News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 9th September 2009


The Art Of Plant Evolution is where art meets science, in an exhibition of botanical paintings arranged in the latest evolutionary sequence, determined by recent DNA analysis. New genetic discoveries have changed the nomenclature and evolutionary sequence of many plants during the last ten years. The paintings display a sampling of the plant world from fungi to daisies, including algae, mosses, ferns, conifers and flowering plants. The exhibition comprises 136 paintings by 84 contemporary artists from countries such as China, Australia, Japan and Britain, displaying 50 orders of plants, in 118 families, for a total of 133 species. This provides a sweeping overview of the evolution of plants on earth. Highlights include Manabu Saito's depiction of the colourful river weed Mourera fluviatilis; paintings by two members of the famous Demonte family of Brazilian artists, including the tropical 'Brazilian Dutchman's pipe'; and Beverly Allan's 'Wollemi Pine', featuring one of the oldest and rarest species of tree in the world, formerly believed to be extinct, which was rediscovered in Australia in 1994. There are also over 20 plant fossils, some dated from over 370 million years ago, including fern fronds, leaves of cycads, the Wollemi pine, ginkgoes and poplar, together with tiny walnuts and peas in a pod. These are placed near the matching paintings of their relatives living today. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew until 3rd January 2010.

Blackpool Illuminations have extended the holiday season and entertained visitors to the seaside town since 1879, when 8 plain electric arc lamps bathed the Promenade in what was described as 'artificial sunshine'. While the basic idea remains the same, the style and scale of Blackpool's end of season electrical extravaganza have little in common with that first experiment in lighting. Traditional lamps are still used, but now alongside the newest technology such as lasers, fibre-optics, low-voltage neon and even real fire and water. The show now costs £2.4m to stage, and stretches for six miles of spectacular colour, light and movement. New features this year include the Rengoli Peacock, using video projection and LED lighting, as well as sound effects, music and eye catching imagery to tell the story of Divali; 3 new monsters, including the Red Darlek, in an expanded Dr Who section; and a laser projected tableau featuring all the CBBC favourites, including 'In The Night Garden'. Visitors can become part of the display, as they travel along the Promenade aboard a tram dressed up by lights as a wild west train, ocean liner or space rocket, from dusk to 11.30pm most nights. Blackpool Promenade, until 8th November.

London Open House is the annual scheme that allows public access to architecturally interesting but usually private buildings across the capital. Over 700 buildings of all kinds, both historic and new, include Hackney Empire, National and Sadler's Wells theatres; King's Place, Royal Albert and Wigmore concert halls; Admiralty Buildings Whitehall, Horse Guards and Marlborough House; Brockwell Lido, Greenwich Yacht Club and London Regatta Centre; Foster and Partners and Hopkins Architects' offices; Bank of England, Apothecaries and Painters Livery Halls; Alexander Palace TV studios and theatre, BBC Bush House and Sands Film Studios; Gray's Inn, Middle Temple Hall and the Royal Courts of Justice; Dorchester, Grosvenor House and Andaz (Great Eastern) hotels; Brompton, Kensal Green and Nunhead cemeteries; City Hall and Guildhall; Dulwich College, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Old Royal Naval College Greenwich; Beefeater Distillery, King George V Pumping Station and Markfiel Beam Engine House; Old Turkish Baths Bishopsgate, Roof Gardens Kensington and the 2012 Olympic Park construction site. There are also talks, conducted walks and other accompanying special events taking place at various locations over the course of the weekend. Entrance is free, but because of limited access, a few of the buildings require prebooking. Further details and how to obtain a directory of participating buildings can be found on the London Open House web site via the link from Festivals in the Others section of ExhibitionsNet. Across London on 19th and 20th September.


Undercover - Life In Churchill's Bunker examines the living and working conditions in the Cabinet War Rooms during the Second World War. The exhibition draws on new personal accounts to build a picture of life under London streets, where events of the war were shaped, and world changing decisions made. Stories, historic images, documents, letters, previously unseen personal objects, and the voices of War Room veterans combine to create the tense, but often humorous, atmosphere in the series of rooms selected as the secret headquarters for Churchill, his war cabinet, and intelligence processing centre. Created in 1938, the War Rooms were originally the storage areas of the Office of Works Building, but were soon pressed into service as the country's operational nerve centre. By 27th August 1939, a week before the invasion of Poland, the rooms were fully operational, and remained the central shelter for government and military strategists for 6 years, staffed 24 hours a day. The exhibition examines the safety and security of the War Rooms, shows Churchill's idiosyncratic methods of operation, how people worked with him, and how they coped with a daily underground existence in 14 hour shifts throughout the entire war. Among the key objects on display for the first time are a transcript of the speech made by Churchill on 9th September 1940, accusing Hitler of trying to terrorise Britain, with several handwritten notes added to the original draft; and a letter recounting Churchill's forthright reaction on finding out that the War Rooms were not actually bomb proof. Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms, Whitehall, until 30th September 2010.

