News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 10th August 2005


The Houses Of Parliament are again open to visitors during the summer recess. The tour follows the processional route taken by the Queen when she performs the State Opening of Parliament. From the Sovereign's Entrance in the Victoria Tower, it passes through the Queen's Robing Room, the Royal Gallery, hung with portraits of monarchs past and present, and the Prince's Chamber, decorated with scenes from the reigns of the Tudors, before entering the red and gold elegance of the House of Lords, with the Royal Throne and Lord Chancellor's woolsack. Leaving the Lords via the Central Lobby, the tour passes through the Members Lobby and one of the two Division Lobbies before entering the House of Commons, with the Speaker's chair and ministers' dispatch boxes. Leaving the Commons, the tour passes through St Stephen's Hall, site of the original House of Commons, before ending in Westminster Hall, with its 14th century hammerbeam roof, where the trials of Charles I and Guy Fawkes were conducted. The Hall currently houses an exhibition marking the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot. The Houses of Parliament incorporate the remaining parts of the Palace of Westminster, the principal residence of the kings of England from the middle of the 11th century until 1512. The layout of the Palace is intricate, with its existing buildings containing nearly 1,200 rooms, 100 staircases and well over 2 miles of passages. Further information can be found on the Parliament web site via the link opposite. Houses of Parliament until 5th October.

Wolves, Princesses And Dragons: Wildlife And Fantasy Art showcases around 50 pieces of artwork by fantasy artist Geoff Taylor. They range across the three genres for which Taylor is best known: wildlife paintings of wolves, fantasy artwork for book covers, and illustrations for the sci-fantasy role playing gaming company Games Workshop, and its White Dwarf magazine. The show includes images created for Jeff Wayne's concept album for a musical version of HG Wells's 'The War of The Worlds'; pen and ink drawing illustrations of Wolf from the book 'Wolf Brother' by Michelle Paver; White Dwarf magazine covers High Elf with Dragon, Man O'War and Space Wolves; illustrations from all three books in JRR Tolkein's 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy; and covers for books by Raymond E Feist, including the Rift War, Krondor and Empire series, Katharine Kerr, including the Time series, and David Eddings, together with covers for books by children's authors such as Cliff McNish, Kevin Crossley-Holland and Diana Wynne-Jones. The Dock Museum, Barrow in Furness until 16th October.

The Cambridge Illuminations: Ten Centuries Of Book Production In The Medieval West is a two venue exhibition of over 200 illuminated manuscripts dating from 6th to the 16th centuries, many on public view for the first time. Sacred and secular, scientific and humanistic, historical and literary, the range of manuscripts on display showcases the work of some of the greatest medieval and Renaissance illuminators, and includes commissions by the most celebrated patrons of learning and art, including the Kings of France and England, the Dukes of Burgundy and the Medici. Among the highlights are the 6th century 'Gospels of St Augustine', the earliest medieval illuminated manuscript known in this country, over which new Archbishops of Canterbury still swear their oaths; the 13th century Trinity 'Apocalypse', the largest and most sumptuously illuminated of all English Apocalypses; the Peterborough Bestiary, the Free Warren Charter, and Statutes of England from Henry III to Richard II, as well as numerous books of hours, bestiaries, Bibles, encyclopaedias, scientific and mathematical manuscripts, university foundation charters, and historical, mythological and geographical treatises. An entire gallery is devoted to the display of individual leaves from the renowned Macclesfield Psalter, produced around 1330, and recently saved for the nation, providing a unique opportunity to see the richness and variety of its illustrations, using precious pigments and gold. They combine devotional imagery with depictions of every day life and grotesque creations of the wildest imagination. The Fitzwilliam Museum and Cambridge University Library, Cambridge until 11th December.


The State Rooms Of Buckingham Palace, which are used to receive and entertain guests of State on ceremonial and official occasions, have once again been thrown open to visitors. They are furnished with some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, Poussin, Canaletto and Claude; sculpture by Canova and Chantrey; Sevres porcelain; and some of the finest English and French furniture in the world. This year, the focus of the special display is the State Visit to France made by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in July 1938. The centrepiece of which is the 'White Wardrobe' designed for the Queen by Norman Hartnell, which caused a sensation, and was immortalised in Cecil Beaton's famous series of photographs. Among the dresses in the display are the crinoline worn by the Queen to the State Banquet at the Elysee Palace, and the lace dress chosen for the garden party in the Bagatelle Gardens in the Bois de Boulogne, together with spectacular diamond jewellery. Also on display are the gifts presented by the French President, including a Rene Lalique glass table service, watercolours by Edouard Vuillard, Raoul Dufy and Maurice Utrillo, and two dolls, France and Marianne, with their clothes and accessories designed by the most famous Parisian couturiers of the 1930s. Visitors can also enjoy a walk in the 39 acre garden with its 19th century lake, which provide a haven for wild life in the centre of London, and offer views of the Garden Front of the Palace. Buckingham Palace until 27th September.

