News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 13th April 2005


Spectres: When Fashion Turns Back brings together historic costumes by designers such as Christian Dior and Elsa Schiaperelli, with clothes by today's designers, including Jean-Paul Gaultier, Martin Margiela and Hussein Chalayan, to explore the continuing and complicated influence of the past on the present. Special attention is paid to the endless reinterpretation of details, such as pleats, bows and lace. The staging reflects the theme of a journey into the past, through a world of Victorian fairgrounds and theatres, employing visual illusions, of magic lanterns, magnifying mirrors and peepholes, enabling the viewer to explore the detailing used by designers. Among those featured are many from the foreground of conceptual fashion during the past twenty years, including Viktor & Rolf, Comme des Garcons and Helmut Lang, together with earlier designers such as Christian Dior, Madame Gres and Mary Quant. Designs from the past and the present are brought together: a Victorian dress is paired with one by Olivier Theyskens; Pierre Cardin's futuristic 1960s mini with Junya Watanabe's silver dress; and a gown by Madame Gres with Helmut Lang. The experience is enhanced by Ruben Toledo's black and white illustrations that adorn the walls, providing the basis for giant cut out figures, which cast fantastical silhouettes; and jewellery designer Naomi Filmer's crystal encrusted prosthetics, which embellish mannequins used throughout the exhibition. Victoria & Albert Museum until 8th May.

Watercolours And Drawings From The Collection Of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother is the first exhibition devoted to the collection formed by the late Queen. It reflects the range of her interests, and her enthusiastic patronage and support of contemporary artists from the 1930s onwards. From her first portrait as Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon aged seven, to watercolours marking the celebration of her 100th birthday, the exhibition offers a record of both private and official life, with events such as her Coronation, Victory Night 1945 and the Funeral Procession of King George VI. The selection of 73 drawings and watercolours embraces artists from Thomas Gainsborough to John Bratby, while subjects range from records of events to landscapes, still-lifes, figure studies and portraits. The Queen Mother was a shrewd and knowledgeable buyer, bringing together a collection strong in 20th century British art, with important works by Augustus John, L S Lowry, John Piper, John Singer Sargent, Walter Sickert, and Graham Sutherland, including several portraits of herself and other members of the royal family. The exhibition includes works from the most famous and important royal commission instigated by Queen Mother, the series of watercolour views of Windsor Castle and surrounding parkland by John Piper. There are also personal letters from Kenneth Clark, John Piper, Augustus John, and the illustrator and stage designer Rex Whistler. The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh until 25th September.

Henry Moore And The Challenge Of Architecture explores the conflict between Henry Moore's interest in nature, and the tendency for his art to be shown in urban environments. Moore repeatedly stated that architects considered public sculpture as 'mere surface decoration' to adorn their buildings, and attempted to redress this, initially by making sculpture more integral to the building, and finally using tough abstract 'architectural contrasts of masses' that could stand as a force in their own right. Starting in the 1920s with Moore's architectural drawings and collaborations with Charles Holden for the West Wind relief on London's Transport Headquarters, the show follows both realised and abandoned architectural projects, resulting from his associations with Serge Chermayeff, Wells Coates, Maxwell Fry, Walter Gropius and Berthold Lubetkin, and post-war collaborations with Marcel Breuer, Gordon Bunshaft and I M Pei. A particular feature is Moore's work with Michael Rosenauer, including models and original maquettes for the Time/Life Building in Bond Street (which resulted in a legal dispute) and the unrealised English Electricity Headquarters for the Strand; and experimental sculptures for UNESCO that make use of elements such as steps, benches and walls. Henry Moore Foundation, Perry Green, Hertfordshire until 31st October.


Ferdinand Columbus: Renaissance Collector is a partial reconstruction of the print collection of Ferdinand, son of Christopher Columbus, the earliest and certainly the largest Renaissance collection known to historians. Throughout his adult life, Ferdinand travelled continuously through Europe, mainly on missions for the Spanish court, during which he went on detours to buy books and prints. The prints themselves were dispersed long ago, but an inventory preserved in Seville from the time of his death describes 3,200 engravings, woodcuts and maps, in addition to a library of 15,000 volumes. This exhibition presents around 150 prints by all the most important Renaissance printmakers. They include works from Italy by Antonio Polllaiuolo, Marcantonio Raimondi and Giovanni Battista Palumba; from Germany by Albrecht Durer, Israhel van Meckenem, Albrect Altdorfer, Hans Baldung, Lucas Cranach the Elder and Hans Weiditz; from Switzerland by Niklaus Manuel Deutsch and Urs Graf; and from the Low Countries by Lucas van Leyden, Jan Wellens de Cock and Jost de Negker. Many of the prints on display are great rarities (some survive in only one impression) and some, such as maps, are large format prints that have rarely been exhibited. One such highlight is a stencil coloured genealogical tree of the House of Charles V by Robert Peril that is 24ft long. British Museum until 5th June.

