Private View held by Richard Andrews
Thomas Hope: Regency Designer showcases the work of one of the most influential designers and patron of the arts in Britain in the early 19th century. Thomas Hope played an important part in establishing the Regency style, reinterpreting ancient classical forms, and incorporating them into contemporary interiors. He opened his townhouse in Duchess Street, described as "the finest specimen of true taste in England", in order to educate British taste. This exhibition recreates the atmosphere of three of the rooms: the Vase Room, which displayed Hope's collection of ancient Greek and Roman vases in specially designed and decorated shelves and cabinets; the Egyptian Room, which combined ancient Egyptian antiquities with modern pieces of Egyptian inspired furniture, in a setting that used the pale yellow and blue/green of Egyptian pigments, relieved by black and gold; and the Aurora Room, designed as the setting of Hope's 'Aurora and Cephalus' statue, which evoked the sensation of dawn, through walls covered in mirrors, edged with black velvet, over which were draped curtains of black and orange satin. Also on display are watercolours and drawings of his country house Deepdene, alongside the original sculptures and furniture exhibited there, including an Egyptian revival chair, designed by Denon, and a neo-antique tripod table by Hope. In addition, the exhibition looks at Hope's role as a collector and patron, through the sculpture, paintings and furniture he commissioned, including Antonio Canova's statue 'Venus', and busts of Hope and his family by Bertel Thorvaldsen and John Flaxman. There is also a display of Hope's watercolours of classical sites and scenes of contemporary life in Greece, Turkey and Egypt, visited during his Grand Tour, together with his numerous publications on architecture, design and costume. Victoria & Albert Museum until 22nd June.
Henri Cartier-Bresson's Scrapbook: Photographs 1931 - 1946 is a unique insight into the work of one of the world's greatest photographers, which has been enormously influential on succeeding generations. Cartier-Bresson is particularly renowned for the purity of his methods, capturing his subjects at the point during which all the elements of a scene come together in a meaningful way. At the end of the Second World War - during which he was taken prisoner - Cartier-Bresson carefully printed and mounted a scrapbook of over 300 photographs, representing the first half of his career as a photographer. They were conceived as an initial selection for a major exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, a show that would catapult Cartier-Bresson onto the world stage and bring him international recognition. These photographs documented both his extensive travels, and his encounters with Surrealism and modern art. Some of the last photographs that he printed himself, they represent the most richly creative period in his career, and contain some of his most familiar and enduring images. All the original photographs have now been brought together and are on display for the first time in Britain. In the 1990s Cartier-Bresson began to remove most of the prints from the album, but a few original pages remained, and are shown in the exhibition, alongside reproductions of their reverse side, and the original scrapbook cover. National Media Museum, Bradford, until 1st June.
Brilliant Women: 18th Century Bluestockings explores the impact of the original 'Bluestocking Circle', a group of celebrated women writers, artists and thinkers who forged new links between gender, learning and virtue in Britain in the 1700s. These women were not just intellectually brilliant, they were exceptional, both for their individual accomplishments and for breaking the boundaries of what women could be expected to undertake or achieve. The exhibition combines some 50 works, including famous paintings by Romney, Kauffmann, Ramsay, Vigee-LeBrun and Robert Adam, rediscovered portraits, satirical prints and silhouettes, together with personal artefacts of members of the circle, such as letters, poems and diaries. Most spectacularly, there is an enamel and gold 'friendship box', commissioned to commemorate the intense emotional bonds between four youthful bluestocking friends, whose portraits it features. The display also considers the way a wider range of women, inspired by the model of the bluestockings, created a public profile for themselves. Portraits of the artist Angelica Kauffman, historian Catharine Macaulay and early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, reveal how women used portraiture to advance their work and reputations, in a period that began with the Enlightenment and ended with the onset of the French Revolution. Although the bluestockings made a substantial contribution to the creation and definition of a national culture, their intellectual participation and artistic interventions have largely been forgotten. This exhibition reveals the history and significance of the bluestockings and their culture. National Portrait Gallery until 15th June.
Doctor Who Exhibition is the largest staged so far, featuring over 100 models, props, costumes and monsters that have appeared in the programme since its regeneration three years ago. Sadly, rather than a history of the series from its beginnings in 1963, with classic monsters from each of the four decades, it is rather more a marketing exercise for the new series. Nevertheless, nasties such as the Weeping Angels, Cybermen, Slitheen, the Face of Boe, an Ood and K9 (not to mention Kylie Minogue's frock), plus of course Daleks, including the latest version actually flying, together with a close up view of the creature inside, make it worth a visit. In addition there are video clips and design drawings, as well as a life-size replica of the TARDIS itself (both inside and out). The high tech surroundings in which they are displayed include walls that light up and a video floor. There will also be some new creatures added from the new series as it unfolds and they make their appearance - although few will I suspect be as scary as Catherine Tate's acting ability. Museum Hall, Earls Court, London until 19th September.
