News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 12th November 2003


Architecture Unshackled: George Dance The Younger 1741-1825 reveals the range and variety of work by a man hailed as 'the most complete poet-architect of his day'. George Dance produced many groundbreaking designs for both public and private buildings. In his exteriors, as well as pioneering neoclassicism, he was the first European to introduce Indian proportions and elements into a design in Britain. Dance's interiors were equally revolutionary, with his use of domed and 'star-fish' vaulted ceilings, and his interest in invisible light sources. Among his public commissions in London featured here are the church of All Hallows, London Wall; Newgate Gaol, with its forbidding exterior pierced by a doorway over-hung with iron shackles; and the south front of the Guildhall. Of Dance's private house commissions, there are the library at Landsdowne House, Berkeley Square, and country houses at Stratton Park in Hampshire, Coleorton in Leicestershire and Ashburnham in Sussex, all of which contained startlingly new ideas. The exhibition also features Dance's extraordinary, unexecuted project for redeveloping the Port of London, at the heart of which was a double bridge spanning the Thames. Dance exerted a profound influence on the work of his one time pupil John Soane, who acquired his portfolio of plans, drawings and renderings, which form this display, in 1836. Sir John Soane's Museum until 3rd January.

Hidden Art: Open Studios is the tenth anniversary of Europe's largest open studios event, an annual tradition for visitors wanting to buy or commission work direct from leading designer-makers. Fifty studio spaces and workshops, where contemporary textiles, furniture, jewellery, lighting, ceramics, glass and accessories are made locally by skilled designer-makers, are turned into public spaces for two weekends only. Over 160 designers are involved, from established names like Ella Doran (photographic imagery reproduced on coasters and trays), Kate Malone (ceramics inspired by land and sea), and Dominic Crinson (digital patterns on surfaces from carpets to Formica), to first timers such as Tine Bladbjerg (sculpted silver and gold jewellery), Ayumi Suzuki (fashion and accessories), Kirstin James (hand felted merino wool hats), and Helen Rawlinson (contemporary lighting). In addition, on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd November, the Hidden Art Design Fair in Mile End Park's Arts and Ecology Pavilions gathers together the best in contemporary design. Free narrow boat trips run along the Regent's Canal between Broadway Market and the Arts Pavillion. Each one way trip lasts approximately 45 minutes, and there is a guide on board giving details on the area. Further information can be found on the Hidden Art web site via the link opposite. Venues across East London 22nd-23rd November and 29th-30th November.

Artworks For All is unique opportunity to see the original artworks used for iconic London Transport posters for the first time. Colourful pictorial posters to encourage travel by bus, tram and underground have appeared regularly since the early 1900s. In 1908 Frank Pick was put in charge of the Underground Group's publicity, and he commissioned work from both young and established artists, who were given a title and subject, but complete freedom of expression as to how they interpreted them. By the 1920s the Underground was producing more than 40 pictorial posters a year. The scale of this output turned every station into a gallery, bringing the latest graphic art styles to a huge popular audience. No other single organisation in the world has matched this high quality creative use of commercial art before or since. The exhibition features artworks by many artists and designers, including Edward McKnight Kauffer, John Bellany, Howard Hodgkin and Abram Games. The works are executed in a surprisingly wide range of media, including oil, gouache, collage and even mosaic. They offer a reflection of their times, not only in how they see London, but also in the style of their creation. The museum's core collection includes over 7,000 posters. London Transport Museum until 4th January.


It's A Great Night Out! The Making Of The West End 1843-2010 celebrates the development of London's Theatreland, and the fires, murders, paranormal happenings (and plays) that have taken place in these fine buildings. It tells the story of how the West End came to have over 40 theatres within a 2 mile radius - the largest concentration of performing arts venues in the world. The exhibition comprises playbills, models, posters, props, films, letters, memorabilia and behind the scenes images, combined with an atmospheric soundtrack, including Music Hall and musical theatre songs. It chronicles the commercial theatre's continual efforts to juggle the competing claims of artistic demands, changing tastes, audience enjoyment and financial survival. Although the first playhouse opened on Drury Lane in 1663, most existing theatres were built around a century ago, in a world of very different audience demands - of both entertainment and comfort - from today. The exhibition features pictures from Scene / Unseen, a book of photographs by Derek Kendall, recently published by English Heritage, offering glimpses of those parts of the theatre world not normally seen by the public, including rehearsal spaces, dressing rooms, backstage areas and (inevitably) a royal toilet. The Theatre Museum until October.

