News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 12th December 2012


The Furniture Gallery is the first ever gallery dedicated to providing a permanent home for the internationally renowned furniture collection of over 14,000 pieces. Designed by NORD Architecture, the gallery displays more than 200 outstanding pieces of British and European furniture, from the Middle Ages to the present day, as well as examples of American and Asian furniture, and examines in detail the range of materials and techniques employed for each one. The pieces range from chairs, stools, tables, bureaux, chests, cabinets and wardrobes, to clocks, mirrors and screens. Well-known designers such as Thomas Chippendale, David Roentgen, Grinling Gibbons, George Bullock, Robert Adam, Eileen Gray, Michael Thonet, Ron Arad and Tom Dixon are represented, alongside lesser-known names selected for their superior workmanship. The gallery explores a thematic range of materials and techniques ranging from joinery, moulding, upholstery and digital manufacture, to carving, marquetry, gilding and lacquer. The display focuses on techniques of construction and decoration and includes numerous examples of how conservation and analysis have revealed previously unknown information about the way in which the objects were made. Highlights include a 16th century gilded cassone made for the Duke of Urbino; a 17th century scagliola decorated table formerly at Warwick Castle; a Gothic revival cradle designed by Richard Norman Shaw; a dining chair by Frank Lloyd Wright; and a storage unit by Charles and Ray Eames. Victoria & Albert Museum continuing.

Tracing The Century highlights drawing's fundamental role as a catalyst and vehicle for change in modern and contemporary art. The exhibition has at its heart artworks based on the human body and the inner self, examining the link between figuration and abstraction that characterised art in the 20th century, exploring the continuous slippage between the two. It moves from the preliminary sketch to painting, sculpture, photography and film, acknowledging the broader role drawing played within modernism. Some 100 works are brought together into small, often trans-historical groupings, demonstrating points of contact or crossroads between artists through the practice of drawing, such as a sequence of works on paper by Paul Cezanne, Paul Klee, Richard Hamilton, Lee Bontecou and Julie Mehretu, which proposes drawing as a means of conjuring imaginary worldscapes. Drawing's ability to transcend a fixed set of materials and conventions has ensured the medium's vitality and power to stimulate change. A number of works in the exhibition serve to erode the conventional definition of drawing as a static line on a two dimensional plane, such as Anthony McCall's 'Line Describing a Cone', where visitors can explore the projected line by moving around it, interacting with it and moving within the cone of light created; and Matt Saunders's 'Century Rolls', a series of silver gelatin prints created by projecting light through a drawing or painting to expose a sheet of photosensitive paper, alongside which are a new animated film made from a huge number of ink on mylar drawings, edited into hypnotic moving images. Tate Liverpool until 20th January.

Charles Jennens: The Man Behind Handel's 'Messiah' explores the life, work and character of the 18th century philanthropist who was Handel's greatest collaborator. Charles Jennens, an enigmatic character, had an enormous influence on Handel's life and work. As librettist for the oratorios 'Saul' and 'Belshazzar', he provided the composer with words that inspired some of his most challenging and exciting music. Jennens's carefully chosen scripture selection for 'Messiah' was to inspire Handel to even greater creative heights, and together these two men created one of the greatest musical works of all time (for which Jennens never received any payment). The exhibition examines their relationship in detail, alongside other elements of Jennens's life as a great landowner, the builder of a fine country house with extensive grounds, a major art collector, a Christian philanthropist, a devout defender of revealed religion, an encourager of other authors and composers, a forward looking editor of Shakespeare (including Hamlet and Othello), and possibly the owner of the first piano in England. This exhibition unites all known oil portraits of Jennens for the first time, and includes paintings and books from Jenner's collection, letters from Handel to Jennens discussing their projects, and original manuscripts by Handel with Jennens's alterations. Handel House Museum, 25 Brook Street, London W1, until 14th April.


Women In Focus: Photographs By Dorothy Bohm is a rare opportunity to see work by the trailblazing mid 20th century British photographer. The exhibition features a selection of Dorothy Bohm's photographs dating from the 1990s to the present, which juxtapose the images of women that are ever present in advertising, artworks and shop windows, with actual women living and working in London. Bohm aims to capture the many roles of women in society, from professional to parent, and reflects on how women are seen in and see public spaces like the shops, cafes and streets of the capital. The works reveal some of the contrasts, similarities and discrepancies between the ideals and expectations of the feminine and real life women in everyday situations. While Bohm reflects on issues surrounding gender, her photographs are full of vibrancy and humour, with posed mannequins seeming to mimic some of those who pass by their shop windows, and women unconsciously repeating the same gesture as the image in an advertising poster. These kinds of motifs run through the work and link the images together, showing her enduring interest in people, especially women, of all ages and from all walks of life. On the surface these photographs can be enjoyed simply as a series on street life in London and on how people live, work and play in the city, but actually they go a little deeper, and consider how themes such as women's public presence - how they are looked at, and how they look. Museum of London until 17th February.

