News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 11th April 2007


A New World: England's First View Of America features the only surviving original visual records of 16th century America, over 70 drawings, on display together for the first time in 40 years. John White, a gentleman and artist, sailed with the earliest expeditions to Virginia, and produced a series of watercolours that precisely documented the lives and culture of the North Carolina Algonquian Indians, how they farmed and hunted, and the local flora and fauna. White was sent to produce visual records and maps of what Walter Raleigh found on his voyages of exploration, in order to encourage further investment, and colonist settlers, for a permanent English 'plantation' in the New World. His drawings were vitally important in forming the way that Europe viewed America and its inhabitants. They now provide a glimpse of the land and indigenous people as they encountered Europeans for the first time. The exhibition considers the lasting impact John White's watercolours had on the Old World's impression of America. His legacy continued for over 250 years after his death, thanks to the reproduction and adaptation of his work by later artists, a selection of which are included. The exhibition also features Elizabethan portraits, and maritime and scientific instruments, alongside historic maps, books, prints and other objects that relate to Elizabethan navigation, and help to capture the sense of the golden age of exploration. British Museum until 17th June.

Poets In The Landscape: The Romantic Spirit In British Art, celebrates the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Blake by exploring the creative links between poetry, the pastoral vision and British art, from the 1770s to the 1950s. The exhibition opens with George Romney's portrait of William Hayley, patron and friend to Romantic artists and poets, including Blake (who began his illustrated book 'Milton: A Poem' while working for Hayley), William Cowper, John Flaxman, George Romney, Charlotte Smith and Joseph Wright of Derby. Blake's influence on the pastoral imagery of Samuel Palmer during the 1820s is uncovered in the second part of the exhibition. Blake and Palmer's legacy is then reflected in the 1920s 'Etching Revival' period, when artists Paul Drury, F L Griggs, Robin Tanner and Graham Sutherland created poetic and nostalgic images of the English countryside in response to the horrors of the First World War. The final part of the exhibition moves to the 1940s, when artists John Piper, John Craxton, John Minton, Ceri Richards, Julian Trevelyan and Keith Vaughan found refuge from a war torn England in poetry and in a rural and idealised British landscape. Their search for a 'paradise lost' was epitomised by Palmeresque depictions of sleeping poets in bucolic landscapes, and the melancholy images included in the literary publications Penguin New Writing, Horizon and Poetry London, became a platform for the art and poetry of the period. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 10th June.

James 'Athenian' Stuart is the first comprehensive retrospective of the the work of the pioneer of Neo-Classicism, best known for designing Spencer House in St James's Park, and the Royal Hospital Greenwich. It reveals Stuart as an architect, artist and taste maker, and sets his work in the context of 18th century design culture. The creation of the 'Greek Style' and its impact on British design in the late 18th century is largely due to Stuart's landmark publication Antiquities of Athens. This influential book was the first accurate record of Classical Greek architecture, and served as a principal source book for architects and designers well into the 19th century. The exhibition displays Stuart's talents across the visual arts, from paintings to garden monuments, and from interior decorative schemes to medals. Over 200 items on view include rarely seen sketchbooks, paintings, ornamental objects, furniture, architectural designs and specially commissioned photographs of his interiors. Among the highlights are a copy of the book Antiquities of Athens; the Wentworth Woodhouse tripod perfume burner, the first made in metal since ancient times, which became a standard part of the Neo-Classical repertoire; a plate warmer for Kedleston Hall, one of the most ambitious gilt-metal objects of its time; the setee with a curved back, designed specifically to fit into the curved apse of the Painted Room at Spencer House; designs for the decoration of the end walls in a state room at Kedleston Hall; and a portrait medallion of James Stuart made by Josiah Wedgewood. Victoria & Albert Musreum until 24th June.


Luigi Colani: Translating Nature reviews the work of the maverick of 20th century design, who placed organic design on the contemporary agenda. In a career spanning six decades, Colani produced biodynamic designs for cars, boats, planes and consumer goods, as well as creating altenative futuristic concepts for the design of transport and architecture. Indeed, Colani describes himself not as a designer, but as an 'evolutionary biologist'. He emphasised the importance and evolutionary potential of design at an early date, often pre-empting major trends by decades. Colani began his career in the car industry, producing the first all plastic body for Simca. He treated car (and truck, boat and plane) designs as sculptures, not only creating spectacular biomorphic shapes, but enhancing performance through a knowledge of aerodynamics. Setting up his own studio, he applied the concept of sculptural foms, often inspired by nature, and executed in the new medium of molded plastic, to a wide range of objects, from the domestic, including furniture, to the industrial. Large scale projects, some of which have been realised, and some of which remain concepts, have included racing cars, a transatlantic glider, and a 'Judge Dredd' style streamlined truck. Perhaps Colani's best known design is the Canon T90 camera, which spread his biomorphic ideas across the world. The exhibition brings together a collection large scale prototypes, including trucks, aircraft and cars. Design Museum, London until 17th June.