Turner's Britain shows how J.M.W.Turner recorded his travels around Britain during a time of exceptional change and upheaval - the Industrial Revolution. Turner journeyed by foot, horseback, stagecoach and riverboat, sketching the rural market towns, developing industrial cities and lonely landscapes of Wales, northern England and Scotland. Through Turner's eyes Britain's past is celebrated in the looming forms of ancient castles and churches, as well as in the picturesque jumble of shops and thoroughfares. In contrast, he also captures its present, in steam trains, canals, soldiery and industrial workings, as the country developed into the first industrial world power. 'The Fighting Temeraire', depicting the wooden sailing ship from the Battle of Trafalgar being towed to a breaker's yard by a tug, as sail gave way to iron steam ships, epitomises the period of change. The Midlands was at the heart of the Industrial Revolution, and Turner made several sketching tours through the region, where he documented the growth and transformation of towns like Wolverhampton and Dudley. His 'Birmingham and Coventry' and 'Kenilworth' sketchbooks form part of over 130 paintings, drawings, watercolours and engravings that make up the show. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery until 8th February.

Heath Robinson showcases the work of William Heath Robinson "The Gadget King" who is most widely remembered for his humorous drawings and illustrations. Although his ambition was to become a landscape painter, to earn a living he turned to book illustration, where he rapidly established a reputation. His visual interpretations for poetry by Poe and Kipling, Andersen's Fairy Tales, A Midsummer Night's Dream, de la Mare's Peacock Pie, The Water Babies and Perrault's Fairy Tales, saw him ranked alongside Rackham and Dulac, achieving classic status around the world. In addition, Heath Robinson also wrote and illustrated his own children's books, The Adventures of Uncle Lubin and Bill the Minder. He was among the first generation of artists whose work could be translated straight to the page (without the intervention of an engraver) and, like Beardsley and his other contemporaries, Heath Robinson took full advantage of the possibilities this presented. However, it is in his drawings of ramshackle inventions, through which he satirised human frailties and pretensions, that his legacy lies, contributing 'Heath Robinson' to the English language as an expression to describe such creations. This exhibition offers the chance to see over a hundred original drawings, prints and paintings from the collection of The William Heath Robinson Trust. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 18th January.

Women And War examines women's involvement in conflict in the 20th century, charting their changing roles from home front to front line. It tells the story of servicewomen, nurses, land girls, factory workers, secret agents, pilots and peacekeepers from the First World War to the recent conflict in the Balkans. The breadth of scope is demonstrated by highlights such as: the pistol carried by Sergeant Major Flora Sandes in Serbia during the First World War; a diary kept by Nurse Edith Cavell, who was executed for espionage in 1915; a camisole worn by a survivor of the sinking of the Lusitania; Marlene Dietrich's Second World War uniform; Amy Johnson's flying tunic; a camera used by war photographer Lee Miller; the George Cross posthumously awarded to the secret agent Violette Szabo; and the wedding dress worn by a prisoner who married the British soldier who liberated her from the Belsen concentration camp - plus of course, the famous 'Rosie The Riveter' and other war time posters. An accompanying audio programme enables visitors to listen to women describing their experiences in letters, diaries and tape recorded reminiscences, ranging from a nurse on the Western Front to a widow in present day Rwanda. Imperial War Museum until 18th April.

Advertising And The Artist: The Work And Collection Of Ashley Havinden focuses on a time when advertising and art shared a common heritage. Ashley Havinden was director of advertising agency W.S. Crawford from the mid 1920s to the mid 1960s, but he was also a painter, living in Hampstead, and part of an international group of artists that included Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth Alexander Calder, John Piper and Naum Gabo. British modernist 'serious' art, inspired by the Bauhaus and international futurism and cubism, informed the work that Havinden produced in both of his careers. Classic campaigns he created for clients, including Bird's Custard, Chrysler Motors, Eno's Fruit Salt, Gillette Razor Blades, Martini and Simpson of Piccadilly, established the look that we recognise today as epitomising the fresh, innocent and optimistically modern style of the time. This exhibition, marking the centenary of Havinden's birth, draws extensively from both his commercial archive and his contemporary art collection. It also includes material that reveals the process of designing and developing an innovative advertising campaign. Dean Gallery, Edinburgh until 18th January.

