News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 12th December 2007


Christmas Past: 400 Years Of Seasonal Traditions In English Homes looks at the meanings and origins of our Christmas and New Year customs, including the holly and the ivy, mistletoe and kissing boughs, decorations, trees, fire and candlelight, carol singing and the Yule log. Also featured are traditional foods and drink, with wassailing, parties, mulled wine, cakes and puddings. Twelve period living rooms decorated in authentic festive styles from 1600 to 2000 reflect our changing social habits, and show how Christmas as we now know it has evolved. There is an accompanying programme of events focusing on 20th century festivities, highlighting the main developments and changes in the domestic celebration of Christmas, with the switch from home crafted to shop bought decorations and food, the increasing popularity of Santa Claus, and the growing prominence of children, plus decoration, card making and other craft workshops, candle lit entertainment, talks, carols and other Christmas music, right through to the burning of holly and ivy on Twelfth Night, with seasonal food and drink available. The museum is located in fourteen almshouses built in 1715 by the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers. Geffrye Museum, London, until 6th January.

Top Of The Bill is a display of a material from the National Fairground Archive collection of 20,000 items of ephemera, some dating back as far as the 16th century, The show features giant posters, handbills and other display materials advertising fairground events across the country, promoting international acts such as Barnum and Buffalo Bill, along with stranger home grown entertainment, including a 'Nyctalope' who could see in the dark, a Peristrephic Panorama, which involved a long band of canvas on which a continuous sequence of scenes was depicted (the first 'moving pictures'), and FC Burnand's illusions show involving moving curried prawns. In addition to advertisements for particular acts and shows, there are also many fairground, travelling show and circus scenes, capturing the excitement of the traditional rides, attractions and amusements, portrayed in various period styles, reflecting the social changes in public entertainment. In addition, there are colourful letterheads, receipts, tickets and other printed matter, all created in the extravagant and spectacular fairground design style. These materials are on view to the public for the first time in the exhibition space that forms part of the National Fairground Archive's new 'front of house'. This now allows access to its book and journal collections, including a complete set of World's Fair newspapers, microfilm reading facilities, and electronic resources, including its 80,000 image database. Western Bank Library University of Sheffield, until 7th February.

Eve Arnold In China is an exhibition of some 40 photographs by the American born British based photo-journalist, taken during two three month visits to China in 1979, when she was one of the first Western photographers to enter the country. It is the first time these images have been on display in Britain. The photographs capture a critical moment in Chinese history, when the government decided that economic incentives were to replace ideology, and that it would open itself to the West, in a gamble to become a world power by the year 2000. The resulting images of Arnold's visit are a candid look at a virtually unknown society, ranging from militia training in Mongolia, rice gleaning in Hsishuang Panna and Buddhist monks studying sutras in Tibet, through the daily tasks of milking cattle and noodle making, to performing artists on both the traditional opera stage and in local factories. A photograph of a television perched on two stacked tables, one covered with a starched lace cloth perhaps symbolises pride in a small token of modernity. Arnold is painterly in her compositions, combining bright patches of foreground colour with vast, broad horizons, and giving each photograph a sense of self-containment, both intimate yet detached. The contrast between these portraits of a nation isolated from developments in the rest of the world, and the highly industrialised China of today, now 'the workshop of the world', about to host the Olympic Games, could not be more marked. Asia House Gallery, London W1, until 12th January.


Sleeping And Dreaming examines the mysterious state that we all experience, but still understand so little about, through the eyes of artists, scientists, film makers and historians. The exhibition brings together over 300 diverse objects, from Renaissance paintings to contemporary installations, to explore the biomedical and neurological processes that take place in the sleeping body, and the social and cultural areas of our lives to which sleep and dreans are linked. It is in five themes. Dead Tired, includes the experiences of DJ Peter Tripp, who broadacst continually for 8 days, and a victim of Stasi sleep deprivation interrogation. World Without Sleep looks at how artificial light, changing seasons and travel across time zones affects sleep patterns, with advice on combatting jet lag, Paul Ramierez Jonas's 'Another Day' counting down the time to sunrise in 90 international cities, and a collection of ingenious Heath Robinson alarm clocks. Elusive Sleep features Krzystof Wodiczko's 'Homeless Vehicle', a sleeping unit for homeless people, and 1930s public health posters warning of the dangers of fleas and bed bugs, insomnia and the use of sleeping pills. Dream Worlds looks at how dreaming and waking states intermingle, with Paul McCartney describing how the tune of Yesterday came to him in a dream, and an examination of Sigmund Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams. Traces Of Sleep examines the association of sleep with unconsciousness and death, via Aristotle's treatise on Sleep and Sleeplessness, a machine from the 1930s designed to 'tune' the nerves to prevent sleepwalking, and Ron Mueck's 'Swaddled Baby'. Wellcome Collection, London until 10th March.

