News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 15th July 2009


Beyond Bloomsbury: Designs Of The Omega Workshops 1913 - 1919 explores a radical chapter in the history of 20th century British craft and design. Established in 1913 by the painter and influential art critic Roger Fry, the Omega Workshops were an experimental design collective, whose members included Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Wyndham Lewis, Frederick Etchells, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Winifred Gill and other artists of the Bloomsbury Group. The Omega Workshops brought the experimental language of avant-garde art to domestic design in Edwardian Britain. They were a laboratory of design ideas, creating a range of objects for the home, from rugs and linens to ceramics, furniture and clothing, all boldly coloured with dynamic abstract patterns. No artist was allowed to sign their work, and everything produced by the Workshops bore only the Greek letter Omega. The exhibition combines original Omega working drawings with the finest examples of the Workshops' printed linens, Cubist-inspired hand knotted rugs, woven wools and painted silks, as well as ceramics and furniture. Highlights include the 'Peacock Stole' of chiffon silk painted in primary colours, with a motif of confronting peacocks, unseen for 50 years; Vanessa Bell's painted screen 'Bathers in a Landscape', a transitional object between fine and decorative art; a rug designed for Lady Ian Hamilton's flat at 1 Hyde Park Gardens, with working drawings revealing aspects of the design, commissioning and manufacturing process; and the original signboard painted by Duncan Grant, which hung above the entrance to the workshops. Running alongside the main exhibition is a display of work by Winifred Gill, who ran and organised the Workshop during the First World War The Coutauld Gallery, Somerset House, until 20th September.

Fly Navy 100 charts the rapid development of naval aviation, from The Mayfly, the first Royal Naval airship commissioned in 1909 and early bi-planes, to today's Sea Harrier. The exhibition features 9 important aircraft, including a replica of a 1912 Short S27; the first aircraft to have taken part in a naval battle in 1916 - a Short 184; the first helicopter to be commissioned by the Royal Navy in 1949 - a Westland Dragonfly; the Sea King helicopter flown by Prince Andrew during the Falklands conflict; and a Sea Harrier that shot down an Argentine Sky Hawk in the same campaign; together with a Westland Lynx helicopter, a Supermarine Walrus sea-plane, a Fairey Firefly, and a Sopwith Pup. The museum, which houses Europe's largest collection of naval aircraft, also provides an opportunity for visitors to get a feel for what it would be like to be onboard the flight deck of the HMS Ark Royal, with an entire gallery that recreates the experience, while other galleries concentrate on aircraft from the Second World War, and experimental aircraft, including the first British built Concorde. Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton, Somerset, until 31st December.

Cecil Beaton: Portraits is a major retrospective of work by one of the most celebrated photographers of the 20th century. Cecil Beaton, who was renowned for his images of elegance, glamour and style, was also a writer, artist, designer, actor, caricaturist, illustrator and diarist, talents which are reflected in the exhibition. It is divided into four sections capturing 50 years of fashion, art and celebrity: The Early Years: London To Hollywood - 1920s and 1930s, with photographs of Hollywood stars such as Marlene Dietrich and Fred Astaire, artists including John (Rex) Whistler, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, and writers such as Edith Sitwell; The Years Between: The War And Post-War Arts - 1940s, featuring Greta Garbo, Vivian Leigh and Laurence Olivier, as well as Princess Elizabeth and Winston Churchill; The Strenuous Years: Picturing The Arts - 1950s, with portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, Francis Bacon, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Lucian Freud and Marilyn Monroe; and Partying And The Partying Years: Apotheosis And Retrospection - 1960s and 1970s, including images of Audrey Hepburn, Prince Charles, Harold Pinter, Katherine Hepburn, Mick Jagger, Barbara Streisand and Elizabeth Taylor. Walker Gallery Liverpool until 31st August.


Medals Of Dishonour is the first ever exhibition to examine the intriguing but relatively unappreciated tradition of the medal as an indicator of dishonour. It features examples from the past 400 years that denounce their subjects, and reveals the long and rich tradition of this largely unexplored type of medal. The historic medals are hugely revealing about the political and cultural opinions that were prevalent in the times in which they were made, as are accompanying modern works, which are the creations of current artists such as Steve Bell, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Ellen Gallagher, Richard Hamilton, William Kentridge, Michael Landy, Langlands and Bell, Cornelia Parker, Grayson Perry and Felicity Powell. The first part of the exhibition focuses on satirical and political historical medals, ranging from the sombre and the bizarre to the scatological and the humorous, which are placed in context through the use of contemporary prints and drawings. These include a medal by a Dutch artist attacking France and its king, created in response to the financial scandals that occurred in Europe in the 1720s, featuring a humiliating image of Louis XIV ejecting the contents of his stomach and bowels; and a German anti-war medal from 1915, showing a figure of Death seated on a cannon, happily smoking, while a city is in flames in the background. The second part of the exhibition features medals specially commissioned for the exhibition from contemporary artists, dealing with a wide range of current issues, from the war in Iraq and consumerism, to ASBOs and the credit crunch. British Museum until 27th September.

