Private View held by Richard Andrews
Clarence House, which is the last great remaining aristocratic London town house, was the residence of the Queen Mother for nearly half a century. Before that, it was the first home of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh (where Princess Anne was born), and it has now been refurbished for the Prince of Wales. This most royal of houses, which stands beside St James's Palace, was built between 1825 and 1827 to the designs of John Nash for Prince William Henry, Duke of Clarence, who resided there as King William IV from 1830 until 1837. Now, for the first time, it is open to the public, and visitors are given a guided tour of the five rooms on the ground floor where official engagements are held. The arrangement of the rooms and the grouping of their contents remain largely as they were in the Queen Mother's time, with much of her collection of works of art, furniture and objet d'art in their former positions. 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 the Queen Mother and other members of the royal family. There are also superb examples of Faberge, English porcelain and silver, particularly pieces relating to the Bowes-Lyon family. Among the other treasures are an 1804 musical clock that plays 16 tunes, and a 1600 Brussels tapestry. Clarence House until 17th October.
Grin Up North celebrates the rich comedy heritage of the north west, through the great comedians past and present, and the characters they created. The exhibition includes original props, costumes, memorabilia, posters, recordings, archive film and photographs, ranging from Ken Dodd's tickling stick to a replica statue of Eric Morecambe, much of the material donated by the comedians themselves or their families. The Hall Of Fun looks at the real people and situations behind the characters portrayed by the likes of Les Dawson, Hylda Baker and George Formby. The Laughter Lab examines the science of why we laugh and how it is good for us. Radio Daze demonstrates how local comics first reached a national audience over the airwaves with archive material featuring Al Read, Jimmy Clitheroe and Albert Modley. Seaside Postcards commemorates nearly 100 years of saucy postcard design and publication by the Yorkshire based company Bamforth. Comedy On The Edge looks at the more controversial performers such as Bernard Manning and Roy Chubby Brown. The Museum Of Lancashire, Preston, 01772 534075 until 24th April.
When Flaminio Drove To France - Flaminio Bertoni's Designs For Citroen is the snappy title for an exhibition which examines the collaboration between the Italian automotive designer Flaminio Bertoni and Citroen, the French car company. Beginning in 1934, when Bertoni designed the bodywork of the elegant Traction Avant - reportedly in a single night - it continued in the 1940s with his work on the supremely functional 2CV, in the 1950s with the alluring DS19 - a car so beautiful it was nicknamed the 'deesse' or 'goddess' - and concluded in 1961 with the Ami 6. Many of Bertoni's design and engineering innovations are still used in cars today. This exhibition traces Flaminio Bertoni's career at Citroen through clay models, drawings, memos, photographs, contemporary film footage, vintage marketing material and the some of the original cars. The centrepiece is an actual 2CV prototype, with just one headlamp, rough corrugated bodywork, and hammock style seats slung from the roof. The 2CV was created as a French response to the German Beetle, with the brief of being capable of transporting four people and 50 kilos of potatoes at up to 60kph on unmade roads. It was originally to have been launched in 1939, but at the outbreak of the Second World War, the prototypes were buried and plans hidden. The 2CV joins the Beetle and the Mini as the most influential European cars of the 20th century. Design Museum until 12th October.
Peter Blake: Commercial Art 1960-2003 is a retrospective of the commercial work of one of the inspirational figures in the Pop movement of the 1960s, who created some of the most imitated images of the last century. Blake's work extends across a diverse range of media, including watercolour, drawings, prints, collage, painting and sculpture, but there have been few opportunities to view his commercial art before. Throughout his career Blake has worked prolifically, producing art work and graphics for album covers, posters, invitations, calendars and advertisements, as well as illustrations for magazines and books. This exhibition ranges widely, from the recent poster to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Volkswagen Golf, to posters for Live Aid, Madame Tussauds, and the London Film Festival. It also shows the printed and original artwork from the 60s covers produced for the Sunday Times Magazine, early covers for Penguin paperbacks, illustrations for the annual Trickett & Webb calendars, postage stamps, phone cards, Wedgwood plates, and Babe Rainbow, the archetypal 60s glamour girl, originally commissioned to be printed on (now very valuable) tins. Blake is renowned for his avid interest in popular culture, and his influential collage designs for record covers include the legendary Beatles Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Band Aid single Do they know it's Christmas?, and most recently Paul Weller's Stanley Road. London Institute Gallery until 11th September.
