News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 11th June 2014


The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is with us again, as it has been every year since 1769 - the usual collection of the good, the bad and the ugly - from amateurs to RA's, proving that popular taste and critical approval find no meeting point. Around 1,250 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from over 12,000 submissions, from 27 countries, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. The majority of works are for sale, offering visitors an opportunity to purchase original artwork by both high profile and up and coming artists. Over 70,000 is given out to artists included in the exhibition through 10 prizes. Highlights include a room of works by newly elected Academicians, including Thomas Heatherwick, Neil Jeffries, Chantal Joffe, Tim Shaw, Conrad Shawcross, Yinka Shonibare, Bob and Roberta Smith and Wolfgang Tillmans; and a room focussing on the theme of black and white, with works by Michael Craig-Martin, Richard Deacon, Tacita Dean, Michael Landy, Martin Creed, Jeremy Deller, Mona Hatoum, Christian Marclay, Laure Prouvost and David Shrigley, many of which have been specially created for the exhibition. The Royal Academy of Arts until 17th August.

Mental Health Museum houses a remarkable collection of objects that span the history of mental health care from the early 19th century through to the present day. Much of the collection focuses on the histories of the community, culture and practices of the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum, which opened on this site in 1818, and was later known as the Stanley Royd Hospital. The collection includes restraining equipment such as chains and straightjackets; a padded cell; photographs dating from 1862 onwards; medical and surgical equipment, including chloroform bottles and ECT machines; beds and bedpans; and documents including original patient records and a Chaplain's journal. There is also a scale model of the original 1818 building built by a former curator of the museum based on the original plans and drawings. Museum of Mental Health, Fieldhead Hospital, Wakefield, continuing.

Art And Life: Ben Nicholson, Winifred Nicholson, Christopher Wood, Alfred Wallis, William Staite Murray, 1920 - 1931 features early works by two painters at the forefront of the 20th century Modern British movement. The exhibition focuses on Ben and Winifred Nicholson's prolific output during their ten year marriage, and considers their work in the context of a unique artistic influence and friendship with contemporaries Christopher Wood, Alfred Wallis and William Staite Murray. It offers a rare opportunity to see the couple's parallel views of the same landscapes, seascapes, still-lifes and portraits. Grouped by location, the show focuses on their time spent painting in London, Lugano, Switzerland, Cumberland and Cornwall, and features work by the artists they encountered and painted alongside. The exhibition presents over 80 works, 15 of which are being displayed publicly for the first time, including Ben's 'Still Life' and Winifred's 'Flowers in a Glass Jar'. Ben and Winifred's approach was influenced by fellow artists and friends. Ben and Christopher Wood often painted the same landscapes and their paintings of Northrigg Hill are displayed alongside Winifred's earlier painting of the same scene. A chance meeting with Alfred Wallis in St Ives led to the artists painting side by side, and works such as 'The Schooner the Beata, Penzance, Mount's Bay' and 'Newlyn Harbour and Four Luggers and a Lighthouse' provide a fascinating contrast to the group's oils and drawings. Throughout the show there are ceramics by the avant-garde potter William Staite Murray, including 'Cadence' and 'Persian Garden'. Inspired by the Nicholsons in his approach to aesthetic pottery, his works are as much influenced by their art, as their paintings are by his pots. Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, London SE21, until 21st September.