Robert Adam's Landscape Fantasies: Watercolours And Drawings reveals an undiscovered side to the work of one of the leading figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, who was also one of the most innovative architects and interior designers in Britain in the 18th century. This exhibition is dedicated to Robert Adam's picturesque landscapes, which were made towards the end of his life, purely for his own relaxation and enjoyment. These assured sketches and watercolours depict majestic landscapes - some real, some imagined - but all flawlessly composed. They feature magnificent castles perched perilously on towering mountain tops, and steep cliff faces surrounded by gushing waterfalls, rivers and gorges. Adam's atmospheric landscapes are spectacularly lit, with dark heavy skies and long brooding shadows. Though mostly imaginary, these Romantic views often take as their reference points the sublime landscape and alluring architecture of Adam's native Scotland. This selection of over 30 watercolours includes among its real views, Adam's spectacular rendition of Cullen Castle. A number of early drawings by his sketching partners Paul Sandby and John Clerk of Eldin are also on display. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 2nd August.

Images From The Past: Rome In The Photography Of Peter Paul Mackey 1890 - 1901 offers a unique opportunity to see what the eternal city actually looked like at the turn of the 20th century. These photographs of Rome, on public display for the first time, offer a fascinating portrait of the city in transition. On the one hand, it appears still immersed in the countryside, more rural than urban, with vineyards and market gardens, and even artichoke cultivation on the Aventine. On the other, it is shown to be a city unexpectedly industrial, with smoking chimneys on the skyline, and factories filling the Circus Maximus - subsequently demolished. Little is known of the English Dominican Father, Peter Paul Mackey, who arrived in Rome in 1881 to work on the Leonine edition of the works of St Thomas Aquinas, and remained in the city until his death in 1935. Elected an Associate of the British School at Rome in 1906, he presented the School with a set of over 2,000 prints and negatives of his photographs, accompanied by a detailed hand written catalogue. Although most of these are sadly now lost, those remaining, on display here, provide a remarkable record of a turning point in Rome's history. Sir John Soane's Museum, London, until 12th September.

J W Waterhouse: The Modern Pre-Raphaelite is the first major British retrospective exhibition of the Pre-Raphaelite artist in a generation, and features over 40 paintings. John William Waterhouse was born in the year that the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood delivered their manifesto for a new reformed art. He inherited their taste for Tennyson, Keats and Shakespeare, but also drew inspiration from classical mythology interpreted by Homer and Ovid. Although his pictures are perceived as serene, they belie a Romantic fascination with intense human passions. Waterhouse's painterly manner and adherence to three dimensional space distinguish him from his Pre-Raphaelite forerunners. The exhibition considers how Waterhouse's paintings reflect his engagement with contemporary issues, ranging from antiquarianism and the classical heritage, to occultism and the New Woman. It includes almost all the paintings that made him one of the most successful and critically acclaimed artists of the day. Highlights are 'The Lady of Shalott', 'A Naiad', 'Hylas and the Nymphs', 'St Eulalia', 'Circe Invidiosa: Circe Poisoning the Sea', 'A Mermaid' and 'St Cecilia' These works are accompanied by studies in oil, chalk and pencil; period photographs; sketchbooks; and the volumes of Tennyson and Shelley in which Waterhouse drew sketches. Royal Academy of Arts, until 13th September.

Diane Arbus celebrates the work of the legendary New York photographer, who transformed the art of photography, capturing a unique view of 1950s and 1960s America. Diane Arbus's singular vision, and her ability to engage in an uncompromising way with her subjects, made her one of the most important and influential photographers of the 20th century. Arbus was born in New York City and was a photographer primarily of people she discovered in the metropolis and its environs. In her photographs, the self-conscious encounter between photographer and subject becomes a central drama of the picture. Her "contemporary anthropology" - portraits of couples, children, carnival performers, nudists, middle class families, transvestites, people on the street, zealots, eccentrics, and celebrities - stands as an allegory of post war America and an exploration of the relationship between appearance and identity, illusion and belief, theatre and reality. (Alternatively, she created a 20th century version of a Victorian Freak Show). The exhibition comprises 69 black and white photographs, including the rare and important portfolio of 10 vintage prints: Box of Ten, one of the best collections of Arbus's work in existence. National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, until 31st August.