Monet: The Seine And The Sea - Vetheuil and Normandy, 1878-1883 brings together some 80 paintings from the years Monet spent in Vetheuil, a small town on the Seine near Vernon. This period of critical importance in his work, when he was at the height of his powers, has never previously been the focus of a major exhibition. It is divided into two main sections, contrasting the changing seasons in rural Vetheuil, with bold seascapes painted on the Normandy coast. A third, smaller section, shows for the first time a group of the portraits and still-life paintings Monet made during this period. Also included is a small selection of paintings by French landscape painters whom Monet admired - Corot, Courbet and Daubigny - and whose motifs his paintings recast in his own individual style. This is the first exhibition to be shown in the restored and refurbished Royal Scottish Academy building, William Henry Playfair's great landmark at the junction of Princes Street and the Mound. This £26m scheme also provides a link to the National Gallery of Scotland, Playfair's sister building next door, plus a lecture theatre, education rooms, and information technology and orientation area, as well as a restaurant, cafe and shop. Royal Scottish Academy Building, Edinburgh until 26th October.
Surfing - The Golden Years is the perfect summer exhibition, featuring over 100 surfing pictures from the personal archive of over 30,000 images created by legendary surfing photographer LeRoy "Granny" Grannis. Charting the big waves and their riders from the golden age of surfing in the 1960s up to the present day, the photographs take visitors on a journey up and down the coast of California, calling in at South Bay, Malibu, Huntington Beach and Makaha. Grannis puts his success in capturing the essence of the phenomenon down to the fact that he had been a surfer for 30 years before he picked up a camera. This exhibition records the whole scene, from great surfing names riding awesome waves, performing impossible feats on their boards - including some remarkable sequence shots - and the admiring beach babes and other onlookers, to the surfside shops and cafes. Accompanying Grannis pictures are images by his friend and inspiration John H "Doc" Ball, often credited as being the original surfing photographer. If you can't get to the beach this August, then let the first British exhibition of Grannis and Ball's work bring the beach to you. Proud Camden Moss, London NW1, 020 7482 3867 until 6th September.
T.rex: The Killer Question asks whether everyone's favourite dinosaur was really the bloodthirsty predator he has been made out to be, or whether might he have been just a 12,000lb, 12ft tall, softie scavenger, clearing up other dinosaur's leftovers. This is a new theory put forward by Dr Jack Horner, the second most famous palaeontologist in the world (after Ross from Friends). Horner is actually Curator of Palaeontology at the Museum of the Rockies in Montana. An Indiana Jones figure, he was the inspiration for the character played by Sam Neil in the film Jurassic Park, for which he was the technical advisor. The exhibition features four gigantic T.rex, including a life size skeleton and model, plus two huge moving, breathing, T.rex animatronics, which have been brought together for the first time to illustrate this controversial proposition. It also includes film of Horner's expeditions to Hell's Creek in Montana, the most fertile area for T.rex fossils on earth. Horner is the world's leading dinosaur authority, having found the first dinosaur eggs in the West, the first evidence of dinosaurs nesting, and the first evidence of dinosaurs caring for their young - but his new theory is not proving popular with dinosaur fans. Visitors are invited to consider the evidence, and register whether they think T.rex was a predator or a scavenger. Natural History Museum until 3rd May.
The Peter Saville Show is a retrospective of the work of a central figure in design and style culture over the last twenty five years. Peter Saville is best known for designing iconic graphics for bands such as Joy Division, New Order, Roxy Music, Ultravox - and even Wham! He made his reputation (and theirs) with the innovation of packaging music as fashion, by bringing sophisticated upmarket ideas of postmodernist and classicist graphic and photographic treatments from the world of frocks, to the traditionally lowbrow medium of pop music. Saville then went on to create equally influential images in fashion industry itself, for Yohji Yamamoto, John Galliano at Christian Dior and Stella McCartney. More recently he has worked on commissions for Suede and Pulp. With a spectacular installation by the architect Lindy Roy and a soundtrack by New Order, this exhibition draws on Saville's exhaustive private archive to trace the path of his career, from the first poster he designed while creative director of the fledgling Factory record label in Manchester in 1977, to recent multimedia experiments. Design Museum until 14th September.
