News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 12th May 2010


Fit For A King is a new permanent exhibition showcasing 500 years of Royal arms and armour, from the Tudor, Stuart, Hanoverian and Windsor dynasties. The exhibition charts the design and creation of armour for use on both the battle and sports fields, through to its decline and eventual redundancy. Highlights include two contrasting 16th century armours created for Henry VIII, an intricately decorated 'silvered and engraved' armour celebrating his marriage to Katherine of Aragon, shown astride a life sized horse wearing bard (horse armour) decorated with scenes for the lives of Henry and Katherine's patron saints, displayed alongside field and tournament garniture armour from 25 years later, the huge difference in size reflecting Henry's significant weight gain over the course of his reign, with etched and gilded decoration designed by Hans Holbein, with one of only two known existing examples of a ventral plate or inner breast plate for added protection; traditional Japanese armour given to James I by Tokugawa Hidetada, made by his personal armourer, which was almost certainly the first Japanese armour ever to be seen in Britain; Charles I's gilt armour, with its surface engraved and punched with foliage decoration and covered entirely in gold leaf; armour made for the young princes Edward VI and Charles I, so they could 'dress up' as their heroic fathers and ancestors; James II's harquebusier (light cavalry) armour, with a faceplate in the form of a royal crest, which gradually replaced those of the more heavily armoured traditional cavalrymen, marking the start of armour's decline; a pair of flintlock pistols decorated in the French fashion and depicting the image of the William III; and a collection of swords starting with George I's through to that of George VI. Tower of London continuing.

Objects Of Affection: Pre-Raphaelite Portraits By John Brett features paintings, drawings and early photographs by the Pre-Raphaelite artist, many of which have never been seen in public before. John Brett is principally known as a painter of luminescent landscapes featuring the coast of the British Isles. However, he was also an accomplished portraitist, and although he received few commissions for formal portraits, he did, like many of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood, create a significant quantity of intimate studies depicting friends and lovers, his family, and friends in the literary and artistic world. Brett was also an enthusiastic pioneer photographer. His best portraits, whether drawing, oil painting or photograph, have a meticulous delicacy comparable to that of his landscapes, while also revealing deep psychological insight and affection for many of his subjects. The exhibition includes paintings of Christina Rosetti, Arthur Brett, Jeanette Loeser, and his children Michael, Daisy, Jasper, Alfred, Pansy, Spencer and Gwendolin, drawings of Francis Martineau and 'Edwin', and photographs such as Pansy Posing for Jasper. As well as the portraiture, the exhibition also includes a selection of Brett's trademark landscapes, and archive material including his original letters, which reveal much about his personality. The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham, until 4th July.

Curious: The Craft Of Microscopy showcases the photography of Susanna Edwards, providing an opportunity to view objects that are rarely or never seen by the public. Using 9 different microscopes dating back to the 18th century, Susanna Edwards has photographed a collection of Victorian slides to create a series of natural images. Each photograph, taken as the eye would see through a microscope, documents how developments in microscopy have changed the way we see the world.

The show features large scale photographic prints alongside the actual historic slides and the instruments used to capture them. The oldest is a 1730s Culpeper microscope, and the most recent, an Axioskop from 1994. The slides contain a range of natural materials gathered for their aesthetic, scientific and educational qualities, including a cat lung, an insect egg and a salamander foot. The exhibition allows visitors to see real examples of the development of the light microscope over the past 300 years, and reveals the crucial importance microscopes have played in the advancement of medical knowledge, and the understanding of health and disease.

Ivory: Treasures From The Odontological Collection comprises a selection of ivory specimens from terrestrial and marine mammals that have teeth or tusks large enough to be classed as 'ivory', ranging from the extinct woolly mammoth to the elusive narwhal. Also included are a selection of historical medical instruments and dentures fashioned from ivory.

Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons, London, until 3rd July.


Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda And Art modestly proclaims that it provides an opportunity to see 100 greatest maps in the world, over three-quarters of which are on public exhibition for the first time. Dating from 200AD to the present day, there are cartographic masterpieces on paper, wood, vellum, silver, silk and marble, including atlases, maps, globes and tapestries. Recreating the settings in which they would have originally been seen, from the palace to the schoolroom, the exhibition reveals how maps express an enormous variety of differing world views, using size and beauty to convey messages of status and power. Highlights include: 'Fra Mauro World Map' by William Frazer, a hand-drawn copy of the first great modern world map from the 15th century, made for the British East India Company; 'Confiance - ses Amputations se Poursuivent', a Second World War German propaganda poster portraying Churchill as an octopus, drawing on earlier comic maps; 'The Klencke Atlas', the largest atlas in the world, intended to be a summary of the world's knowledge, produced for Charles II on his restoration to the English throne; 'Chinese Terrestrial Globe' by Nicola Longobardi and Bartolomeo Dias, the earliest Chinese terrestrial Globe, made by Jesuit missionaries for the Chinese Emperor in the 17th century; 'Americae, sive quartae orbis partis, nova et exactissima' by Diego Gutierrez and Hieronymus Cock, a map made to flatter King Philip II of Spain and celebrate the Spanish domination of the New World; and 'World Map' by Pierre Desceliers, a compendious 16th century world map made for the King of France, celebrating the discoveries of Jacques Cartier in Canada, and showing the myths, animals and natural history in their correct place in the world. British Library until 19th September.

Pioneering Painters: The Glasgow Boys 1880 - 1900 is the first major exhibition devoted to this influential group of artists in a generation. The Glasgow Boys were a loosely bound group of around 20 artists, influenced by the Realism of French painter Le Bastien-Lepage and the artistic theories of their hero James McNeill Whistler. Not all of the artists in the group attended Glasgow School of Art, or were even Scottish, but they did all have studios in the city. The Glasgow Boys painted outdoors at various places in Scotland during the summer and returned to Glasgow in the winter. There was great friendship, and a regular exchange of ideas, between most of the members of the group. This is the definitive Glasgow Boys exhibition, comprising around 100 oil paintings and 50 works on paper, both celebrating the achievements of the group and reviewing their legacy. All the important artists in the group are represented, including James Guthrie, E A Hornel, George Henry, John Lavery, Joseph Crawhall, Arthur Melville, James Paterson, William Kennedy, E A Walton, Alexander Mann, Thomas Millie Dow and Bessie McNicol, the only female artist closely associated with them. Highlights include Guthrie's 'To Pastures New' and 'Funeral Service In The Highlands', Henry's 'Playmates' and 'The Druids Bringing in the Mistletoe', Lavery's 'Woman On A Safety Tricycle' and 'The Tennis Party', William Kennedy's 'Stirling Station', and Hornel and Henry's paintings from their Japanese expedition. Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow, until 27th September.

Christopher Lloyd: A Life At Great Dixter presents a unique perspective on the life and work of one of the great characters of 20th century gardening. Christopher Lloyd lived and worked for most of his life at his family home, Great Dixter in Kent. It was there, through his adventurous changes and characteristic use of colour, that he created one of the world's best loved gardens. Lloyd's work there informed and inspired his distinctive writing, published in national press and numerous books, which made him a household name and the most engaging plantsman of his generation. The exhibition brings together personal objects from Great Dixter, recollections and stories from Lloyd's friends and colleagues, including Beth Chatto, Andrew Lawson, Anna Pavord and Stephen Anderton, examples of his writing, and stunning images of his garden, to piece together a picture of the life behind the garden wall. It is the first time that this selection of his and his family's possessions have been on public display, including his gardening galoshes and his Glyndebourne shoes, designs by Lutyens, and photographs from the family's private darkroom. From his childhood at Dixter, through his education as a gardener and the early days of the nursery business, to his later life and career, the exhibition examines the links between Lloyd's public persona and his private interests and enthusiasms, from his annual pilgrimages to Scotland and Glyndebourne, to cooking, contemporary design, and mischievous correspondence. It endeavours to place Christopher Lloyd's work in context, revealing why he was such an influential figure in 20th century gardening, and how his posthumous reputation will continue to endure. The Garden Museum, London until 12th September.

