News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 16th February 2011


Watercolour is a fresh assessment of the history of watercolour painting in Britain from its emergence in the Middle Ages through to the present day. This exhibition features around 200 works, including pieces by historic artists such as William Blake, Thomas Girtin and JMW Turner, through to modern and contemporary artists including Patrick Heron, Peter Doig and Tracey Emin. Drawing out a history that traces the origins of watercolour back to medieval illuminated manuscripts, the exhibition reassesses the commonly held belief that the medium first flourished during a 'golden age' of British watercolour, from roughly 1750-1850. It reveals an older tradition evident in manuscripts, topography and miniatures, and also challenges the notion that watercolour is singularly British, by showing some key watercolours from continental Europe, which influenced British artists, such as Jacques Le Moyne, Anthony van Dyck and Wenceslaus Hollar. Artists used watercolour because it was so versatile and portable, and before the advent of photography watercolour was used primarily for recording eye-witness accounts. The exhibition shows the wide range of contexts in which it was employed, including documentation of exotic flora and fauna on Captain Cook's voyages, spontaneous on the spot recordings of landscapes by artists such as Turner and John Sell Cotman, and on the battlefield by war artists such as William Simpson and Paul Nash. Often thought of as a medium for traditional representational painting, notably landscape, the sea and picturesque buildings, this show overturns such assumptions with works by contemporary artists who have reinterpreted the medium, including Andy Goldsworthy, Ian McKeever and Anish Kapoor. It also shows how these contemporary pieces form part of a longer tradition where watercolour has been used for visionary or abstract purposes with examples ranging from Blake through to the Pre-Raphaelites, Symbolists and Neo-Romantics in more recent times. Tate Britain until 21st August.

Return To Antarctica: The British Graham Land Expedition, 1934 - 1937 celebrates the 75th anniversary of the major discoveries made during the first 'modern' Antarctic expedition. The British Graham Land Expedition employed new approaches to travel and diet, and avoided many of the problems faced by earlier explorers. With a broad scientific programme, the expedition spent three years exploring the Antarctic Peninsula (Graham Land), proving it to be part of the Antarctic mainland, not islands as previously thought. This venture laid the foundations for the current British endeavors in the Antarctic, pioneering expeditionary techniques still used today. Through dramatic black and white photographs the exhibition shows the spectacular scenery and hostile conditions faced by the 16 scientists, explorers and military officers (including Duncan Carse, who, fittingly, later became the voice of Dick Barton Special Agent in the radio series) their dogs and Lummo, a Falkland Island cat, the first feline to set paw on Antarctica, who went on to enjoy retirement in Woking. The explorers travelled in the Victorian schooner Penola, while dogs, equipment, stores and a De Havilland Fox Moth biplane, capable of operating with skis or floats, used for aerial surveying and depot laying, were carried by an accompanying ship, Discovery II. Polar Museum, Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, until 30th April.

Doctor Who Experience is a unique walk through experience and exhibition featuring the world of the legendary time traveller. The interactive experience invites visitors to step through a crack in time to become the Doctor's companion on a journey through time and space in a brand new adventure, encountering some of the best loved and scariest monsters from the television series. It includes special scenes filmed with Matt Smith as the Doctor, and the very latest in special effects, with the chance to enter a recreation of the modern TARDIS, and even receive instructions from the Doctor on how to fly it. The exhibition element charts the success of the show from the first series in 1963 to the most recent episodes. Displays include items never seen in public before, including original costumes, the Tom Baker TARDIS police box and two authentic TARDIS sets from the eras of David Tennant and Peter Davison, plus iconic sets from recent series, such as the Pandorica Box and Chair. It is the first time that Doctor Who artefacts from the show's entire 47 year history, have been on display together. There are, of course, opportunities for visitors to come face to 'whatever' with numerous foes and monsters, including several generations of the Daleks and Cybermen as well as Silurians, an Ice Warrior and a Zygon - although few things in the 47 years are as scary as Catherine Tate's acting ability. Olympia 2, Kensington, London until November.