Ancient Lives, New Discoveries uses the latest scientific techniques to shed new light on ancient cultures, showcasing recent research on Egyptian and Sudanese mummified remains. The exhibition uses state-of-the-art technology to virtually explore inside mummy cases and examine the bodies underneath the wrappings of 8 people who lived in the Nile Valley thousands of years ago. The most recent scans undertaken have used the new generation of medical CT scanners, capable of producing data of unprecedented high resolution. The transformation of this data into 3D visualisations has been achieved with volume graphics software usually used in other fields such as car engineering. Each mummy has accompanying large-screen visualisations that journey into the body, through the intact wrappings to reveal the remains, skeleton and the secrets of mummification. The individuals selected cover a time-span of over 4000 years, from the Predynastic period to the Christian era, from sites in Egypt and the Sudan. The emphasis is on revealing different aspects of living and dying in the ancient Nile Valley through these individuals and also through contextual objects such as amulets, canopic jars, musical instruments and items of food. The individuals include: a female adult temple singer from Thebes, mummified around 900BC, whose body reflects the highest level of mummification available at its period, involving the ritual placement of amulets and other magical trappings on the body; and a man of high status, from around 1st to 3rd centuries AD, mummified in distinctive manner, with arms, legs, fingers and toes separately wrapped, facial features painted on the wrappings, natural hair left uncovered, small fragments of gold leaf still preserved on the external surface, and decorative trappings added externally. British Museum until 30th November.

Mondrian And Colour is the first major exhibition to consider the significance of colour during the early career of the 20th century Dutch artist. The exhibition traces Piet Mondrian's use of colour as he moved from depicting reality in studies of the Dutch landscape to pioneer something completely new and controversial in abstraction. In addition to his influence on the development of abstraction in painting, Mondrian's influence stretched to the worlds of fashion and design. Bringing together around 50 paintings, the show demonstrates that Mondrian's abstract works were not simply mathematical exercises in form, but also expressed his search for a new universal harmony. Colour underpinned Mondrian's work, from the early days painting landscapes in the Netherlands, to the later works where colour was separated from its function of creating shading or volume. His most famous works, the 'grids' use simple lines and the primary colours red, yellow and blue to create this 'universal harmony', separating colour and subject from reality, transforming the material world into something spiritual. Major works in the exhibition include 'The Red Mill', 'Composition with Red, Blue, Black, Yellow and Grey' and 'Composition with Blue and Yellow'. Turner Contemporary Gallery, Margate, until 21st September.

M. F. Husain: Master Of Modern Indian Painting features the work of one of the most celebrated and internationally recognised Indian artists of the 20th century. Maqbool Fida Husain, known as M. F. Husain, began his career as a painter of cinema hoardings. Using freehand drawing and vibrant colour, he depicted Indian subject matter in the style of contemporary European art movements, particularly Cubism. Indian Civilization is an ambitious series of 8 triptych paintings, commissioned as a tribute to the richness of India's history. Each panel explores a different theme, together creating a personal vision of India, what Husain called 'a museum without walls'. Interweaving religious and symbolic iconography with historic figures and events, the paintings also incorporate memories from the artist's own life. Husain marked the ceremonial beginning of the series by painting the Hindu deity Ganesha, represented as a four-armed man with an elephant head, shown with an ancient terracotta goddess figure at his side. He celebrated three ruling dynasties from India's long and tumultuous history, placing the ancient Mauryan civilization centrally between two invading rulers, the Muslim Mughal dynasty and the British Raj. The works capture the colour and spirit of Indian festivals, whose ancient celebrations and rituals reflect the passing of time and show the enduring role of religion and tradition in Indian culture. Husain reflected on the domestic lives of India's citizens, showing the daily routines of ordinary urban families, with the major religions of India represented, as generations share their homes and their faith. Victoria & Albert Museum until 27th July.