Wyndham Lewis : The Bone Beneath The Pulp is an opportunity to see drawings by the artist, novelist and cultural critic Percy Wyndham Lewis, one of the key avant-garde figures in early twentieth century British art, and founder of the Vorticist movement. This exhibition explores the contribution of drawing to Wyndham Lewis's art, revealing the diversity of his output, and mapping the intriguing personal history of his rivalries and friendships. Thirty five works selected from throughout Lewis's career are on display, including figure studies and portraits, alongside more experimental and abstract works, and those of imaginative fantasy. Beginning in the early 1900s, the exhibition traces his drawing from youthful figure studies, heavily indebted to Augustus John and the Slade School tradition, to the portraits of the 1920s and 1930s, outstanding in the clarity of their line, through to the surreal abstractions and dreamscapes of the 1930s and 1940s. Acknowledging the fundamental importance of first-class drawing, Lewis wrote in a short polemical essay in the late 1930s entitled 'The Role of Line in Art', that the line in drawing was nothing less than 'the bone beneath the pulp'. Startling in their range and visual dexterity, these drawings show Lewis as a highly experimental and accomplished draughtsman, who was also an artist of great imagination, wit and originality, as well as a distinctive colourist. Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal until 4th June.

Think & Wonder, Wonder & Think features the work of over twenty contemporary East London artists, who have been inspired by the unique toys, games and costumes in the permanent collection. Their creations are displayed alongside and amongst the objects that motivated them, providing a treasure hunt for visitors. Inspired by the dolls' houses, Kezia Cantwell-Wright has constructed a miniature tower block (more representative of the surrounding area than the Victorian building that houses the museum); while David Musgrave has made a tiny humanoid to sit among the mechanical toys; Dustin Ericksen has created his own display case, in which he has put photographs of the exhibits (perhaps pandering to what appears to be the current thinking in museums that seeing a video of an object is better than seeing the object itself); Lali Chetwynd is staging performances by local children; and there are works by Brian Griffiths, Jeff McMillan and Cornelia Parker, plus a tree planted for the porcelain dolls to enjoy, and a sculpture of seaside memories provoked by a display of buckets and spades. Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green until 31st July.

Portrait Miniatures is a new gallery designed to bring to life this unique art form, tracing its development from origins in the illuminated manuscript, to its heyday in the 19th century, before the rise of photography. The display comprises 140 paintings, with masterpieces by Hans Holbein, the Elizabethans Nicholas Hilliard and Isaac Oliver, Samuel Cooper (who painted both Cromwell and Charles II) and Richard Cosway, miniature painter to the Prince Regent. It shows how the miniature - portable, highly personal and often mounted in precious materials - offers a link between painting and jewellery. Three displays focusing on sitters show how the role of the miniature, and the nature of the painter, changed over the centuries. The first group has portraits of Elizabeth I and James I and his family, from the golden age of miniature painting; the second, the family and friends of Susannah-Penelope Rosse, a woman miniaturist at the end of the 17th century; and the third, portraits painted by British artists in India at the end of the 18th century, when miniaturists provided pictures small enough to send home by post or be carried in hand luggage. The display also explores the materials and techniques of portrait miniatures to reveal the way that they were made, and looks at their settings, including ivory boxes, enamelled cases and gilt lockets. The gallery has been designed by Casson Mann, who have developed showcases that allow visitors to sit down on stools and examine the miniatures closely with a magnifying glass. Victoria & Albert Museum continuing.

Marilyn Monroe is the most extensive collection of screen costumes worn by, and memorabilia associated with, the 1950s screen goddess ever shown in Britain, including the iconic one from Bus Stop. Monroe lunched at Renshaw with Edith Sitwell while she was filming The Prince And The Showgirl. The permanent collection includes material relating to stars from the worlds of theatre, ballet and opera, such as Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh and Noel Coward; Margot Fonteyn, Rudolph Nureyev, Natalia Markova, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Anna Pavlova and Robert Helpman; Maria Callas, Maya Plisteskaya, Julia Migenes, Joan Sutherland, Montserrat Caballe and Enrico Caruso.

John Piper is an exhibition celebrating the work of the artist who specialised in capturing country houses, and their gates and temples. It includes the original paintings of Renishaw and its surroundings, and of Montegufoni, the Sitwell's castle in Tuscany, commissioned to illustrate Osbert Sitwell's epic autobiography, which are generally regarded as among his finest work. There are also Piper's designs for theatre, opera and ballet, such as the famous curtain for the first post War performance of Edith Sitwell and William Walton's Facade. The Performing Arts and John Piper Galleries, Renshaw Hall, Derbyshire until 2nd October.