Once Upon A Wartime: Classic War Stories For Children delves into the pages of well loved books, bringing stories of war to life. This family friendly exhibition takes a look at five of the best loved books written for children about conflict - War Horse by Michael Morpurgo, Carrie's War by Nina Bawden, The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier, The Machine Gunners by Robert Westall and Little Soldier by Bernard Ashley. Through life size sets, scale models and interactive exhibits, visitors can enter the imaginary worlds of these classic war stories, a journey through conflicts from the First World War to the present day. The exhibition encompasses the bleak landscape of no man's land in War Horse; the farm kitchen from Carrie's War; the cellar school, hidden under the destroyed streets of Warsaw in The Silver Sword; the schoolboys' secret fortress from The Machine Gunners; and the imposing tower blocks of London's gang warfare in Little Soldier. As well as these central books, there are other favourites, including Goodnight Mister Tom, Refugee Boy and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. The exhibition explores the themes of loyalty, separation, excitement, survival and identity throughout the books, and then goes behind the scenes of each story, explaining the authors' inspiration through interesting and sometimes unseen items, including manuscripts, early sketches, interviews and photographs. It also offers historical context through expert interpretation and examples of relevant objects, including evacuee labels and letters, aircraft recognition cards and a tail fin from a German incendiary bomb. Imperial War Museum, London, until 30th October.

Old Master Drawings: Guercino, Rubens And Tintoretto explores why artists have drawn over the centuries, from copying other works to making life studies, and the role of sketching in the creation of artworks. Works by some of the great Italian Renaissance and Northern European artists between 1500 and 1800 are used to examine the reasons for producing drawings. Some artists use drawing to loosen their wrists before starting painting or sculpting (like limbering up before taking part in sport), some see drawings as a key part of the creative process, where ideas are expressed then retained or discarded, and some are simply doodling or amusing themselves and others. Among the highlights are: 'Monster animal and peasant', drawn by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri known as Guercino, who liked to show off his inventive imagination by drawing bizarre or fantastical creatures, to amuse himself and his friends, depicting an odd animal, part chicken, part human foot with dog's ears, watched by a terrified peasant; Peter Paul Rubens's 'God creating Adam', more naturalistic and animated than Michelangelo's version, and 'Study for the circumcision', which differs in details from the huge finished painting now on the High Altar of Genoa's Church of the Gesu; and 'Study of the head of Giuliano de Medici by Michelangelo' made from the statue by Jacopo Tintoretto, who admired Michelangelo's Florentine Medici tomb statues so much that he kept a full size copy of one in his Venetian studio. Other artists in the exhibition include Luca Signorelli, Giorgio Vasari, Guido Reni, Claude Lorraine and Francois Boucher. Lady Lever Gallery, Liverpool, until 2nd May.

Shining Lights: The Story Of Scotland's Lighthouses tells of the people who designed, built and operated the country's lighthouses, lighting a safe passage for mariners. Encompassing more than 6,200 miles in length and in excess of 760 islands, the jagged Scottish coastline is one of the most dangerous in the world. This exhibition traces the development of lighthouse technology, shows what life was like for the lighthouse keepers, who kept the lights shining for passing mariners, and reflects on the continuing importance of lighthouses today. It features many objects unseen for decades, including spectacular giant optics, lighthouse models, beacons, photographs, paintings, engravings, films, books, and charts dating from as far back as the 17th century. A series of interactive exhibits explain the development of lighthouse technology up to the present day. The exhibition also has a section marking the 200th anniversary of the lighting of the Bell Rock, near Arbroath, the world's oldest surviving rock lighthouse. Designed by Robert Stevenson, the building of the lighthouse was an astonishing feat of engineering that marked the coming of age of the Stevenson family's connection with Scottish lighthouses. Almost all of Scotland's 208 lighthouses were developed, designed and built by a member of this engineering dynasty, whose talents contributed significantly to scientific and technological development across the world. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 3rd April.