Bauhaus 1919 - 1933 focuses on the step-change in art and design history that was brought about by the most important school of art, architecture and design of the 20th century. Bauhaus evolved a new language of art and design that was abstract and dynamic, and liberated from historicism. Its aim was to give modernity a precise physical form, embracing all branches of design, and to bridge the gap between art and industry. The exhibition comprises a selection of major exhibits by leading members of the Bauhaus movement, including the original manifesto designed by Lyonel Feininger and written by the architect Walter Gropius, examples of work by founding teachers of the Bauhaus, including Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Josef Itten, Oskar Schlemmer, Marcel Breuer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Josef Albers, selected film works by Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, architectural models, design, applied art, furniture, utensils and specially commissioned wall drawings. In addition, a series of photographic works by Hans Engels show a number of well known and surprising examples of Bauhaus architecture in their present condition. Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art until 17th February.

Winter Wonderland, set between Hyde Park Corner and the Serpentine, is the ultimate winter theme park experience. The 24,000sqm site features London's largest outdoor ice rink - created with 130,000 litres of frozen water, weighing 130 tonnes - able to accommodate up to 400 skaters at a time, with ice guides to help beginners; a toboggan slide; a traditional German Christmas Market, with over 30 separate wooden chalets, offering arts, crafts, presents and foods; numerous cafes and bars serving traditional food and mulled wine; a 50m observation wheel providing a panoramic view of London above the park; a Victorian carousel; a helter-skelter; a bungy dome; a selection of gentler amusement rides for younger children; and a bandstand with regular carol concerts and other festive entertainment; plus appearances by Father Christmas. To add to the atmosphere, the trees along Serpentine Road sparkle with thousands of Christmas lights highlighting the natural beauty of Hyde Park. Entrance to the Winter Wonderland site is free, with fees for individual attractions. Hyde Park, 10am-10pm daily (except Christmas Day) until 6th January.

Launchpad, the 'hands on' gallery has had a £4m makeover, relocating it to an area of 1,200sqm, one third larger than the existing space. Over 50 sophisticated interactive exhibits and devices built specifically for the gallery, aim to excite, inspire and engage children in the fundamental principles of science and technology. They are a combination of updated 'classics' from the previous gallery, world firsts created by designers and technicians from the Science Museum and around the world, and new installations inspired by existing pieces previously unseen in Britain. The gallery is particularly aimed at 8-14 year olds, although provision has also been made for younger children as well. It introduces young visitors to the principles of electricity and magnetism, forces and motion, energy transfer, light, sound and materials. New exhibits include 'Water Rocket', which launches a plastic bottle 30m across the gallery using air pressure; 'Big Machine', a 4m high reinvention of the 'Grain Pit' exhibit, where visitors combine forces by pulling levers and pulleys to demonstrate mechanical advantage; 'Sound Bite', which invites visitors to turn their own head into a sound box by biting vibrating posts to hear 'unheard' messages; 'Icy Bodies', where spinning dry ice pellets turn into jets of gas making patterns in water; and 'Social Light', allowing visitors to manipulate their own shadow to reflect laser beams or create rainbows, which can then be captured as a unique artwork and emailed to friends. Science Museum, London, continuing.

Millscapes: Art Of The Industrial Landscape looks at the industrial architecture of the North West, from the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, when mills, and the canal systems, aqueducts, warehouses and streets of terraced housing built with them, completely transformed the landscape, through the decline after the Second World War, to today's changing skylines. Paintings of early water powered mills in rural settings contrast with images of those built on the edge of urban developments, and dark, smoggy industrial landscapes, seen in French Impressionist Pierre Adolphe Valette's 'Bailey Bridge, Manchester', and James Purdy's view of 'Millbottom,' Oldham', together with works by unknown artists, including 'Lowerhouse Printworks, Burnley' and 'Frenches Mill, Saddleworth'. Paintings from the 1930s and 1940s include 'Our Town' and 'Street Scene' by LS Lowry, the rigid lines and smoking chimneys providing a stark contrast to Harry Rutherford's cheerful and informal 'Mill Girls, Ashton'. By the 1980s, over half of the mills and cloth-finishing works in Greater Manchester had been demolished or were derelict, and the subsequent regeneration is captured in Liam Spencer's 'Rooftops' and 'The End of the Mancunian Way', Peter Stanaway's 'Now the Mill Has Gone', Walter Kershaw's 'Mutual Mills Reflections', Alan Rankle's 'Saddleworth Study: Uppermill' and David Gledhill's 'Old Mill Street'. Gallery Oldham until 2nd February.