Picturing Britain: Paul Sandby celebrates the bicentenary of the death of the artist who is best known for promoting British landscapes, at a time when Italianate views were the normal artistic fare. However, this exhibition, bringing together artworks including drawings, watercolours and gouaches, etchings, aquatints and a few rare oils, also reveals Paul Sandby as an acute observer of society and razor-sharp satirist. The kind of landscape that Sandby painted is so familiar now, that it is hard to realise how innovative it was when it was first created. Sandby took the 'topographical scene' and developed it into 'art'. Although he was an artist well versed in continental traditions, his early employment as a map maker and topographical draughtsman led him to produce carefully observed and composed views of the native British landscape, including scenes taken in and around London, and on extensive tours through the great estates of England, Wales and Scotland. He often collaborated on paintings with his elder brother, who was an architect, landscape designer and draughtsman, and they shared a fascination both with perspective and with the camera obscura. Sandby's pictures always reward a closer look, as they are richly peopled and animated, revealing a world where work, social interaction, arrivals and departures along roads and tracks, take place against a backdrop of antiquities and natural wonders, landscape parks and forests, road side inns, forges and gallows. Nottingham Castle, until 18th October.

Andre Kertesz: On Reading is the first time images from the On Reading series by the Hungarian born photographer have been exhibited in Britain. Andre Kertesz was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century. These photographs, taken between 1915 and 1980 in the many places he lived, visited and worked, including Argentina, France, Hungary, Britain and America, are a celebration of the absorptive power and pleasure of reading. Kertesz was intrigued by the universal appeal of reading, revelling in the privacy of the moment. Over the course of his career, Kertesz captured readers of all ages in various locations - on rooftops and balconies, in parks, on crowded streets, at train stations, in libraries - creating a poetic study of the act of reading. The photographs range from abstract formal compositions to playful, often humorous observations, a signature style of Kertesz's work. Some photographs in the exhibition also celebrate the book as an object, through paintings, still life compositions and images of book shelves and library interiors. At the moment when digital technologies threaten to render the printed page obsolete, this exhibition is a timely, humorous and nostalgic reminder of the importance of the book, and the culture of reading. The Photographers' Gallery, London, until 4th October.

Outbreak 1939 examines events surrounding Britain's declaration of war on Germany at 11.15am on 3rd September 1939 and looks at how the country mobilised. Seventy ears after the announcement that signified the start of the Second World War and changed the lives of millions, this exhibition explores how being a nation at war shaped the lives of ordinary men and women, as well as those who were actively involved in the political negotiations and their aftermath. Historical material and personal memorabilia illustrate the build up to war, an hour by hour countdown of events on 3rd September, and the early months of the conflict. Among the items on display are the jacket worn by King George VI when he broadcast to the nation; a wedding dress worn for a hastily rearranged ceremony when the outbreak of the war appeared imminent; a purse and coin belonging to an 11 year old boy who survived the sinking of the SS Athenia, the first British merchant vessel to be destroyed by a German U Boat; the medal awarded to Thomas Priday, the first British soldier to be killed in action; the German machine gun taken as a souvenir by fighter ace 'Cobber' Kain from the first aircraft he shot down; a teddy bear belonging to a little girl evacuated from London; and posters informing (and cajoling) the public of what was expected of them. Despite only limited military action during the early months of on the home front, a nationwide blackout was introduced on the 1st September, barrage balloons were launched and air raid precautions taken, the carrying of gas masks and identity cards became compulsory, and plans to evacuate civilians from towns and cities were put into action, so that millions of children's lives changed forever. Imperial War Museum until 6th September 2010

Endless Forms: Charles Darwin, Natural Science And The Visual Arts reveals the impact of Charles Darwin's theories on artists of the late 19th century. The exhibition explores both Darwin's interest in the visual arts, and the vast range of artistic responses to his revolutionary ideas, through a diverse selection of exhibits from around the world. It is arranged in a sequence of thematic sections, which together highlight the significance of visual traditions for Darwin, and the often surprising ways in which his theories inspired artists. The display brings together nearly 200 objects, including paintings, drawings, watercolours, prints, photographs, sculptures, caricatures, illustrated books and a range of natural history specimens. Some of the paintings are by famous artists, such as J M W Turner, Frederick Church, Edwin Landseer, Monet, Degas and Cezanne, while other spectacular works are by lesser known artists such as John Gould, Bruno Liljefors, Felicien Rops and American landscapists. Art works are seen in juxtaposition with scientific material of all sorts, from geological maps and botanical teaching diagrams, to fossils, minerals, and ornithological specimens. They reveal the many interactions between natural science and art during this period. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, until 4th October.