Fra Angelico To Leonardo: Italian Renaissance Drawings brings together the finest group of Italian Renaissance drawings to be seen in this country for over 70 years. The exhibition charts the increasing importance of drawing during the period between 1400 and 1510, featuring 100 works by amongst others Fra Angelico, Jacopo and Gentile Bellini, Botticelli, Carpaccio, Leonardo da Vinci, Filippo Lippi, Mantegna, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian and Verrocchio. In addition, infrared reflectography and other non-invasive scientific analysis of the works give fresh insights into the techniques and creative thinking of Renaissance artists as they experimented with a freedom not always apparent in their finished works. It was during the 1400s that artists began to make drawings as works of art in their own right, signifying the beginning of a wider appreciation of graphic works, which were beginning to be collected and preserved. This rising importance of drawing is evident in works such as Mantegna's mordant allegory of human folly, the 'Virtus Combusta' or later examples of finished presentation drawings such Leonardo's silverpoint 'Bust of a Warrior' from the 1470s. A highlight is the first surviving study for a panel painting: Lorenzo Monaco's study in the Uffizi for the left-wing of his 'Coronation of the Virgin' altarpiece, the first time the drawing and the related panel have been brought together. The exhibition gives a broad overview of the development of drawing throughout Italy, but with a particular emphasis on Florence, whose artists' works were characterised by the depiction of movement and the expression of emotion and states of mind, and Venice, whose artists' approach was dominated by atmospheric light and colour. British Museum until 25th July.

A World Observed 1940 - 2010: Photographs By Dorothy Bohm is the first major retrospective of the Prussian born London based photographer, widely acknowledged as one of the doyennes of British photography. This comprehensive exhibition brings together over 200 of Dorothy Bohm's photographic images from a career spanning more than six decades and several continents, many of them seen in public for the first time. The show reveals a wide array of aesthetically striking yet deeply humane, visually sophisticated yet immediately accessible photographs, which document a rapidly changing world in the second half of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Bohm's early portraits are displayed in a reconstruction of her Manchester studio, while a separate replica darkroom demonstrates the now almost forgotten technique of black and white photographic processing. She abandoned studio portraiture for 'street photography', travelling widely, and capturing insights into the changing face of post Second World War Europe, as well as the USA, the USSR and Israel. In the early 1980s, transitioning through exploring the potential of Polaroid photography, Bohm turned exclusively to working in colour. Since then, although the human figure in its natural setting is still the primary focus of her work, and she continues to use photography in its purest, unmanipulated form, her approach has become more painterly, with an ever greater interest in spatial and other forms of ambiguity. Manchester Art Gallery until 30th August.

Rainforest Life is a new £400,000 exhibit that brings the vegetation and wildlife of the South American rainforest to the centre of London. It is a walkthrough hot and humid tropical wilderness, with 550 plant species, including 8m tall trees imported from Costa Rica, where visitors can experience close up free running mammals, birds and insects, at both forest floor and treetop canopy levels. Among the animal species living in the no glass/no bars central biome are golden lion tamarins, Goeldi's monkeys, Geoffroy's marmosets, pottos, slow loris, slender loris, emperor tamarin, lemurs, pygmy marmosets, agoutis, armadillo, tamandua and sandbitterns. 10 species in the exhibit are endangered, and it is hoped that they will breed in these ideal conditions, safe from predators. Computer sensors disguised as trees fire off a mist sprinkler system to keep humidity levels between 70-80%, and temperature is maintained at 20-28C.

Night Life is a completely different environment, but just as spectacular, revealing how the rainforest comes to life at night, where visitors can come face to face with the bats, rats, glow in the dark scorpions and other nocturnal creatures who make the dark their home.

London Zoo, Regents Park continuing.


