News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 8th September 2010


Raphael: Cartoons And Tapestries For The Sistine Chapel brings together for the first time the full size designs and the actual tapestries made for the Vatican City almost 500 years ago. This is a display of 4 of the 10 original tapestries designed by Raphael for the walls of the Sistine Chapel, never before seen in Britain, alongside the designs (or cartoons) acquired by Charles I in 1623. The tapestries of the Acts of St Peter and St Paul, 'The Miraculous Draught of Fishes', 'Christ's Charge to Peter', 'The Healing of the Lame Man' and 'The Sacrifice at Lystra', were commissioned from Raphael by Pope Leo X. The tapestries were made in Brussels, Europe's leading centre for tapestry weaving, and then sent to Rome for display. As the cartoons remained in Brussels, Raphael himself never saw the cartoons beside the tapestries woven from them. This display sees the 4 tapestries hung next to the 7 cartoons. The design of each cartoon corresponds in every point to the tapestry it was made for - but in reverse. The weavers cut Raphael's cartoons into strips and copied them closely, weaving each tapestry from the back, so the front image was the reverse of its cartoon. The painted strips of cartoon were joined together again later, and became prized as artworks in their own right. They were acquired by Charles I in order to have copies of the tapestries made for himself. In addition to the tapestries and cartoons, the display also includes some of Raphael's preparatory drawings, the 17th century British tapestry copy of 'The Miraculous Draught of Fishes', and other items relating to Pope Leo X and the Sistine Chapel. Victoria & Albert Museum until 17th October.

Ruins, Rotas And Romance marks the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the remains of Britain's largest Roman palace. In true British style, the palace was discovered by accident during the digging of a water main trench in 1960. The discovery led to 9 seasons of excavations that showed the site had developed from a military base at the time of the Roman invasion in AD43 to a sumptuous palace by the end of the 1st century. It was the one of the biggest systematic Romano-British excavations of its time, undertaken by hundreds of volunteers from all over the world, with around 70 working together at any one time. Between 1995 and 2002, new excavations revealed exciting new insights into the development of the site. The palace and gardens contain a hypocaust (the Roman under floor heating system) and the largest collection of near perfect in-situ mosaic floors in Britain, some 20 in all, including the famous 'Cupid on a Dolphin' mosaic. Over the years the garden has been replanted true to the original plan revealed by the archaeology. The story of the excavations and the people whose labours revealed these treasures is told through an audio-visual programme, rare records, handwritten notes, diaries, photographs, plans, reconstruction drawings and models, together with artefacts that were discovered. Fishbourne Roman Palace, near Chichester, West Sussex, until 15th December.

Eadweard Muybridge is a retrospective of the work of the pioneering Anglo-American photographer. Bringing together over 150 works, this exhibition demonstrates how Eadweard Muybridge broke new ground in the emerging art form of photography, exploring how he created and honed remarkable images that continue to resonate powerfully. Although best known for his extensive photographic portrayal of animal and human subjects in motion, Muybridge was also a highly successful landscape and survey photographer, documentary artist, war correspondent and inventor. His revolutionary techniques produced timeless images that have profoundly influenced succeeding generations of photographers, filmmakers and artists. This exhibition focuses on the period of rapid technological and cultural change from the late 1860s to 1904, and includes the celebrated experimental series of motion-capture photographs such as 'The Attitudes of Animals in Motion' and the sequence 'Animal Locomotion'. The display also reveals how Muybridge constructed, manipulated and presented these photographs, and features his original zoopraxiscope, which projected his images of suspended motion to create the illusion of movement. The carefully managed studio photographs contrast with his panoramic landscapes of America, recording both the natural beauty of this vast continent, and the rapid colonial modernisation of its towns and cities. Images from this period include views of Yosemite Valley, Alaska, Guatemala, urban panoramas of San Francisco, and a survey of the construction of the eastward bound railroad through California, Nevada and Utah. These photographs form a unique social document of this period of history, as well as representing a profound achievement of technological innovation and artistic originality. Tate Britain until 16th January.