Lynette Wallworth is the first solo show in Britain of works by the Australian artist who creates immersive installations. These rely on activation or participation from the visitor, creating an interplay between image, sound and space, by combining light and transparency with interactive technology. The exhibition brings together three works that employ glass as both an interface for interaction, and a surface for projected video, still photographic and film imagery. Wallworth describes her intention as 'bringing together technological advances and ancient understandings, new media and old practices, electronics and the electricity of human touch'. 'Damavand Mountain' is a video installation based on imagery filmed by Wallworth in Iran, an exploration of the global and governmental forces that shape the lives of the people there. 'Hold: Vessel 1' is comprised of synchronised light and sound, in which the visitor carries a glass bowl across a dark space, and has to 'catch' projected images of underwater life, intended to celebrate the microscopic forms of life. 'Invisible by Night' is a video installation that responds to touch, presenting a projection of a life sized grief stricken woman, whose eternal pacing can be quietly interrupted by the visitor, which Wallworth created in response to the layered history of the site of Melbourne's first morgue. The National Glass Centre, Sunderland, until 17th June.

A Slap In The Face!: Futurists In Russia is a comprehensive examination of the Futurist movement in Russia, exploring the energetic, creative and occasionally violent encounter of East and West in the arena of avant-garde art, comparing and contrasting the Russian protagonists with their Italian contemporaries. The exhibition's title refers to the Russian Futurist's sackcloth-bound manifesto 'A Slap in the Face of Public Taste' published in 1912, which established their movement as something very different from their elitist Italian contemporaries. When Marinetti, the founder of Futurism, visited Russia in 1914, his revolutionary zeal was admired by some, but artist Mikhail Larionov suggested he be pelted with rotten eggs. There were many qualities the two movements shared - the enthusiasm for war, the love of technology, the obsession with finding ways to depict rapid motion - but Russian artists like Chagall and Popova also found revolutionary qualities in the simple, the childish and the innocent. The exhibition includes Goncharova's 'Cyclist', 'The Forest' and 'Mystical Images', Kruchenykh's 'Universal War', and Larinov's 'Blue Rayism', together with works full of colour, wit and life by Chagall, El Lissitsky, Malevich, Popova and Rosanova, alongside some of the frenzied creations of Italian Futurists Balla, Boccioni and Severini. Estorick Collection, London, until 10th June.

Surreal Things: Surrealism And Design is the first exhibition to explore the influence of Surrealism on the world of design - theatre, interiors, fashion, film, architecture and advertising. Alongside paintings by Magritte, Ernsta and Dali are some of the most extraordinary objects of the 20th century, from Dali's 'Mae West lips' sofa and 'Lobster Telephone', to Elsa Schiaparelli's 'Tear' and 'Skeleton' dresses, and Meret Oppenheims's 'Table with Bird's Legs'. With nearly 300 exhibits, the show looks at how artists engaged with design, and designers were inspired by Surrealism. Among the highlights are Giorgio de Chirico's set and costume designs for Diaghilev's Le Bal; Dali's 'Venus de Milo aux tiroirs' and 'Arm' chair; Oscar Dominguez's satin lined 'Wheelbarrow' arm chair and 'Fur' bracelet; Marcel Jean's tromp l'oeil 'Armoire Surrealiste' and 'Le Spectre du Gardenia'; Alberto Giacometti's 'Disagreeable object'; Isamu Noguchi's 'Cloud' sofa; a model of Frederick Kiesler's Surrealist room from Peggy Guggenheim's The Art of This Century Gallery in New York; examples of how Surrealist imagery was adopted and popularised in advertising by companies such as Shell and Ford, and in magazines such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar; film clips, including the dream sequence from Alfred Hitchcock's 'Spellbound'; and a study of Monkton, the purple painted Sussex home of the Surrealist patron Edward James. Victoria & Albert Museum until 22nd July.

Lady Mary Wortley Montague celebrates the life of one of the most influential women of the 18th century, described by one of her contemporaries, Joseph Spence, as "the most wise, the most imprudent, loveliest, disagreeablest, best natured, cruellest woman in the world". Lady Mary Wortley Montague was a key figure in the introduction of the smallpox inoculation in England, a practice she came across while living in Turkey. She left her husband and spent many years travelling across Europe, where she embraced the cultures of the countries she visited. A close friend of the women's rights campaigner Mary Astell, she fought resistance to new ideas, and led a defiantly non-conformist lifestyle. Intelligent, witty and sometimes eccentric, Lady Mary composed hundred of letters throughout her life, commenting on both her experiences, and the work of other writers of the period, such as Alexander Pope, Samuel Richardson and Jonathon Swift. Centred on a portrait of Lady Mary by Jonathan Richardson, this exhibition brings together a selection of paintings and prints depicting the lady herself, her family, friends and adversaries, alongside a selection of their original letters, providing a vivid picture of 18th century society and cultural life. Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield until 3rd June.