Surrealism In Britain looks at how the Surrealist movement, which had been born in Paris in 1922, caused a public uproar when it arrived in Britain with the International Surrealist Exhibition in 1936. The exhibition was a sensation, seen by over 23,000 visitors in four weeks. Prime movers behind the show were Roland Penrose, the young poet David Gascoyne and Herbert Read. Penrose had been closely involved with Surrealists such as Andre Breton, Paul Eluard, Max Ernst, Salvador Dali and Joan Miro in Paris, and he persuaded them to contribute to the show. Among the British artists recruited were Eileen Agar, Edward Burra, John Banting, Reuben Mendikoff, Henry Moore, F E McWilliam and Paul Nash, some of whom did not know that they were Surrealists until so designated by the show's selectors. Indeed the works of the British contingent tended to be more 'idiosyncratic oddball' than wholeheartedly Surrealist. Nevertheless, this display follows the growth of the movement in this country through the late 1930s and into the 1940s, with paintings, drawings, photographs, documents, objects and printed ephemera. Dean Gallery, Edinburgh until 18th September.

Spirit Of Place: Landscapes In British Printmaking celebrates the landscape tradition in British printmaking over the last 100 years, including recent acquisitions on view for the first time. The works in the exhibition embrace a wide range styles and techniques, from realistic to surrealistic, and etchings to screenprints. Among the artists and works featured are Frederick Landseer Maur Griggs's 'Sellenger', whose plate he worked on over many years, re-etching the sky and burnishing areas of copper to achieve the perfect tonal balance; Keith Vaughan, whose lithographs combine abstract forms with elements taken directly from landscape as in 'Landscape 1949'; Paul Nash, whose 'Void of War', is part of his record of the scenes of death and destruction that he encountered on the plains of the Flanders; Joseph Webb, whose plates are based on mystical religious feelings and a sense of awe in the face of ancient buildings as in 'Rat Barn'; Graham Sutherland's 'The Garden', in which the imagery is more stylised and abstracted than in his early work, with the atmosphere more psychologically charged and disquieting; Paul Drury's 'Evening England', a subtle re-working of a previous wood engraving, with tiny 'points of light' created by allowing the paper to show through the hatched lines; and Peter Lanyon's 'Underground', an almost abstract work, suggesting dark cavities - perhaps mineshafts, caves or ancient burial grounds - lit by glimpses of sky. Victoria & Albert Museum until 1st November.

Gunpowder Treason marks the 400th anniversary of the audacious plan to blow up the House of Lords, and with it the government of the day, most of the royal family including King James I, the majority of the aristocracy and the Palace of Westminster. This audio-visual display, tells the story of the arrest, imprisonment, torture and death of Guy Fawkes and the other gunpowder plotters. The Tower of London had a key role in the gunpowder plot story: the 36 barrels of gunpowder planted under the Palace of Westminster were delivered there after the plotter's arrests; Fawkes and the leading conspirators were imprisoned and tortured there in order to get them to reveal who was behind the plan; and seven men left its gates the following January to be executed. The display also explores the historic role of gunpowder, what the effect would have been on the London landscape and British history if the plotters had been successful, and examines the continuing historical importance of the gunpowder plot, with regard to modern political events, religious terrorism and conspiracy investigations. In addition to the display, there is a programme of associated events, including costumed interpretations of the final days of the plotters, and demonstrations of sword fighting and other weaponry used at the time, culminating on the actual anniversary in an interactive costumed event that explores the panic, conspiracies and chaos that would have ensued if the plot had succeeded. Tower of London until June.

The American West offers the first opportunity for Britain to view an extensive collection of rarely seen historical material from an era that continues to hold a global fascination, bound up with myths arising from European expansion across North America. The exhibition also brings this mythology up to date, exploring the cowboy culture that has emerged from the election of the current incumbent of the White House. In telling a series of visual stories it reveals how the west was really won, exploring themes such as invasion and genocide; frontiersmen; captivity narratives; the first official Indian wars; Native American encounters with white settlers and the U.S. army; natural resources and environment, and Hollywood and the cowboy. Included in the exhibition are historical depictions of the subject by Charles M Russell, Arthur Tait, Charles Schreyvogel and Alfred Jacob Miller; 19th century Plains Indian Ledger drawings; art and craft made by Indian prisoners, works by contemporary Native North American artists including Minerva Cuevas, Kent Monkman, Edward Poitras, James Luna and Cisco Jimenez; and interpretations on the theme by Ed Ruscha, Elaine Reichek, Luigi Ontani and Ed Kienholz. In addition, the exhibition contains a diverse selection of historic ephemera from popular culture, including documentation relating to Buffalo Bill's roadshow, period photographs, dime novels, billboards, film posters and John Fitzgerald Kennedy's presentation colt gun. Compton Verney until 29th August.