Hats And Handbags: Accessories From The Royal Wardrobe is a display that celebrates possibly the most memorable part of any Royal outfit worn for public duties - the hats - with over 70 eye catching examples. Beginning with headdresses worn by the young Princess Elizabeth, it features items associated with significant moments in the Queen's life and 50 year reign. Alongside, are the famously capacious handbags, and of course gloves. The display also includes sketches and photographs showing how the items were created and made by the Queen's chief designers. In addition, there are other accessories chosen as particularly fine examples of British craftsmanship. This display joins the existing special displays of dresses from the early years of the Queen's reign, and of 14 evening dresses worn by Diana Princess of Wales, within the permanent exhibition of items from The Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection. This is a unique presentation of Royal, court and ceremonial dress dating from the 18th century to the present day, including a dressmaker's workroom, a tailor's shop, dressing rooms, and a recreation of a court occasion. Kensington Palace until 18th April.
Cruel And Tender: The Real In The Twentieth Century Photograph explores the realist tradition in 20th century documentary photography, taking its title from Lincoln Kirstein's description of the work of American photographer Walker Evans, who, together with German photographer August Sander, provides the historical axis for the exhibition. The result is a type of photographic realism that avoids nostalgia, romanticism, or sentimentality in favour of straightforward observation. Rather than the drama of photojournalism, the images here tend towards the quiet documentation of overlooked aspects of day to day life, whether architecture, objects, places or people. They record what Philip-Lorca diCorcia described as "that which was never really hidden, but rarely is noticed". Images are grouped thematically rather than arranged chronologically to allow comparisons and juxtapositions, thus starving sharecroppers of the American depression rub shoulders with today's homeless in the former USSR. The exhibition brings together works by 23 of the century's greatest photographers including Robert Adams, Diane Arbus, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, William Eggleston, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Paul Graham, Andreas Gursky, Boris Mikhailov, Thomas Ruff, August Sander, Stephen Shore and Thomas Struth. Tate Modern until 7th September.
Damien Hirst, a retrospective of the man with the formaldehyde is the exhibition which launches what will undoubtedly be the gallery of the year. Charles Saatchi has moved his collection from Boundary Road to the cultural heart of London on the South Bank. It comprises most of Brit Art's best known pieces, from Hirst's sheep, shark and giant anatomical model, to Tracey Emin's bed, not forgetting Marc Quinn's infamous head made of his own refrigerated blood (boasting the urban myth of a meltdown caused by a cleaner turning off the power) all of which Saatchi bought before various furores made them famous - not to say infamous. They are now displayed in what is euphemistically called the Riverside Building, but which most Londoners still call County Hall, home of the former London County and Greater London Councils. The gallery has hoovered up much of the remaining unused parts of the building, from wood panelled and memorial bedecked council chamber, entrance hall and grand staircase, to simple individual offices (and even the boiler house for new artists) and given a welcome simple restoration to the period features. The jury is out as to whether Brit Art sits comfortably in these surroundings, but the general public now has easy and continuing access to the works they have read a great deal about but never actually seen. So as well as all the tanked stuff, here are Hirst's A Thousand Years (see the maggots eat the cow, metamorphose into flies and head into the insect-o-cutor); Spot Mini, a mini car covered in spots (he does exactly what he says on the tin) driving down the stairs; and much more besides. The Emperor's new clothes? At least now everyone can decide for themselves. The Saatchi Gallery, Riverside Building - Damien Hirst until 31st August.
Lichfield: The Early Years 1962 - 1982 celebrates the 40th anniversary of the start of Patrick Lichfield's career as a photographer, which has developed along the twin themes of his personal involvement in fashionable society and his aristocratic connections. Bringing together over 40 works, it focuses on his early career as a leading participant and chronicler of the Swinging Sixties, including his period with Vogue. It features his signature group shots, with the iconic 'Swinging London', which includes Ray Davies, Roman Polanski, David Hockney, Antonia Fraser and Susannah York, and the Queen magazine 'In' and 'Out' crowd pictures; individual portraits such as a nude of Marsha Hunt for the musical Hair, Joanna Lumley leaping through the air beneath a canopy of leaves, and a striking colour image of Yves St Laurent in Marrakesh; and the St Tropez wedding of Mick and Bianca Jagger in 1971 (when he gave away the bride). The display concludes with his definitive and intimate photographs of the Queen and the Royal Family taken in the 1970s, including the large group portrait of 26 Royals at Windsor in 1971, and culminates in the photographs of wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1981. National Portrait Gallery until 31st August.