Body Space explores the use and representation of clothing in contemporary art, and investigates the relationship between dress and personal identity, including ideas around gender, sexuality, normalcy, culture, status, and revelation versus concealment, as well as dress used as an extension of the body or psyche. Whereas the use of clothing in art became popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with the rise of feminism and the Women's Movement, today, its representation explores broader notions around personal identity. Susie MacMurray and Rhian Solomon explore the weight of guilt and external pressure put upon women to conform to an ideal body shape and weight; Susan Stockwell looks at British identity through dresses made from stained paper dress making patterns, coffee filters, maps and tissue; Stephen Craighill examines clothing as a means of conformity; and Suzanne Langston-Jones shows how clothing, on and off the body, can be used to create illusions and narratives, with her garments conjuring up childhood fairy stories and fantasies. A highlight of the exhibition is Yinka Shonibare's video of Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball) telling of the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden in 1792 through dance, in which costume is used to highlight the ambiguity of identity and gender. Tullie House Museum And Art Gallery, Carlisle, until 4th May.
Artful Practice: Architectural Drawings By Richard Norman Shaw RA reveals how Norman Shaw changed the face of English architecture in the last third of the 19th century. Working in the spirit of local vernacular building traditions, rather than to the letter of textbook historicism, he paved the way for the free style of the Arts and Crafts movement in the 1890s. Shaw's domestic work in particular touched with unerring instinct the Victorian imagination, creating homes and offices that were not only well planned for their owners to live and work in, but were also buildings to which the man in the street could feel an emotional tie. Although he was born in Edinburgh to an Irish father and Scottish mother, probably no other architect since Wren can claim to have defined more clearly for his time the Englishness of English architecture. A particular feature is the nautical flavour of some of Shaw's buildings. Half-timbered walls and gables, mullioned windows, sweeping roofs and high chimneystacks all symbolise a promise of shelter, but they also echo the wooden hulls, poop decks and towering masts and sails of the great ships upon which England's commercial prosperity had always depended. Developers of suburban housing have endlessly recycled Shaw's redefinition of English architecture well into the present time. A sense of the impact that Shaw wanted his work to have on posterity can be gained from the series of pen and ink perspectives that he put into the Royal Academy's annual exhibition in the 1870s and 1880s, now on view there again. Royal Academy of Arts, until 25th May.
Amazing Rare Things: The Art Of Natural History In The Age Of Discovery brings together the works of four artists and a collector who have shaped our knowledge of the natural world around us. Leonardo da Vinci, who used drawing to understand all natural forms; Cassiano dal Pozzo, who commissioned artists to record plants, birds and animals for his museo cartaceo; Alexander Marshal, whose flower book documents the contents of English gardens over the course of a year; Maria Sibylla Merian, who had lifelong fascination with flies, spiders and caterpillars; and Mark Catesby, who produced a comprehensive survey of the flora and fauna of the east coast of America; are diverse figures, who shared a passion for enquiry, and a fascination with the beautiful and bizarre in nature. All lived at times when new species were being discovered around the world in ever increasing numbers. Many of the plants and animals represented in the exhibition were then barely known in Europe. Today some are commonplace, while others are extinct.
Treasures From The Royal Collection is a further selection from the works of art acquired by kings and queens over 500 years, which have been brought together from royal residences across the UK. Highlights include paintings by Rembrandt, Canaletto, Winterhalter, and Gainsborough's only surviving mythological painting 'Diana and Actaeon', spectacular jewels, dazzling works by Faberge, and highly decorated suits of armour made for Prince Henry, son of James VI and I, as well as furniture, sculpture and ceramics, silver and gold ware arms, and historic pieces of porcelain that are still used for ceremonial occasions today.
The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, until 28th September.
Alberto Giacometti is an exhibition that focuses on a crucial decade in the development of a sculptural language that marks a major achievement in 20th century art. In 1945, at the end of the Second World War, when Alberto Giacometti returned to Paris from Geneva, he was working towards a new perception of reality governed by the figure in space. Sculptures, paintings and drawings created at this time show Giacometti moving away from the representation of a physical, bodily experience to explore a more optical sensation. Whilst this work is a departure from his earlier exploration of Surrealism, he retained the sense of an extraordinary encounter, as if seeing something familiar for the first time. Key sculptures in the exhibition, such as 'The Forest', 'Four Figurines on a Stand' and 'Standing Nude on a Cubic Base', present a distillation of Giacometti's ideas at this time, together with paintings including 'Jean Genet' and 'Annette', drawings such as 'Homage to Balzac' and 'Portrait of the Artist's Brother', and a series of lithographs created for the book 'Paris sans fin'. Giacometti continuously reworked specific themes, often using models he knew intimately, such as his wife Annette, his mother, and his brother Diego. In paintings the figure frequently emerges from a force field of lines, and Giacometti often used brushstrokes to gain an effect similar to the roughly pitted surfaces of his sculptures. Compton Verney House, Warwickshire, until 1st June.