London's Water: 400 Years Of The New River looks at this waterway's role in London's water supply, with the use of images and interpretive texts. The New River was constructed at the beginning of the 17th century to bring fresh water from springs in Hertfordshire to the New River Head reservoirs in Islington. It was built by the New River Company, which was to become the largest private water company in London. Among the paintings are 'Prospect of the City from the North' from around 1730, showing the newly created reservoir alongside Sadler's Wells, which was then one of a number of health resorts in Islington, with the recently constructed St Paul's Cathedral in the background; and Samuel Scott's 'Entrance to the Fleet River' an almost Ventian view of the New River, which now only survives underground as a sewer.

The Story Of Smithfield Market tells the story of London's largest meat market and the historic Smithfield area. Once a site of execution, where heretics were burnt during the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, Smithfield was also the venue for the lively and sometimes raucous Bartholomew Fair, shown in contemporary engravings. A livestock market was officially established at Smithfield in 1638 but as the City and the market itself expanded, problems including stampeding cattle and animal overcrowding arose. Finally in 1855 the sale of livestock was transferred to Islington, reflected in William Henry Davis's 'The Metropolitan Cattle Market', and Smithfield became a meat market, shown in 20th century works by Jacqueline Stanley and Hubert Andrew Freeth.

Guildhall Art Gallery, London, until March.

Edward Weston: Life Work is a retrospective of the work of the American who was regarded as one of the masters of 20th century photography. Edward Weston's legacy of carefully composed and superbly printed photographs has influenced photographers around the world. This exhibition is the largest ever to be shown in Britain. It contains 115 vintage prints from every phase of Weston's career, with previously unpublished masterpieces interspersed with signature images. Weston began his career as a relatively unremarkable commercial portrait photographer. A stay in Mexico heralded a new trimmed-down approach, which led on to his memorable still life photographs of the late 1920s. They in turn fed naturally into a remarkable set of sculptural nudes in the 1930s. Subsequently, Weston's style loosened as he turned to the open landscape. The exhibition is arranged in thematic sections: Early Work, Mexico, Portraits, Nudes, Still Life, Early Landscape and Late Landscape. Images include an important suite of six dune studies made near Oceano, California in 1934 and 1936; 'Excusado', the iconic photograph of a lavatory pan, and the bedpan on its side that looks like a bird; two nested nautilus shells; the nude-like 'Pepper No 30' and 'Anita (Pear-Shaped Nude)'; the 'Armco Steel, Middletown, Ohio' factory chimneys and 'Three Radishes'; and his final photograph, nicknamed 'The Dody Rocks'. A 30 minute video, Remembering Edward Weston, featuring interviews with family members accompanies the show. City Art Centre, Edinburgh, until 24th October.

Dream Voices: Siegfried Sassoon, Memory And War traces the complex intertwining of the documented, the remembered, and the imagined in published and unpublished writings of the First World War poet. The display looks at how the horrors of the war changed Siegfried Sassoon from being a patriot of his country, to being a stern critic of government and political leaders. The tension between life as he was living it and recollections of his former self lay behind much of Sassoon's writing, and memory - sensuously evoked but stringently selected - was central to his literary achievement. The material on view includes the pocket notebooks in which Sassoon kept a journal of his time on the Western Front, including diary entries for the first day on the Somme, and the moment when he was shot by a sniper at the Battle of Arras; autograph poems and letters home written while on active service in France; a verse letter from his friend the novelist and poet Robert Graves that Sassoon carried tucked inside his diary in his tunic pocket in battle; heavily-worked drafts of post-war poems and autobiographies; personal photographs and sketches; notebooks and diaries recording his sporting exploits, including fox hunting, riding and cricket; rare and annotated printed editions; the notebook in which he originally wrote his Soldier's Declaration, the iconic 1917 protest against the continuation of the First World War, still stained with the mud of the trenches, the telegram summoning him to Army HQ to explain himself when it became public, and his own printed copy. Cambridge University Library until 23rd December.