Mammoths: Ice Age Giants offers a journey through the world of some of the largest creatures ever to have walked the earth. The exhibition provides a glimpse into the Ice Age world of mammoths, mastodons and their relatives, through life-sized models, original skeletons, skull casts, fossil jaws, teeth and tusks. Its centrepiece is the most complete woolly mammoth ever found, the first time the one month old infant has been shown in Western Europe. The baby mammoth is 85cm tall and 130cm long, similar in size to a large dog. She was discovered in the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia in 2007, and is thought to have died 42,000 years ago. Her body was buried in wet clay and mud, which then froze, preserving it until she was found by reindeer herder. She is thought to have been healthy when she died, so scientists still research her to understand mammoth biology and behaviour. Although she has lost most of her woolly undercoat and hair, most of her body remains intact, and remnants of her mother's milk are still in her stomach. In addition to the actual baby mammoth there are models of a fully grown woolly mammoth, the spiral-tusked Columbian mammoth, their island-dwelling relative the dwarf mammoth, the mastodon, the sabre-tooth cat and the giant cave bear. The exhibition charts the key differences between mammoths and mastodons, revealing that mastodons were shorter and stockier than mammoths, with thicker bones and differently shaped tusks, as well as making comparisons with their present-day descendant, the elephant. It also explores the animals' social behaviour and ecology based on fossil evidence. In addition, the display examines how these creatures evolved, considers how they finally went extinct, and unearths the latest research into whether they can ever be resurrected. Natural History Museum until 7th September.

Treasures From The Royal Archives marks the centenary of the establishment of a permanent home for an unparalleled collection of documents relating to the history of the British Monarchy. From diaries and personal correspondence to account books and speeches, the Archives record and reflect some of the most significant moments in British history, and provide an insight into the lives of monarchs and their families. It was the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, and her legacy of over 60 years of correspondence, that prompted the creation of an archive for documents relating to the Royal Family and the Royal Household. Documents pre-dating Queen Victoria's reign, were gradually added, including some belonging to James II, and the exiled Stuarts, and papers relating to the current Sovereign and the Royal Household continue to be added today. Among the highlights on display for the first time are the title deed for Buckingham Palace, dated 20 April 1763, bearing George III's wax seal, recording the purchase for the sum of 28,000, by the King to accommodate his growing family of 15 children; a household account book belonging to Princess Elizabeth, later Elizabeth I, recording the payments made to servants during her residency at Hatfield Palace in 1551, bearing her signature on each page; a letter written in 1728 to his father by the 7 year old Bonnie Prince Charlie, from Palazzo Muti, the Stuart residence in Rome, which appears to be the young boy's response to a reprimand; a love letter from Prince Albert to Queen Victoria during their engagement, including the lines "your image fills my whole soul. Even in my dreams I never imagined that I should find so much love on earth"; and a message of condolence sent to Queen Victoria by Abraham Lincoln, following the death of Prince Albert from typhoid in December 1861. Drawings Gallery, Windsor Castle, until 25th January.

Wedding Dresses 1775 - 2014 traces the development of the fashionable white dress and its interpretation by leading couturiers and designers, offering a panorama of fashion over the last two centuries. Displayed chronologically, the exhibition features over 80 romantic, glamorous and extravagant wedding outfits, together with accessories including jewellery, shoes, garters, veils, wreaths, hats and corsetry, as well as fashion sketches and personal photographs. Garments worn by bridegrooms and attendants are also included in the display. The exhibition investigates the histories of the garments, revealing personal details about the lives of the wearers, giving an intimate insight into their occupations, circumstances and fashion choices. Among the highlights are a silk satin court dress from 1775; a 'polonaise' style brocade gown with straw bergere hat from 1780; a copy of a Paris model designed by Paquin Lalanne et Cie made by Stern Brothers of New York in 1890; the Norman Hartnell dress made for Margaret Whigham (later Duchess of Argyll) for her marriage to Charles Sweeny in 1933; the Charles James ivory silk satin dress worn by Barbara 'Baba' Beaton for her marriage to Alec Hambro in 1934; the embroidered silk coat design by Anna Valentine and for The Duchess of Cornwall at the blessing after her marriage to The Prince of Wales in 2005; and examples of innovative and unconventional wedding outfits designed by Gareth Pugh and Pam Hogg for the weddings of Katie Shillingford in 2011 and Mary Charteris in 2012. Victoria & Albert Museum until 15th March.


