgian Fishmonger's shop sign, made from a turtle shell with a coat of arms painted on it; and the left-hand coronation gloves of both Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II. Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, EC2 until 23rd September.

From Paris: A Taste For Impressionism showcases treasures from the Clark Art Institute of Williamstown, Massachusetts's holdings of French 19th century art. The exhibition comprises 70 major works, many of which have never been on public display in Britain before. These include Impressionist masterpieces by Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Degas, Sisley and Morisot, as well as an exceptional group of more than 20 paintings by Renoir. The show also embraces important works by pre-Impressionist artists such as Corot, Theodore Rousseau and Millet, as well as examples of highly polished 'academic' paintings by Jean-Leon Gerome and Bouguereau. The paintings are presented by genre, in order to reveal the range of subject matter and diversity of stylistic approach in French 19th century art: landscapes and cityscapes; marine views; genre paintings depicting scenes of life; nudes; still lifes; portraits - including self portraits of artists central to the exhibition such as Renoir and Degas - and paintings reflecting the contemporary interest in Orientalism. Highlights include Monet's 'The Cliffs at Etretat' and 'Portrait of Madame Monet (Madame Claude Monet Reading)', Alfred Sisley's 'Banks of the Seine at By', Manet's 'Moss Roses in a Vase', Berthe Morisot's 'The Bath' Jean-Leon Gerome's 'The Snake Charmer', James Tissot's 'Chrysanthemums, and Renoir's 'At the Concert' and 'Girl With a Fan'. Royal Academy of Arts until 23rd September.

Catherine The Great, An Enlightened Empress marks the 250th anniversary of Catherine's ascension to the Russian throne, with a selection of art works that she collected, which forms the basis of the State Hermitage Museum. The exhibition explores Catherine's life and 30 year reign through her collection, which reflects her interests and provides a glimpse of the wealth and magnificence of the Imperial Russian court. In her lifetime she amassed some 3,000 old master paintings, 10,000 engraved gems and cameos and 34,000 cameo and medallion copies. The exhibition comprises more than 600 priceless works, most of which have never been seen outside Russia. They include paintings, silverware, porcelain, sculpture, tapestries, imperial court costumes and uniforms, metal and polished stones, medals and trophies, jeweled snuffboxes, classical cameos, jewellery, hunting weapons, ceremonial swords, furniture, letters and diaries, and even a highly ornate and gilded winter sleigh. In addition there are plans, drawings and watercolours of some of the many palaces that Catherine commissioned, enlarged and redecorated. Highlights include a recently discovered portrait of Catherine on her horse Brilliant by Vigilius Eriksen, hidden at the outbreak of the Russian revolution; a ring featuring a cameo of Catherine; a snuff box showing the monument to Peter the Great by Falconet; a Coronation portrait of Catherine; a gold, diamond and rock crystal snuff box by Johann Gottlieb Scharff; and a portrait of Catherine by Johann Baptist von Lampi the Elder. National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, until 21st October.

Stadia: Sport And Vision In Architecture examines the origin and history of some of the largest and most technically accomplished buildings ever created. From the Hippodrome of Constantinople to ancient Greek amphitheatres, the exhibition looks at these colossal venues and how architects continue to use some of these design elements as the foundation for contemporary stadia, such as the Olympic Stadium in Stratford. The display includes original blueprints, highly-detailed models and intriguing stadium relics like terra cotta lamps featuring gladiator fights. One of the most notable items on view is Michaelangelo's Codex Coner, a pared down architectural sketchbook and the earliest archeologically correct record of the Colosseum. The exhibition also looks at temporary stadia, a concept that evolved around the Middle Ages when sporting events began playing out in town squares, such as Florence's Calcio Storico competition still held annually in Piazza Santa Croce. These structures reflect the communal aspect of athletic games, and ways in which a venue's architecture allows for social activity. The aspect of how stadium design can affect the population can be seen in the proposal for Sports City in Saudi Arabia, comprised of a 100,000 seater stadium, an arena, aquatic center, multi-sport complex, golf complex and a women's sport facility. The complex is connected to housing, schools, a mosque and a hospital, serving as a way of improving the residents' health. Sir John Soane's Museum, 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2, until 22nd September.