Da Vinci Inventions: Leonardo And His Machines explores in detail Leonardo Da Vinci's relationship with technology. The exhibition consists of almost 50 full scale, half scale and smaller interactive models of machines for flight, engineering and motion designed by Leonardo. These models have been created over a 10 year period by a team of Italian artisans working in Rome, who have collaborated with historians and academics to construct the machines based on a close study of Leonardo's notebooks and drawings, utilising only materials and techniques known in Renaissance Italy. The challenges they faced included having to understand Florentine dialect, the interpretation and analysis of Leonardo's drawings, reading mirrored writing to decipher his notes, and recognising the mistakes in his drawings and information deliberately put in to mislead. The models are shown alongside the drawings on which they are based, one of Leonado's original notebooks, known as a codex, and a display charting his life and career. Among the models on display are: The Autotraction Car, an articulation crossbow mechanism for propulsion; The Flying Machine, a dynamic device that uses all the parts of the body for its propulsion; and The Tank, an example of Leonardo's genius as a military engineer. The Lightbox, Woking, until 1st November.


Futurism celebrates the centenary of the dramatic art movement, launched by the Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, with the publication of the Manifesto of Futurism on the front page of Paris newspaper Le Figaro. Drawing upon elements of Divisionism and Cubism, the Futurists created a new style that broke with old traditions and expressed the dynamism, energy and movement of their modern life. The exhibition both showcases the work of key Futurists, such as Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni, Gino Severini, Carlo Carra and Luigi Russolo, and explores art movements reacting to Futurism. Highlights include Umberto Boccioni's dynamic bronze 'Unique Forms of Continuity in Space'; Carlo Carra's 'Funeral of the Anarchist, Galli'; Gino Severini's 'Dance of the 'Pan-Pan' at the Monico'; and responses to the challenge represented by Futurism in works such as Delaunay's 'Eiffel Tower'; Jacob Epstein's 'Torso in Metal from the Rock Drill'; and Picasso's 'Head of a Woman (Fernande)' and 'Pipe, Glass, Bottle of Vieux Marc', onto which he pasted the Futurist periodical, Lacerba. There are aslo major works by artists such as Georges Braque, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Kasimir Malevich, Natalya Goncharova, Liubov Popova, David Bomberg, Wyndham Lewis and C R W Nevinson. Tate Modern until 20th September.

Beyond Bloomsbury: Designs Of The Omega Workshops 1913 - 1919 explores a radical chapter in the history of 20th century British craft and design. Established in 1913 by the painter and influential art critic Roger Fry, the Omega Workshops were an experimental design collective, whose members included Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Wyndham Lewis, Frederick Etchells, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Winifred Gill and other artists of the Bloomsbury Group. The Omega Workshops brought the experimental language of avant-garde art to domestic design in Edwardian Britain. They were a laboratory of design ideas, creating a range of objects for the home, from rugs and linens to ceramics, furniture and clothing, all boldly coloured with dynamic abstract patterns. No artist was allowed to sign their work, and everything produced by the Workshops bore only the Greek letter Omega. The exhibition combines original Omega working drawings with the finest examples of the Workshops' printed linens, Cubist-inspired hand knotted rugs, woven wools and painted silks, as well as ceramics and furniture. Highlights include the 'Peacock Stole' of chiffon silk painted in primary colours, with a motif of confronting peacocks, unseen for 50 years; Vanessa Bell's painted screen 'Bathers in a Landscape', a transitional object between fine and decorative art; a rug designed for Lady Ian Hamilton's flat at 1 Hyde Park Gardens, with working drawings revealing aspects of the design, commissioning and manufacturing process; and the original signboard painted by Duncan Grant, which hung above the entrance to the workshops. Running alongside the main exhibition is a display of work by Winifred Gill, who ran and organised the Workshop during the First World War The Coutauld Gallery, Somerset House, until 20th September.

Corot To Monet charts the development of open air landscape painting in the century up to the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874. The display features some 90 small scale paintings by the major artists of this genre, revealing the achievements of these early plein-air painters, and their far reaching influence on the Impressionists, as they began exploring new techniques. The exhibition opens with scenes by Jean-Bapiste-Camille Corot, Simon Denis and Pierre Henri Valenciennes, who were among artists that gathered in Rome in the 18th and 19th centuries, setting out to paint picturesque locations in the Campagna outside the city. The major part of the show focuses on the work of the Barbizon School, demonstrating how painters such as Theodore Rousseau, Jean Francois Millet and Narcisse-Virgilio Diaz de la Pena captured their native scenery to great effect. Highlights include Corot's 'The Roman Campagna, with the Claudian Aqueduct', capturing a broad, sunlit landscape hung with majestic clouds in a single layer of paint, and 'The Four Times of the Day', a quartet of panels, completed in just a week at the studio of Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps, drawn from reminiscences of the Italian terrain; Rousseau's 'The Valley of Saint-Vincent', evoking the wild, unspoilt nature of the Auvergne with long, fluid brushstrokes; Richard Parkes Bonington's 'La Ferte', realising the sand, sea and sky of the Picardy coastline with broad sweeps of his brush; Diaz de la Pena's 'Sunny Days in the Forest' a lively celebration of spring skies and rich foliage; and Monet's 'The Beach at Trouville' displayed alongside the beach scenes of Eugene Boudin and late works by Corot. National Gallery until 20th September.