Below Stairs: 400 Years Of Servants Portraits takes British portraiture, which traditionally concentrated on depictions of the upper classes and the celebrated, and turns it on its head. With a Gosford Park approach, it focuses on the workers, from grooms to governesses, and maids to musicians. The first ever exhibition of portraits of servants in Britain brings together many works that have rarely been seen in public. Around 100 pictures spanning the 17th century to the 20th century include not only domestic servants, but also institutional staff, such as the porter from the Royal Academy, the Arts Club cook and the British Museum's housekeeper. Some of the subjects worked for famous people, such as Queen Victoria and Admiral Nelson, others rose from servitude through their own hard work and ability to become established members of society. Many of the paintings in the exhibition were commissioned by employers who had formed a close attachment to their servants, in recognition of the loyalty (and sometimes eccentricity) of those who worked for them. Examples include a portrait by Marcus Gheeraerts of Tom Derry, Jester to Anne of Denmark; William Hogarth's painting of his own six servants; 'Fish Nell, John Sutherland, Laundryman and "Dummy" King' commissioned by the Duke of Buccleuch of his servants at Dalkeith House; and the group portrait of the 'Heads of Department at Holkham Hall' by Andrew Festing, commissioned by the current Earl of Leicester. National Portrait Gallery until 11th January.


London 1753 is part of the British Museum's 250th birthday celebrations, aiming to create a picture of London at the time of its foundation, when London was the largest city in the western world - containing 11% of the British population. The display of over 300 objects is arranged in sections corresponding to five London areas: the City, the River, Covent Garden and Bloomsbury, Westminster, St James's and Mayfair, and shows the extremes of wealth and poverty that existed side by side. It includes both London wide vistas, and miniatures of real life in the city, from fashionable society and cultural events to the gin houses and the gallows, in watercolours by Paul and Thomas Sandby, drawings and prints by William Hogarth, engravings by Charles Mosley, and drawings by Canaletto. On a more personal note, there are portraits of aristocrats, artists and tradesmen, by John Faber, James Macardall and William Hoare, together with their actual watches, jewellery, fans, medals and coins. There are even the precise objects on an actual mantelpiece as depicted in Hogarth's painting Marriage A-la Mode II. Curiosities include shop signs, Spitalfields silk, spurs for fighting cocks, a first edition of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language, John Roque's 1747 map which takes up 72 square feet of the gallery wall, and Hogarth's gold admission ticket to Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. British Museum until 23rd November.

Stuart Sutcliffe is a display of a recently acquired collection of personal effects that once belonged to the 5th Beatle. Sutcliffe, (who was the main subject of the film Backbeat) joined the band in 1960, but left a year and a half later to concentrate on his art studies. By this time he was engaged to Astrid Kirchherr, who he met whilst performing with the band at the Kaiserkeller Club in Hamburg. It is claimed that it was Sutcliffe who came up with the Beatles name, and that John Lennon would not play in the band without him. His relationship with Astrid also influenced the band's image and style. Sutcliffe died at the age of 21 from a brain haemorrhage soon after leaving the band. The items in the collection, which help bring to life the early part of the Beatles story, include his first guitar; a charcoal self-portrait; letters written to his family from Hamburg (some containing drawings); photographs of him as a child, a student, and with the Beatles and Astrid in Hamburg; a report from his art teacher Eduardo Paolozzi; and personal effects such as his Hamburg ID card, wallet and cheque book - which reveals that he was paying hire purchase instalments for a guitar bought by John Lennon. Also on display for the first time, are four stage suits from 1963, possibly designed by Sutcliffe, and made by London tailor Douglas Millings, but never worn. Museum of Liverpool Life, Liverpool, 0151 478 4499, until 23rd November.

Medicine Man: The Forgotten Museum Of Henry Wellcome is a celebration of the British passion for collecting things. Henry Wellcome, the pharmacist, entrepreneur and philanthropist, saw human culture and history through medical eyes. A compulsive collector and traveller, he built up the world's largest, but least known, collection of medical exhibits. By his death in 1936, he had amassed over one million objects related to medical history - many (a la Citizen Kane) remaining still packaged and uncatalogued. This treasure trove of the bizarre, practical and exotic ranges from Chinese diagnostic dolls and Japanese sex aids to African masks and amputation saws, from amulets and ancient manuscripts to Napoleon's toothbrush and George III's hair. Among the more unlikely are: an English tobacco resuscitator kit used to revive the 'apparently dead' by blowing smoke through the nose, mouth or elsewhere; shrunken heads from the Shuar people of the Upper Amazon, created to control the avenging soul of the deceased (to be worn by the person who had removed the head); and a notebook alleged to be covered with the skin of the man whose execution is thought to have sparked the American War of Independence. British Museum until 16th November.