Secret Splendour: The Hidden World Of Baroque Cabinets casts new light on some of the most magnificent and expensive furniture ever produced. Made from a wide variety of rare and exotic materials, cabinets-on-stands were one of the great status symbols of the 17th century, designed to show off the wealth and importance of their owners. Their outer doors are splendid enough, often with painted or inlaid panels, but these open to reveal exquisite interiors, where collectors could show off their most prized and precious objects, revealed to only the most privileged of guests. Many cabinets incorporate ingenious secret drawers and compartments to hide important documents, some of which were fitted with central mirrored perspectives, like miniature theatres. For the first time, a dazzling array of these cabinets are being displayed fully open, to reveal their extraordinary interiors, an experience formerly reserved for a select few. The show includes astonishing pieces made from the widest variety of materials and techniques, including tortoiseshell, ivory, ebony, painted panels, verre eglomise, marble, pietra‐dura, silver, marquetry, intarsia, semi precious stones and japanning, created by the most highly skilled craftsmen in England, Flanders, Holland, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Japan and China. Holburne Museum, Bath, until 6th January.

UCL Flaxman Gallery and Octagon Gallery have reopened after a 9 month comprehensive refurbishment of the historic spaces, overseen by Burwell Deakins Architects. In the upper Flaxman Gallery, the interior of the Wilkins Building's famous dome, John Flaxman's plaster study 'St Michael Overcoming Satan' now stands on a glass plinth above an oculus (a circular opening in the floor or ceiling). On the surrounding walls, below the dome's windows, plaster reliefs from Flaxman's studio are set into the wall. They are a rare surviving 19th century sculptural installation, considered by art historians as comparable to plaster cast galleries by Italian contemporaries such as Canova. Visitors in the new Octagon Gallery below can look up through the oculus, seeing the reliefs from new angles. The Octagon Gallery features four large bespoke showcases incorporating audio visual and touchscreen technology. Its first exhibition is of objects, some never displayed before, from the University's art, anthropology, archaeology, engineering, pathology and zoology collections, and record encounters and explorations between scholars and the natural and made environment. The exhibition is designed to offer inspiration, encapsulating imagination and creativity in material form. At the same time, the items materialise world views that are problematic and difficult to reconcile today. 5 of UCL's Mellon Fellows have chosen a selection of objects that speak to, and translate, different aspects of their own research. University College London, Gower Street, WC1, continuing.

Ansel Adams: Photography From The Mountains To The Sea features the work of one of the most popular and influential photographers in American history. Ansel Adams was a photographic pioneer, who brought the American wilderness into the homes of millions with his spectacular images of rugged and romantic landscapes. This is the first exhibition to focus on Adams's lifelong fascination with water in all its forms, combining some of the most famous photographs of the 20th century with lesser-known examples, providing a new context for enjoying this important artist and his legacy. It includes images of crashing waterfalls, dramatic rapids and geysers, placid ponds, raging rivers and beautiful icescapes. Fluid, ephemeral, and unpredictable, Adams returned to water throughout his career, and this selection traces his development from a young boy taking holiday snaps to one of the most accomplished image makers of modern times. It shows his progress from an early 'Pictorialist' style, towards a distinctly Modernist approach, demonstrated through his use of techniques such as sharp focus, seriality, and sequence. Highlights include the very first photograph Adams ever made at the age of 14, featuring a watery pool at the Panama Pacific Exhibition of the 1915 World's Fair; the three American Trust murals, produced in the 1950s on an unprecedented scale, and testament to his technical innovation; Adams's favourite work, 'Golden Gate before the Bridge'; and the iconic images 'Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite' and 'Stream, Sea, Clouds, Rodeo Lagoon, Marin County, California'. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, until 28th April.

Robin Ironside: Neo-Romantic Visionary is a retrospective of the work of one of the most individual British artists of the mid 20th century, who has now been almost forgotten. Robin Ironside was a painter, illustrator, designer, writer and curator. Exquisite and intricate, his remarkable paintings draw upon many sources of inspiration, from art and architecture to music and poetry, and his use of hallucinogenic drugs. Completely self-taught, Ironside saw his paintings as belonging to the imaginative tradition of British art. Elegant and learned, witty and melancholic, eccentric and obsessive, Ironside was as extraordinary as his art, whose emotional spectrum ranges from sensual delight to anxiety and death. The subjects of his pictures, which owed a lot to John Piper, John Martin and classical sculpture, were nearly all imaginary, usually with literary, scholarly or classical themes, and often executed with a magnifying glass. Many of his works contain a young male protagonist who is probably based in part on himself. In the 1940s and 50s Ironside worked as a designer for ballet and opera at the Royal Opera House, and his understanding of set design is evident in the architectural spaces of some of his other paintings, which could almost be a design for a stage set, due to the theatrical framing of the space. The exhibition is comprised of nearly 70 items, with paintings spanning his entire career, together with representative selections of his theatre designs, book illustrations, other designs and publications. Grosvenor Museum, Chester, until 6th January.