Snapshots In Time: 150 Years Of Excellence celebrates the 150th anniversary of the opening of the present Royal Opera House in Covent Garden - the 3rd theatre on the site. A series of showcases and wall displays, located throughout the building, recall some of the great artists associated with the theatre, though costumes, paintings, caricatures and photographs. These include singers Enrico Caruso, Nellie Melba, Adelina Patti, Rosa Ponselle and Eva Turner, and dancers Margot Fonteyn, Vaslav Nijinsky and Rudolph Nureyev. However, the main focus of the exhibition is the theatre itself, reflecting the changes in the building, both front of house and back stage, during its life. It includes items of architectural salvage, such as pillars removed from the grand tier during the major redevelopment in 1997, together with architectural models of the redevelopment proposals, photographs of the Victorian stage machinery removed at that time, and pictures of members of the Royal College of Needlework embroidering the royal crest on the new red and gold stage curtains, together with the actual royal insignia from previous drapes. The exhibition also includes items not normally on public view, such as the chairs made for the Great Exhibition in 1851, donated by Queen Victoria for use in the Royal box. In addition, there is a documentary film charting the theatre's history, directed by Lynne Wake. Royal Opera House, Covent Garden until 4th August.
Blake's Shadow: William Blake And His Artistic Legacy explores the continuing influence on the world of creativity and ideas of a unique figure in British visual culture. William Blake has inspired people with such wide ranging interests as literature, painting, book design, politics, philosophy, mythology, music and film making. Alongside works by Blake himself, the exhibition spans two centuries of his influence, featuring around 60 watercolours, engravings, prints and paintings, in addition to numerous illustrated books and a range of audio visual material. His contemporaries in the late 18th and early 19th century are represented with works from John Flaxman, Edward Calvert, Samuel Palmer, J H Fuseli and Thomas Stothard. Blake's influence on artists in the Victorian period is explored through works by Ford Madox Brown, Walter Crane, Frederic Shields, John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Simeon Soloman and G F Watts. British artists working in the 20th and 21st centuries who have been inspired by Blake include Cecil Collins, Douglas Gordon, Paul Nash, Anish Kapoor, David Jones, Ceri Richards, Patrick Proctor, Austin Osman Spare and Keith Vaughan. Blake's more recent influence is evidenced in work by the filmmakers Jim Jarmusch and Gus Van Sant, and various musicians, notably Patti Smith and Jah Wobble. Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, until 20th April.
Robert Dighton: Georgian Caricaturist, Actor And Thief offers an insight into life and times of this colourful Georgian character, and is a reminder of the work of one of the most talented social caricaturists of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Dighton was quite a character himself, for a time conducting a career as an actor at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and Sadler's Wells, whilst at the same time training and exhibiting at the Royal Academy. He eventually settled to being an artist, drawing master and printseller, producing caricatures of the 'types' of the day, and humorous prints or 'drolls', which he sold in his shop in Charing Cross. In 1806 he achieved notoriety when it was discovered he had been quietly stealing prints from the British Museum and selling them over a period of several years. The exhibition features 80 original caricatures of both celebrities and nonentities, the rich and the poor, capturing the spirit of Georgian London. Among Dighton's subjects are Bill Richmond, the black American boxer, innkeeper and promoter; James Christie, founder of the famous auction house; James Bellingham, who assassinated the Prime Minister Spencer Percival; and Martha Gunn, who supplied bathing machines and prostitutes to the upper classes on their visits to fashionable Brighton. Dighton also drew tailors, actors, academics and the down-at-heel types who thronged the street corners of Georgian London. The exhibition includes some examples of work by his sons and grandsons who carried on the tradition of caricature. Cartoon Museum, London, until 20th April.
From Russia: French And Russian Master Paintings 1870 - 1925
provides a unique opportunity to explore the exchange that existed between French and Russian art during a crucial period that was witness to upheaval and revolution. The exhibition is grouped by four themes. The first features works by French and Russian realists, focusing on Russian landscape, contemporary social issues, and scenes from traditional peasant life, by Ilya Repin, Ivan Kramskoy, Isaak Levitan, Valentin Serov and Mikhail Nesterov, together with paintings by French artists Theodore Rousseau, Charles Daubigny, Jean-Francois Millet, Jules Bastien-Lepage and Albert Besnard. The second displays masterpieces from the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collections of Ivan Morosov and Sergei Shchukin, including Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, van Gogh, Gauguin and Picasso, and features one of the highlights of the show, Matisse's 'The Dance', which was commissioned by Shchukin. The third is devoted to the theatrical impresario and exhibition maker Sergei Diaghilev, with works by Alexander Benois, Leon Bakst, Boris Kustodiev, Nochiolas Roerich, Alexander Golovin and Valentin Serov. The fourth features Modernism and the cross-currents between Russian and French art: Wasily Kandinsky who combined the imagery of Russian fairy tales and Fauvist colour; Marc Chagall who adapted elements of French Cubism to a distillation of Russian-Jewish folklore; Cubo-Futurist works by artists such as Natalia Goncharova; and Suprematism, the radical, purely abstract style pioneered by Kazimir Malevich. Royal Academy of Arts, until 18th April.