An Englishman In New York: Photographs By Jason Bell features a series of previously unseen portraits inspired by the 120,000 British men and women currently living in New York City. Jason Bell has lived between London and New York since 2003, and whilst shooting an assignment for American Vogue about anglophilia with English models in an English tearoom, he became interested in investigating the English people resident in the city. He went on to identify and photograph a cross-section of the leading British born figures living in New York, in locations appropriate to them. The 20 portraits on display include Thomas P Campbell, the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; writer Zoe Heller, on her stoop in Tribeca; artist Cecily Brown in her Flat Iron studio; Nicola Perry in her Tea and Sympathy teashop; lingerie designer Jana Kennedy in her cramped apartment workroom; musician Sting in Central Park; director Stephen Daldry in front of the theatre where Billy Elliott is playing; journalist and television presenter Tom Brook in Times Square; actress Kate Winslet on her roof terrace; model Lily Donaldson in Tomkins Square Park; Simon Noonan, Barney's window dresser and television pundit in a window display; Vanity Fair contributing editor Vicky Ward sunbathing in Hudson River Park; Sean Kavanagh-Dowsett in his A Salt & Battery fish and chip shop; and historian Simon Schama at the Columbia University subway station; plus the less well known helicopter pilot, spray tanner, deep-sea diver, detective, plumber, cab driver and rat-catcher. National Portrait Gallery until 17th April.

Another World: Dali, Magritte, Miro And The Surrealists is a comprehensive survey of surrealist art, arguably the most important art movement of the 20th century. The show features works by international artists including Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti and Joan Miro, alongside their British counterparts such as Ronald Penrose, John Armstrong, Edward Wadsworth, Eileen Agar, and Ithell Colquhoun. Surrealism, meaning 'beyond realism', refers to the world of dreams, nightmares, the irrational and the strange. Presented chronologically, the exhibition is displayed in an unusual manner, with coloured walls densely hung, alongside display cases filled with books and manuscripts. Among the highlights are Man Ray's sculpture comprised entirely of wooden coat hangers; Marcel Duchamp's iconic 'Fountain'; Rene Magritte's 'Threatening Weather'; Yves Tanguy's 'Never Again'; Jackson Pollock's 'Birth'; and Eduardo Paolozzi's sculptures 'St Sebastian I' and 'His Majesty the Wheel'. These is also a substantial number of prints, sketches, photographs, archival material, periodicals, scrapbooks, letters and other publications, including several print portfolios that have never been shown before by artists such as Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst and Yves Tanguy. Dean Gallery, Edinburgh, until 9th January.

The Language Of Line: John Flaxman's Illustrations To The Works Of Homer And Aeschylus marks the 200th anniversary of John Flaxman's appointment as the first Professor of Sculpture at the Royal Academy. Although recognised as one of the leading sculptors of his day, it was Flaxman's talent as a draughtsman that won him international acclaim. His dynamic yet understated outline illustrations to the works of Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus and Dante were an immediate success when published as engravings and proved highly influential for generations of artists. This display features a selection of Flaxman's drawings for the Iliad, the Odyssey and the Tragedies of Aeschylus. The works reveal delicate modifications to the designs that offer insight into the Flaxman's creative process prior to the production of the engraved plates. His experimentations with pose and composition are resolved into an archetypal style of linear clarity in the engravings, highlighting the practice underpinning his ability to convey dramatic, emotive and even comic effect with a single line. Royal Academy until 29th October.

Life, Action And Sentiment: John Flaxman On The Art Of Modern Sculpture comprises many preparatory sketches Flaxman drew to work through his ideas on how to convey life, action and sentiment in three-dimensional form. Kept for reference at his studio, these informal, linear drawings are shown together for the first time. They reveal Flaxman's almost obsessive dedication to his cause, the creation of a modern school of sculpture. Strang Print Room, University College London, Gower Street WC1 until 17th December.