The Age Of Enchantment: Beardsley, Dulac And Their Contemporaries 1890-1930 marks the dramatic change in the world of the illustrated book that occurred following the death of Aubrey Beardsley. The 'degenerate' images of scandal and deviance disappeared, as the age of decadence was softened to delight rather than to shock. Whimsy and a pastel toned world of childish delights and an innocent exoticism unfolded in the pages of familiar fables and children's stories, such as The Arabian Nights and Hans Andersen's tales, published with lavish colour plates. A new generation of illustrators emerged, led by the masters of this new art form, artists Edmund Dulac, Kay Nielson and Arthur Rackham, followed by Jessie King, Annie French, the Detmold Brothers, Sidney Sime, Laurence Houseman, Charles Ricketts and Harry Clarke. The exhibition comprises over 100 works arranged by theme: the Exotic, the Arabian World, the Chinese World, Greeks and Romans, Fairies and Monsters. Among the many highlights are Beardsley's 'Salome', 'Le Morte d'Arthur' and 'The Rape of the Lock'; Dulac's 'Circe' and 'The Ice Maiden'; Rackham's 'Lizzie, Lizzie, Have You Tasted for My Sake the Fruit Forbidden'; Clarke's 'The Pit and the Pendulum; and plates from 'the Detmold's 'The Jungle Book' and Sime's 'Zoology'. Dulwich Picture Gallery, London until 2nd February.


Victorian Artists In Photographs: G F Watts And His World is a remarkable exhibition of photographs of the Victorian art world, many exhibited for the first time. The display features some 160 images of the leading artists of the day and their studios, including George Frederic Watts, Edward Burne-Jones, George Cruickshank, William Holman Hunt, Frederic Lord Leighton, John Everett Millais, William Morris, Dante Gabrielle Rossetti, E J Poynter, Lady Butler, Alma Tadema, Val Prinsep and Philip Morris, together with their models, wives and families, including Fanny Cornforth, Phoebe 'Effie' Cookson, Dorothy Dene, Edith Holman Hunt and Margaret Burne-Jones. In addition, there are rare images of royalty and politicians, including Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, William Ewart Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli; influential thinkers, such as John Ruskin, Thomas Carlyle, Charles Darwin and J S Mill; literary figures, including Alfred Lord Tennyson, Charles Dickens, George Elliot and Wilkie Collins; and members of the theatrical profession, such as Ellen Terry. The 100 year old Arts & Crafts building, created by Watts and his wife, which houses his extensive studio collection, was the first purpose built art gallery in Britain dedicated to the work of a single artist. Watts Gallery, Compton, near Guildford, until 31st December.

The Painting Of Modern Life is the first major survey exploring the use and translation of photographic imagery, one of the most influential developments in the last 50 years of contemporary painting. The exhibition comprises some 100 paintings by 22 artists, displayed chronologically. Beginning in the 1960s, when artists such as Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter and Richard Artschweger began making paintings that translated photographic images taken from newspapers, advertisements and snapshots, it shows how photography has influenced not just the content, but also the technique of painting. The widespread use of monochrome by painters such as Vija Celmins and Luc Tuymans, Richter's use of a wet brush to 'blur' paintings and his meticulous reproduction of a flashbulb light, and snapshot like white boarders framing the works of Richard Hamilton and Malcolm Morley, all deliberately alluded to photography, while David Hockney and Franz Gertsch drew on their own photographs. Highlights include: Andy Warhol's 'Race Riot' and Big Electric Chair'; Gerhard Richter's grieving Jackie Kennedy in 'Woman with Umbrella'; David Hockney's portrait of Ossie Clarke and Peter Schlesinger, 'Le Park des Sources, Vichy'; Richard Hamilton's 'Swingeing London', with Mick Jagger under arrest for drugs possession; Elizabeth Peyton's 'new royalty' in 'Mendips' and 'Arsenal, (Prince Harry)'; and Peter Doig's 'Lapeyrouse Wall' painted from a camera phone image. Hayward Gallery until 30th December.

Through The Whole Island: Excursions In Great Britain illustrates how the people of this country, together with visitors from overseas, have explored England, Scotland and Wales, and described, explained, praised and criticized what they found. Over many centuries, printed accounts of journeys undertaken for scientific, scholarly or political enquiry, or simply for pleasure, were instrumental in building public perceptions of the landscapes, commerce and social character of this island. Among the highlights are a first edition of Daniel Defoe's travel book 'A Tour Thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain', from which the exhibition takes its title; a set of field notes from Charles Darwin's geological tour through North Wales, illustrating the importance of travel in the development of his scientific thought; an exquisite manuscript road book drawn by George Taylor in Scotland in 1785; a 17th century engraved map of Wales, with a triangular distance table showing the mileage between major towns; an early railway map of the west of England; an illustrated Wolseley motor car catalogue from 1910; and accounts of artistic tours around Britain by J M W Turner, and pioneer of the one man show, the songwriter Charles Dibdin; together with fictional and poetic accounts of travel, such as William Combe's character Dr Syntax setting out on a tour in search of a wife, with coloured illustrations by Thomas Rowlandson, a copy of William Cowper's poem 'John Gilpin', and William Wordsworth's 'Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey' from the Lyrical Ballads. Cambridge University Library until 22nd December.