Vikings Life And Legend focuses on the core period of the Viking Age from the late 8th century to the early 11th century. The Viking expansion from the Scandinavian homelands during this era created a cultural network with contacts from the Caspian Sea to the North Atlantic, and from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean. The exhibition features many new archaeological discoveries and capitalises on new research and recent discoveries that have changed our understanding of the nature of Viking identity, trade, magic and belief and the role of the warrior in Viking society. It was the maritime character of Viking society and their extraordinary shipbuilding skills that were key to their achievements. At the centre of the exhibition are the surviving timbers of a 37m long Viking warship, the longest ever found and never seen before in Britain. The size of the ship and the amount of resources required to build it suggest that it was almost certainly a royal warship, possibly connected with the wars fought by Cnut to assert his authority over this short lived North Sea Empire. The Vale of York Hoard is displayed in its entirety for the first time since it was found near Harrogate in 2007. Consisting of 617 coins, 6 arm rings and a quantity of bullion and hack-silver, it is the largest and most important Viking hoard since the Cuerdale Hoard was found in Lancashire in 1840, part of which is also included in the exhibition. Ostentatious jewellery of gold and silver demonstrates how status was vividly displayed by Viking men and women. These include a stunning silver hoard from Gnezdovo in Russia, which highlights the combination of Scandinavian, Slavic and Middle Eastern influences that contributed to the development of the early Russian state in the Viking Age. British Museum until 22nd June.

Cezanne And The Modern features works by some of the most important artists of the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements. The works on show are part of a collection formed by Henry and Rose Pearlman, which is one of the most important in North America, and this is the first time it has ever been shown in Europe. The exhibition comprises a group of paintings and watercolours by Paul Cezanne, as well as paintings and sculptures by artists including Paul Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Edouard Manet, Vincent van Gogh, Jacques Lipchitz, Edgar Degas and Amedeo Modigliani. The display includes 24 works by Cezanne: 6 oils, 2 drawings and 16 watercolours, which constitute one of the finest and best preserved groups of his watercolours in the world. The majority of these are Provencal landscapes, while others depict his characteristic motifs such as a skull, female bathers and Mont Sainte-Victoire. Other highlights are a colourful and unusual composition by Vincent Van Gogh, 'Tarascon Stage Coach'; Amedeo Modigliani's portrait of Jean Cocteau; 3 bronzes by Jacques Lipchitz and 1 by Wilhelm Lehmbruck; and an extraordinary painted relief, 'Te Fare Amu' by Paul Gauguin, from his open-air dining room in Tahiti. In addition, there are works by artists who are little known in England, notably Cham Soutine. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 22nd June.

Edward Lear In Greece features collection of watercolours by the Victorian writer, poet and artist. Although now perhaps best known for his limericks and nonsense verse, Edward Lear was also a superb zoological draughtsman, a talented musician and a celebrated landscape artist. Lear began to draw commercially at the age of 16 and his illustrations of birds quickly brought him to the attention of an affluent patron. He then turned his attention to landscape drawings and moved to Rome, after which he kept travelling until his death, producing over 10,000 sketches inspired by his journeys. This display highlights Lear's draughtsmanship and versatility, examining his enchanting depictions of Greek landscapes. It includes both highly finished studio watercolours, such as 'Athens', and sketches drawn in situ and annotated with Lear's notes about details of the landscape and weather. Lear's sketches, in particular, are now widely admired for the elegance and precision of his drawing, and for their vivid and spontaneous evocation of place. Unlike many other artists of the time, he was as captivated by the recent history and contemporary life of Greece as by the country's antique past. Lear travelled widely throughout Greece, from Athens and the Peloponnese to the remote mountains of the Epirus region in the north west, which are represented in the 'Suli' watercolours. Lear wrote of his aim to travel to and paint sites not previously represented by other artists, including Mount Athos, the Holy Mountain of the Orthodox Church, and widely depicted in the display, and the island of Corfu, where he lived and worked on and off for a decade. Scottish National Gallery until 18th June.