Camouflage explores the story of the development of military camouflage, and its adoption into popular culture, from the First World War to the present day. It explains how the introduction of aerial surveillance led to the need to camouflage guns, equipment and buildings, how artists sought to confuse U-boats by painting ships in 'Dazzle' zig-zag patterns; why camouflage uniforms were adopted world wide in place of the colourful uniforms of the 19th century; and how over recent decades, through art, design and fashion, the original use of camouflage has been subverted to make the wearer stand out rather than disappear. Among the military exhibits are some of the hand painted disruptive pattern uniforms made for the first camouflage unit set up by the French army in 1915, dummy heads created by the sculptor Henry Bouchard, which were held up above trenches to locate German snipers during the First World War; the original 'Dazzle' plans and ship models; an armour plated fake tree used as an observation post; and rubber bear feet issued to agents landing behind enemy lines to disguise their shoe prints. Other diverse items featured in the exhibition include Andy Warhol's camouflage prints, as well as art by Alain Jacquet and Boetti; couture by John Galliano, Philip Treacy, Jean Paul Gaultier; urban camouflage designs by Adelle Lutz for David Byrne's film True Stories; and a costume created by Gerald Scarfe for the English National Ballet's production of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. Imperial War Museum until 18th November.


Visions Of World Architecture: John Soane's Royal Academy Lecture Illustrations showcases 64 of the drawings produced by Soane to illustrate his lectures between 1809 and 1820. These were intended to form the taste of the students, and to elucidate his theoretical points, Soane commissioned over 1,000 spectacular watercolours. These drawings, rendered by pupils from his architectural practice, presented a unique record of world architecture, ranging from pre-history to the latest buildings of Regency London, and were admired as fine works of art in their own right. The drawings are in three groups: those based on engravings from architectural folios on Soane's shelves, notably Piranesi; those drawn by pupils on site visits in London; and those based on Soane's designs and on drawings by earlier architects in his collection.

Soane And Turner: Illuminating A Friendship is a display marking the relationship between John Soane and J M W Turner. It provides a unique opportunity to see Turner's large 'Forum Romanum for Mr Soane's Museum', in the building for which it was intended. Other works by Turner include 'Ancient Rome: Agrippina landing with the Ashes of Germanicus', incorporating a bridge like Soane's fantasy 'Triumphal Bridge', and 'Temple of Neptune at Paestum' possibly inspired by Soane's Piranesi drawings of the temples, together with a watercolour study of two tench, a trout and a perch, recalling how Soane and Turner often fished together on Soane's estate at Pitzhanger Manor, Ealing.

Sir John Soane Museum, London until 28th April.

Fine And Fashionable: Lace From The Blackborne Collection is the first major exhibition of lace in Britain, showcasing one of the finest collections of lace in the world, put together by father and son Anthony and Arthur Blackborne, who were master lace dealers in 19th century London. Conscious of the growing interest in antique lace, for fashion and for its own importance, they began a quest for authentic examples, building up a study collection and a deep knowledge of the subject that earned them international recognition. This exhibition features 200 historical pieces of lace from the Blackborne collection, many never before on public view, together with contemporary lace work designed by Vivienne Westwood, Catherine Bertola, and fashion students at Northumbria University, taking the Blackborne lace as their inspiration. These works are displayed alongside costumes, woven silks, decorative arts, and paintings, illustrating the use of lace in fashion and furnishings. The exhibition focuses on the design and quality of European lace from the 16th to the 20th century, revealing it as the ultimate fashion accessory and more expensive than jewellery. Worn by both sexes, fine hand made lace served to highlight the wealth and status of the wearer. The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle until 26th April.

Citizens And Kings: Portraits In The Age Of Revolution 1760 - 1830 examines the radical shift that occurred in portraiture, both painted and sculpted, in response to the Enlightenment and the revolutions in Europe and America. These years saw dramatic transformations in the world order as new ideas and wealth vied with the old order of absolute monarchies. The exhibition consists of 150 works, ranging from the kings and queens, through the revoluitionary heroes and the rising beorgoisie, to Enlightenment thinkers, writers and artists. It includes works by the great innovators of portraiture, David and Goya, as well as their contemporaries such as Reynolds, Gainsborough, Roslin, Mengs, Vigee Lebrun and Singleton Copley and their successors, including Ingres, Gros, Lawrence, Chantry and Runge. The development through the period in both style and subject is perhaps best illustrated through Ingres's 'Napoleon on the Imperial Throne' and 'Louis-Francois Bertin' - Emperor to newspaper editor. Among the iconic works are: Goya's 'Ferdinand VII', Lawrence's 'George IV', Shubib's Catherine the Great', Zoffany's 'Queen Charlotte and her Two Eldest Sons', David's 'The Death of Marat' and The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries', Stuart's 'George Washington', Reynolds's 'Mrs Siddons as the Tragic Muse' and 'Joseph Banks', Copley's 'Samuel Adams', Boizot's bust of Marie-Antoinette, Pigalle's sculpture 'Voltaire Naked' and Houdon's bust of Benjamin Franklin. The Royal Academy of Arts, London until 20th April.