Painting History: Delaroche And Lady Jane Grey examines Paul Delaroche's 'The Execution of Lady Jane Grey' in the context of his historical paintings, particularly the scenes from English history, which made his reputation. The exhibition features 7 of Delaroche's major paintings, including 'The Princes in the Tower', 'Young Christian Martyr', 'Strafford on his way to Execution' and 'Cromwell and Charles I'. Displayed alongside, are Delaroche's preparatory drawings for Lady Jane, and comparative paintings and prints by his contemporaries, including Eugene Lami, Claude Jacquand and François-Marius Granet. In post-revolutionary France, artists began to combine monarchist sympathies with a Romantic interest in English literature and history, and like many of his peers, Delaroche was preoccupied with the themes of usurpation and martyrdom. The exhibition also considers Delaroche's historical paintings in light of his close relationship with the theatre. From the 1820s, there was an increasing tendency in French theatre to draw on pictorial forms, and for plays to be divided into so-called 'tableaux' as well as acts. This had a profound influence on Delaroche, who was also keenly receptive to the spatial possibilities offered by stage craft. Meanwhile, his work lent itself to dramatic recreation, and on several occasions, his paintings were represented on the stage.

A Masterpiece Recovered: Delaroche's Charles I Insulted, an accompanying exhibit, is Delaroche's recently recovered monumental painting 'Charles I Insulted by Cromwell's Soldiers', on display for the first time in recent history. The work was damaged by shrapnel during the Blitz, after which it was rolled up and evacuated to Scotland, where it has remained in storage. Presently in the process of conservation, the painting retains its war wounds, but Delaroche's scene remains entirely legible and has lost none of its emotive intensity. National Gallery until 23rd May.

Michelangelo's Dream provides an opportunity to see Michelangelo's masterpiece 'The Dream (Il Sogno)', which has been described as one of the finest of all Renaissance drawings. It was executed when Michelangelo was at the height of his career, and exemplifies his unrivalled skill as a draughtsman, and his extraordinary powers of invention. The exhibition examines this celebrated work in the context of an exceptional group of closely related drawings by Michelangelo, as well as previously unexhibited original letters and poems by the artist, together with other works by his contemporaries. Michelangelo's 'presentation drawings' are a group of highly refined compositions, which the artist gave to his closest friends. These beautiful and complex works transformed drawing into an independent art form, and are amongst Michelangelo's finest creations in any medium. 'The Dream' is likely to have been part of the group of drawings that Michelangelo gave to a young Roman nobleman called Tommaso de'Cavalieri during the first years of their close friendship. This group forms the heart of the exhibition, and includes 'The Punishment of Tityus', 'The Fall of Phaeton', 'A Bacchanal of Children' and 'The Rape of Ganymede', which have not been seen together for over 20 years. The exhibition contains the earliest surviving letter from Michelangelo to Cavalieri, dated 1 January 1533, in which the artist expresses his delight that Cavalieri had agreed to accept the gift of some drawings, which were primarily intended to teach him how to draw. A further highlight is a group of drawings by Michelangelo of Christ's resurrection, which concentrate on the heroic nude figure of the reborn Christ, leaping free of the tomb and the bondage of life on earth, including 'Risen Christ', widely celebrated as one of the most magnificent and potent figures in Michelangelo's art. Courtauld Gallery, London, until 19th May.

Ron Arad: Restless is a retrospective of the work of the internationally acclaimed London based maverick, variously described as a designer, architect and artist. Spanning three decades, the exhibition traces the development of Ron Arad's designs from his early post-punk approach, assembling works from readymade parts, to his technologically advanced sculptural objects made of highly polished metals. Bringing together over 120 works, the exhibition features some of Arad's most celebrated pieces, including 'Rover Chair', a car seat salvaged from a scrap yard mounted on a steel frame, that famously caught the eye of Jean Paul Gaultier; 'Well-Tempered Chair', a reinterpretation of the overstuffed club chair using four thin sheets of tempered steel bent and held together by wing nuts; 'Reinventing the Wheel', a bookcase inspired by a children's toy, featuring a globe floating inside a sphere, with a wheel-within-a-wheel construction, keeping the shelves level as it is rolled around; and 'Lolita', a chandelier made up of 1050 LED lights embedded within 2,100 crystals, which has its own mobile phone number, so text messages can appear at the top of the chandelier and wind down the ribbon curves, creating the impression that it is slightly spinning. Architectural projects featured include the rotating mountain top restaurant and gallery Les Diablarets in Gstaad, Swizerland; the recently opened Mediacite shopping complex in Liege, Belgium; and the Design Museum in Holon, Israel. Barbican Gallery until 16th May.