The English Prize: The Capture Of The Westmorland, An Episode Of The Grand Tour is a vivid recreation of the Grand Tour and events on the high seas of 18th century Europe. The story of the Westmorland, an armed merchant ship sailing from Livorno to London in January 1779, is one of colourful 18th century personalities and modern detective work. Consigned to the ship, by a cast of characters that included artists, aristocrats and dealers, was a precious cargo of art and antiquities, books, and luxury goods, including 32 wheels of Parmesan cheese. The Westmorland was captured by two French warships on 7th January and declared a 'prize of war'. The majority of the cargo was acquired by King Carlos III of Spain, who presented many of the items to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, while one painting ended up as far away as St Petersburg. Following an extraordinary research project begun in the 1990s in the archives in Madrid, scholars have been able to trace the history and learn the fate of many of the items on board the ship. The exhibition presents over 120 objects that were on the Westmorland when it was captured, including portraits of two of the Grand Tourists by Pompeo Batoni; a group of watercolours by a young John Robert Cozens; and portrait busts by Irish sculptor Christopher Hewetson. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 27th August.

Titian's First Masterpiece features the first major commission of the 16th century Venetian painter, and examines the creation of this extraordinarily ambitious work, painted when he was just a teenager. This is the first time 'The Flight Into Egypt' has been seen outside Russia since 1768 when Empress Catherine the Great purchased the picture. The exhibition explores Titian's originality in creating one of the first large scale landscape narratives, and demonstrates how he adapted ideas from the work of other artists in order to create his sophisticated composition. The painting is exhibited alongside more than 20 works by Titian's Venetian contemporaries, including Bellini, Giorgione, and Sebastiano del Piombo, together with artists such as Albrecht Durer, who were in Venice at the time Titian began this work. 'The Flight into Egypt' is believed to be one of Titian's earliest paintings. Produced on an impressive sized canvas (206 x 336 cm), the landscape occupies most of the composition, drawing the viewer's eye to the green of the foliage, and the blues of the sky, mountains and stream. This unprecedented sensitivity to colour is a characteristic of Titian. He spontaneously displayed a naive approach to nature, especially in the depiction of animals. The choice of this particular subject allowed the young painter to display his precocious skill in landscape painting and reveals the bold brushwork and exhilarating use of colour that would become signatures of his artistic style. National Gallery until 19th August.

Bauhaus: Art As Life explores the world's most famous modern art and design school, and delves into the subjects at its heart: art, design, people, society and culture. From its avant-garde arts and crafts beginnings the Bauhaus shifted towards a more radical model of learning uniting art and technology. A driving force behind Modernism, it further sought to change society in the aftermath of the First World War, to find a new way of living. The exhibition traces the life of the school from its founding by Walter Gropius in Weimar in 1919, and its expressionist-influenced roots, to the embrace of art and industry and subsequent move to a purpose built campus in Dessau in 1925 under the direction of Gropius and then Hannes Meyer. Finally it looks to the Bauhaus' brief period in Berlin, led by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and its dramatic closure in 1933, under pressure by the Nazis. Bringing together more than 400 works, the show features a rich array of painting, sculpture, architecture, film, photography, furniture, graphics, product design, textiles, ceramics and theatre by such Bauhaus masters as Josef Albers, Herbert Bayer, Marianne Brandt, Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius, Johannes Itten, Hannes Meyer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Oskar Schlemmer, and students including Anni Albers, T Lux Feininger, Kurt Kranz, Xanti Schawinsky and Alma Siedhoff-Buscher. Significant works in the exhibition include Laszlo Moholy-Nagy's 'Construction in Enamel 1 (EM1)', the largest in a series of three famously known as the 'Telephone Pictures'; Wassily Kandinsky's 'Circles in a Circle', two bands of colour intersect in a thick black circle containing 26 overlapping circles of varying colours and sizes; Paul Klee's watercolour 'Doppelturm' with its geometric forms in pink and green hues; and Gunta Stolzl's 2m high wall hanging, 'Funf Chore (Five Choirs)'. Barbican Gallery until 12th August.