Graham Sutherland revisits a major figure, now somewhat neglected, who dominated the British art scene from the 1920s to the 1960s. This exhibition concentrates on the period from the mid 1930s, when Sutherland established his identity as a modern painter, to around 1950, when his influence began to wane. It looks in depth at two strands of his imagery, the landscapes derived mainly from visits to Pembrokeshire and the South of France, before and after the Second World War; and the scenes of devastation and production created for the War Artists scheme. In addition, there are small sections on the early 1920s etchings, which introduced certain fundamentals of his art, and on the emergence of his portraiture with 'Somerset Maugham' in 1949. To place Sutherland's work historically, and to bring out certain features, the exhibition includes selected works by other artists in whom he took an interest, such as Blake, Palmer, Nash, and Masson. It brings together the types of work that gave rise to a widespread consensus, amongst fellow artists, as well as critics and collectors, that Sutherland was the most exciting and compelling voice in contemporary British painting. The dramatic colour and lighting, and the semi abstract forms in his pictures, both the landscapes and the wartime images of bombed buildings, mines and factory interiors, produced an atmosphere of gloom and foreboding that, in those traumatic times, struck a powerful emotional chord. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 25th September.


Cecily Brown: Paintings is the first major solo exhibition in Britain of the sensuous and flamboyant paintings by this English born but New York resident artist. It is a survey of her work over the past ten years across themes of the figure, landscape and the relationship of painting to its own history. Brown is a 21st century baroque. Her large scale canvasses are densely worked and packed with imagery in which grappling figures and pastoral landscapes explode into an abstract frenzy of illicit views and fragmentary parts. Brown's repertoire is indebted as much to porn magazines, comic books and Hollywood movies as it is to De Kooning, Rubens, Bacon, Goya, and Hogarth. Brown engages with the experience of painting as an intensely physical act, and as a result, her works express a sense of joy in the application of paint to canvass. The sheer energy of her work is a contributing factor in the current revival of interest in painting. The exhibition presents a selection of Brown's most significant paintings, including 'Performance', 'Wood', 'Two Figures in a Landscape', 'Bacchanal', and work from the 'Black Painting' series, together with her recent large scale paintings, in which Cezannesque compositions slide into wildly rendered 'junkscapes'. Also included is the film Four Letter Heaven, a sexy watercolour animation that marked a turning point in Brown's career. Modern Art Oxford until 28th August.

Mountains And Water: Chinese Landscape Painting is a display exploring the traditions and qualities of Chinese painting. The Chinese term for landscape is made up of the two characters meaning Mountains and Water. They represent a natural balance of male and female elements in the universe, with Mountains the male Yang element, and water the female Yin element. Mountains were also associated with religion because of their proximity to the heavens: looking at paintings of mountains was therefore thought to be good for the soul. Landscapes were not painted from life however, but were idealized and imaginary. The exhibition includes works painted onto ceramics, fans and mounted as albums, though most of the paintings are in the form of hanging scrolls. These scrolls were not intended for permanent display, but were unrolled in a ceremonial act for special viewings. This is partly due to the delicate nature of the ink and colour used, which would fade if exposed for too long. Connoisseurs of Chinese painting did not view the work from a distance, but approached close to 'read the painting' as it was revealed one scene at a time. Paintings often incorporate both calligraphy and poetry, as men of culture were expected to be accomplished at all three of these 'excellences'. Inscriptions on paintings sometimes describe how or when a painting was produced or for whom. Artists often collected miniature mountains, carved out of different stones, to place on their desk as an inspirational reminder of the natural landscape, and examples of these are included in the display. British Museum until 28th August.

Heroes & Villains is a collaboration between the caricaturist Gerald Scarfe and the National Portrait Gallery. It juxtaposes the pen and ink drawings of contemporary and historical figures by the illustrator, animator and designer with portraits from the National Portrait Gallery's collection. Scarfe's distortions of well known figures reveal the wit and vision of an exceptional draughtsman. This is a general retrospective, with subjects as wide ranging as Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Oswald Mosley, Virginia Woolf, Winston Churchill, Graham Green, the Beatles, Margaret Thatcher and Diana, Princess of Wales. In the portraits the sitters are afforded dignity and grace, but then Scarfe tears into them with his customary savagery. Alongside Scarfe's work, there is a display of his historical influences, such as Hogarth and Gillray. In addition, visitors can delve into the world of caricature and portraiture through a range of hands on activities. Millennium Galleries Sheffield until 21st August.