Animal Mummies Of Ancient Egypt features a unique range of animal mummies on display in Britain for the first time, including cats, a baboon, a crocodile and birds of prey. There are also examples of natural mummification - when the body dries before it decomposes - including a cat buried under the grounds of the Duke of Bedford's house, and a gazelle foetus. The exhibition explores the many reasons why animal mummification was practised in ancient Egypt. As with humans, this was principally to protect the body for the 'afterlife', but mummies were also made as religious offerings, and were even used to preserve treasured pets that were buried alongside their owners. Through studying animal mummies, archaeologists have been able to learn more about the importance of animals in ancient Egyptian society. Cats sometimes received their own elaborate burials, complete with cat-shaped coffins. Animal statues and amulets made from faience or bronze, indicating the high esteem in which these creatures were held are also in the show, including scarabs, faience hippos, and bronze animals. The mummified specimens are so well preserved that scientists been able to study the skeletons to make close comparisons with the modern wild and domestic animal specimens. Visitors also have the opportunity to peer inside the mummies with the help of X-rays, to reveal one of them as a fake. The Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum, Tring until 3rd July.


Queen Alexandra And The Art Of Photography provides an insider's view of the lives of the royal families of Europe from the 1880s to the First World War. Queen Alexandra, the consort of King Edward VII, was a talented artist and the most celebrated royal photographer of her time. Her interest in photography began in 1885, after George Eastman presented her with one of his new roll-film cameras. Over the next 20 years she went on to take part in several Kodak exhibitions. Queen Alexandra's photographic albums, often embellished with watercolour decoration and annotated with impromptu anecdotes, are unique personal diaries that provide a detailed record of the life of the British royal family and their European relations. In addition to the albums and photographs, the display also includes the Queen's Kinora, an early machine for viewing short films.

Treasures From The Royal Library is a selection from the collection that has been located here since the reign of William IV. In addition to over 50,000 printed books, the Library contains coins and medals, orders of chivalry, prints, maps, fans, and one of the finest collections of Old Master drawings in the world. As works of art on paper are easily damaged by exposure to light, they cannot be on permanent display. The current selection includes drawings by Leonardo da Vinci and Hans Holbein.

The Drawings Gallery, Windsor Castle until 25th April.

Richard Wentworth is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition to date devoted to the British sculptor, with work in many media from the last thirty years, as well as new pieces made especially for this show. Since the late 1970s Richard Wentworth has emerged as one of the key figures in radically transforming the way people think about sculpture and works of art. Wentworth finds his materials in the everyday world, from things and thoughts already ready made, and consequently he has been dubbed 'the Oxfam artist'. Whether isolating an image of this existing world in one of the thousands of photographs that constitute the ongoing series 'Making Do and Getting By', or combining, transforming or manipulating found objects not normally associated with art, such as dictionaries, sweet wrappers, books, plates and buckets into his sculptures, Wentworth offers a new awareness of the everyday. Objects as much as ways of mind are disrupted and subverted, allowing the thousands of tiny gestures and things that constitute the world around us to be read in new and unexpected ways, often on an unaccustomed scale or in unexpected materials. Works featured include 'False Ceiling', 'Spread' and 'Mirror Mirror'. Tate Liverpool until 24th April.

Bouchier: Seductive Visions is a new display of spectacular creations from the worlds finest collection of works by the most beguiling of 18th century French Rococo painters. Bouchier's gods and goddesses, shepherds and shepherdesses, cherubs and mythical creatures, inhabited a unique ethereal world, somewhere between Paris and Versailles. The exhibition reflects how this little known painter rose from obscurity to reach the heights of the academic hierarchy, and work for a prestigious clientele. This included King Louis XV and his mistress Madame de Pompadour, for whom he created the masterpieces 'The Setting of the Sun' and 'The Rising of the Sun', which form the centrepiece of the exhibition. Bouchier was prolific, and his influence soon extended beyond paintings, as he became an arbiter of society's taste. This is borne out by the inclusion here of Sevres porcelain, miniatures, gold work, boxes, furniture and tapestry reflecting his style. He also designed elaborate settings for opera, ballet and comedies, and murals for public and domestic interiors. Bouchier's female nudes and poetically imaginative pastorals led to him being acclaimed as 'the Painter of the Graces' and 'the Anacreon of Painting'. His extravagant, idealised scenes perfectly captured the hedonistic mood of the Enlightenment, but his enchanted visions of gods and goddesses were swept away by the harsh realities of the ensuing Revolution. The Wallace Collection until 17th April.