Skin considers the changing importance of the largest and probably most overlooked human organ, from anatomical thought in the 16th century through to contemporary artistic exploration. The exhibition focuses on the historical transformation of both the scientific understanding and cultural significance of human skin, plotting it as beliefs, facts and popular mindsets have all evolved. Covering four themes: Objects, Marks, Impressions and Afterlives, it begins by looking at the skin as a frontier between the inside and the outside of the body, which early anatomists saw as having little value, and sought to flay to reveal the workings of the body beneath. It then moves to look at the skin as a living document, with tattoos, scars, wrinkles or various pathologies. Finally, the skin is considered as a sensory organ of touch and as a delicate threshold between life and death. The display incorporates early medical drawings, 19th century paintings, anatomical models and cultural artefacts juxtaposed with sculpture, photography and film works, by artists including Damien Hirst, Helen Chadwick and Wim Delvoye. It is complemented by the 'Skin Lab', which features artistic responses to developments in plastic surgery, scar treatments and synthetic skin technologies, including newly commissioned works by the artists Rhian Solomon and Gemma Anderson. Wellcome Collection, London until 26th September.

Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda And Art modestly proclaims that it provides an opportunity to see 100 greatest maps in the world, over three-quarters of which are on public exhibition for the first time. Dating from 200AD to the present day, there are cartographic masterpieces on paper, wood, vellum, silver, silk and marble, including atlases, maps, globes and tapestries. Recreating the settings in which they would have originally been seen, from the palace to the schoolroom, the exhibition reveals how maps express an enormous variety of differing world views, using size and beauty to convey messages of status and power. Highlights include: 'Fra Mauro World Map' by William Frazer, a hand-drawn copy of the first great modern world map from the 15th century, made for the British East India Company; 'Confiance - ses Amputations se Poursuivent', a Second World War German propaganda poster portraying Churchill as an octopus, drawing on earlier comic maps; 'The Klencke Atlas', the largest atlas in the world, intended to be a summary of the world's knowledge, produced for Charles II on his restoration to the English throne; 'Chinese Terrestrial Globe' by Nicola Longobardi and Bartolomeo Dias, the earliest Chinese terrestrial Globe, made by Jesuit missionaries for the Chinese Emperor in the 17th century; 'Americae, sive quartae orbis partis, nova et exactissima' by Diego Gutierrez and Hieronymus Cock, a map made to flatter King Philip II of Spain and celebrate the Spanish domination of the New World; and 'World Map' by Pierre Desceliers, a compendious 16th century world map made for the King of France, celebrating the discoveries of Jacques Cartier in Canada, and showing the myths, animals and natural history in their correct place in the world. British Library until 19th September.

The Lewis Chessmen: Unmasked uses new research to look at the mystery and intrigue surrounding the Lewis Chessmen. The exhibition comprises the whole collection of 83 ivory pieces, which are displayed with a range of other objects to illuminate their background. The display explores the stories surrounding their discovery, and shows how the characters reflected society at the time they were made. The Lewis Chessmen were discovered on the western shore of the Isle of Lewis in 1831, as part of a hoard of walrus ivory. The chessmen, between 3 and 4 inches high, are in the Romanesque style that was universal in northern and western Europe in the Middle Ages. With a few face pieces and most of the pawns missing, there are enough pieces to indicate they are from at least four chess sets, together with 14 plain ivory disks like the counters for playing board games. The pieces were probably made in Norway in the late 12th or early 13th centuries. As the largest and finest group of early chessmen to survive, they are one of the most significant archaeological discoveries ever made in Scotland. Few chessmen survive at all from the Middle Ages, and these are unparalleled in their high quality, humour and intricacy of design. A new study by the museum challenges the widely held view that they were part of a merchant's hoard when they were buried on Lewis, and suggests that they may have been used for games other than chess. It also proposes they may have been buried in a different place in Lewis than previously thought, and that the pieces may have been carved by up to 5 different craftsmen. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 19th September.