Mariscal - Drawing Life is the first British exhibition of work by the Spanish designer and artist Javier Mariscal. Regarded as one of the world's most innovative and original designers, Mariscal's diverse body of work spans cartoon characters to interiors, furniture to graphic design, and corporate identities. Mariscal's intense relationship with drawing and illustration is central to his career, and is the basis for his designs over the last 30 years. He gave Barcelona its graphic identity as it emerged from the Franco era, and introduced Cobi, the official Olympic mascot of the Barcelona games. Sketches, designs, films and photographs are on display alongside furniture and textiles.

Remembering Jan Kaplicky - Architect Of The Future celebrates the work of the innovative Czech architect, who came to Britain following the Soviet invasion in 1967. After working with Denys Lasun, Richard Rogers and Norman Foster, Jan Kaplicky set up Future Systems with David Nixon, as a think tank to explore new ideas. These included robot built structures in space, houses in the guise of space age survival pods, and malleable interiors. Among Kaplicky's best known designs featured in the exhibition are the award winning Media Centre at Lord's Cricket Ground, and the Selfridges store in Birmingham, together with the Hauer-King House in Wales, the Floating Bridge in Docklands, and Comme des garcons in Tokyo.

Design Museum until 1st November.


Maggie! Maggie! Maggie! marks the 30th anniversary of the election of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister. Kenneth Baker, who served in her cabinet from 1985 until 1990, and Steve Bell, the Guardian's chief cartoonist, have selected some of their favourite cartoons of Britain's first woman Prime Minister, her colleagues, her critics and her adversaries. The exhibition shows how she has been both loved and loathed by politicians, the press and the public. The selection of nearly 100 cartoons by 35 cartoonists from across the political spectrum, includes works by Steve Bell, Michael Cummings, Stanley Franklin, Nicholas Garland, Les Gibbard, Charles Griffin, Jak, Peter Kennard, Gerald Scarfe, Posy Simmonds and Ralph Steadman. The exhibition chronicles Margaret Thatcher's rise to power, the Falklands war, the miners' strike, privatisation, the poll tax, Europe, her eventual downfall, and her long term impact on both the Conservative and Labour parties. The Cartoon Museum, London, until 26th July.

Victorians At The Seaside: Photographs By Paul Martin captures the first flush of the British seaside experience. In 1892, the photographer Paul Martin made a trip to Yarmouth, the popular seaside resort in Norfolk. Disguising his camera as a leather box, he was able to record his fellow holidaymakers unnoticed, providing a fascinating insight into life in Victorian England. Wealthy families began to visit the seaside in the 18th century, but it wasn't until the 19th century that the seaside holiday developed. This was made possible by the expansion of the railways in the 1840s and 1850s, which made long distance travel affordable for most people. The wealthy stayed in expensive hotels, whilst boarding houses developed for the less wealthy. Children enjoyed paddling, donkey rides, and building sand castles. Few people learnt to swim, but those who could afford costumes bathed in the sea. People believed that a dip in the sea was beneficial to their health. Punch and Judy moved from the city streets to the seaside, and piers began to house a range of attractions including theatres, merry-go-rounds, shooting galleries and model railways. Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green, London until 24th July.

Baroque 1620 - 1800: Style In The Age Of Magnificence features the splendour of one of the most opulent styles of the 17th and 18th centuries. The exhibition reflects the complexity and grandeur of the Baroque style, from the Rome of Borromini and Bernini, to the magnificence of Louis XIV's Versailles, and the lavishness of Baroque theatre and performance. On display are some 200 objects, including silver furniture, portraits, sculpture, a regal bed and court tapestries, which conjure up the rooms of a Baroque palace. Further, the exhibition shows how, as European power and influence spread, Baroque style reached other parts of the world. Highlights include: depictions of the Palace of Versailles, including the Hall of Mirrors and designs for the gardens; rare historic furniture made for Louis XIV; religious paintings by Rubens and Tiepolo; sculpture and architectural designs for St Peter's Basilica and the Cornaro Chapel in Rome; stage sets from theatres such as Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic, Italian costumes and musical instruments; the original model for James Gibbs's church St Mary-Le-Strand in London; pearls from the vaults of Augustus the Strong in Dresden; costumes from the Swedish Royal court, and candelabrum from the Swedish Royal chapel; and a gilded altarpiece, sculpture, paintings and furniture from Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Indonesia, the Philippines and India. Victoria & Albert Museum until 19th July.