Winter Wonderland, set between Hyde Park Corner and the Serpentine, returns as the ultimate winter theme park experience. The 20 acre 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 haunted mansion; an ice and snow sculpture experience; a traditional Christmas Market, with over 50 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 big top presenting Zippo's Circus with a special 50 minute Christmas themed show and Cirque Berserk featuring a Globe of Death; a double decker carousel and other traditional rides and attractions; thrill rides including Star Flyer, Power Tower and Black Hole; a ski jump and snow ride; and a selection of gentler amusement rides for younger children; plus Father Christmas in his own Santa Land. 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.


A Family In Wartime offers a picture of what life was like on the Home Front during the Second World War through the eyes of one family. The exhibition explores the lives of William and Alice Allpress and their 10 children, and reveals what life in London was really like during the war. Tracing their journey from the outbreak of war, the exhibition aims to bring home the reality of events such as the Blitz and evacuation. First hand audio accounts from members of the family, together with family photographs and an intricate model of their family home at 69 Priory Grove, South London, present a personal and intriguing insight into ordinary family life during this time of great uncertainty. Typical tasks included assisting in the evacuation of children, organising clothing exchanges, running rest centres and offering practical and emotional support to those affected by air raids. There are everyday household items from the era, such as stirrup pumps which people were encouraged to keep in case of incendiary bombs, and cookery books which gave advice on how to cook with limited rations. Newspaper clippings, propaganda posters and film footage help piece together a picture of life from the outbreak of war, from the everyday struggles, to the end of the war and the VE day celebrations. Artworks offer creative interpretations of wartime living, including Henry Moore's ghostly drawing of women and children settling in for a night on a London tube platform, Wilfred Haines's striking image of a flying bomb raid, and in contrast, Leila Faithful's nostalgic oil painting of evacuees growing cabbages in an English country garden. Imperial War Museum, London, until 31st December.

Curious Anatomys: An Extraordinary Story Of Dissection And Discovery charts the history of public dissections across Europe, through human remains, graphic models and detailed illustrations. The exhibition revisits centuries of academia held within a set of 6 anatomy tables, as rare as their usage was gristly. These visually spectacular anatomical tables are on full public display for the first time in their history. They show actual human veins, nerves and arteries, dissected at Padua's famous anatomy theatre in the 17th century, skillfully cut from bodies, and arranged on large varnished wooden panels. Academics believe the tables were created as teaching aids for anatomy students, from the bodies of executed criminals or supplied by the hospitals of Padua. They are one of only two sets of these panels known to have existed, and are amongst the oldest surviving human anatomy preparations in Europe. The panels are accompanied by rare early anatomy books, with beautifully detailed illustrations of the body, including Andreas Vesalius's groundbreaking 'On the fabric of the human body', from 1543, with flayed figures and 'muscle man' illustrations; and William Harvey's 1628 publication 'On the motion of the heart', detailing his landmark discovery of the circulation of blood. In addition, the exhibition includes dissection tools, preparations made by surgeon Sir Astley Paston Cooper, and exquisite wax models created by anatomical modeller Joseph Towne. There is also a film with expert commentary on the history of anatomy and the tables, and an intriguing investigation of the tables by Francis Wells, consultant surgeon at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge. Royal College of Physicians, 11 St. Andrews Place, Regent's Park, London NW1, until 31st December.

The Dandy: 75 Years Of Biffs, Bangs And Banana Skins pays tribute to Britain's longest running comic. Thes exhibition looks at The Dandy from its birth in 1937 up to its 75th birthday on 4th December 2012, and considers its future as it prepares to embark on a new digital adventure. On 4th December 1937 Dundee publishers D C Thomson launched a new 28 page title, The Dandy Comic. Priced at 2d it offered children a mixture of prose stories, jokes, competitions and comic strips with characters such as Korky the Cat, Keyhole Kate and Desperate Dan. So successful was the comic that in its first week it sold 481,895 copies. During the Second World War, The Dandy was seen as so vital to public morale that, though reduced to 12 pages, it continued to appear fortnightly and never ceased publication. In the 1950s and 1960s its readership grew enormously to a record breaking sale of 2,035,210 copies. In 1999 it became Britain's longest running comic and entered the Guinness book of records. The exhibition includes lots of favourite characters from the past, such as Desperate Dan, Korky the Cat, Corporal Clot, Winker Watson, Brassneck, Cuddles and Dimples and Bananaman in various incarnations, together with more recent strips such as Harry Hill and Pre-Skool Prime Minister. On 4th December 2012 The Dandy will celebrate its 75th birthday with a special final print issue. The exhibition includes some exclusive material from the new Dandy currently in development, which will combine some favourites from the comic's great heritage with new material specially created for today's younger generation. The Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1, until 24th December.