John Stezaker is the first major exhibition of works by the contemporary British collagist of popular culture, mass media and mechanical reproduction. John Stezaker is fascinated by the lure of images, and taking classic movie stills, vintage postcards and book illustrations, he makes collages to give old images a new meaning. By means of minimal intervention, such as cropping, excision, rotation or occlusion, Stezaker removes these found images from their original context, and explores their subversive force. All this predates today's digital manipulation - Stezaker is a traditional artisan, using real materials: paper, scalpel and glue. His 'Mask' series fuses the profiles of glamorous sitters with caves, hamlets, or waterfalls, making for images of eerie beauty; his 'Dark Star' series turns publicity portraits into cut-out silhouettes, creating an ambiguous presence in the place of the absent celebrity; his 'Marriage' series joins male and female portraits to create bizarre hybrid faces; and in his 'Third Person Archive' the delicate, haunting figures from the margins of obsolete travel illustrations are presented as images on their own, taking centre stage. The exhibition comprises over 90 works from the 1970s to the present, revealing the subversive force of images, and reflecting on how visual language can create new meaning. Working in isolation from dominant movements in British art over this time, Stezaker has created a body of work which is genuinely unique. The show is organised in themed groups, reflecting the discrete strands Stezaker has developed, often over several years. Whitechapel Gallery, London E1 until 18th March

There is an accompanying display of John Stezaker's work at the Louis Vuitton Maison, 17-18 New Bond Street, London, until 19th March.

Capturing Colour: Film, Invention And Wonder explores and celebrates the quest for colour on film. When film arrived around the world in 1896, it was recognised that it had one great deficiency - it was in black and white. For the next 50 years inventors in England and America tried to solve this problem, often finding fascinating yet largely unworkable solutions until the discovery of 'true' colour film. The search for a way to capture the world in colour is a story of ingenious inventions, personal obsession, magic and illusion, scientific discovery, glamour, hard work and determination. This exhibition focuses on the moving image in Britain from the origins in magic lanterns, early colour photography and Kromskops, to applied colour films, Kinemacolor, Technicolor, Kodachrome and Eastmancolor. Over 25 film extracts are shown ranging from Georges Melies' fantastical Le Voyage a l'Impossible and Pathe's Aladdin and His Magical Lamp, through new previously unseen digital reconstructions of Kinemacolor films to The Red Shoes, home movies and travelogues in glorious kodachrome, and scenes from series that launched colour television in Britain. The exhibition also includes a wide range of colour projectors and cameras from the Kromskop, Tri-colour projector and Kinemacolor camera and projector, to a Technicolor camera, Cine-Kodak camera and early home video systems. Personal letters, booklets, film posters, photographs and promotional material for the 'new wonders' are also included. Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Royal Pavilion Gardens, Brighton, until 20th March.

Masterworks: Architecture At The Royal Academy highlights the work of many of the illustrious architect members at the Royal Academy of Arts since its foundation in 1768. The exhibition showcases the masterwork architectural drawings and models from the collection with over 50 Diploma works. Spectacular examples of Georgian and Victorian perspectives of famous projects by celebrated architects includes John Soane's watercolours for his design for a new House of Lords; George Gilbert Scott's design for government offices on Whitehall; Alfred Waterhouse's Manchester Town Hall; Edwin Lutyen's work in New Delhi; and buildings by Charles Barry. These are exhibited alongside works by many post war and current RA architects, including Hugh Casson's Elephant House at London Zoo; Denys Lasdun's National Theatre on the South Bank; James Stirling's competition entry for the Channel 4 Headquarters; Nicholas Grimshaw's scheme for Waterloo International Terminal; Zaha Hadid's 'silver painting' of her winning 2010 RIBA Stirling Prize scheme for MAXXI Museum in Rome, and projects by Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, David Chipperfield. Until the late 20th century architectural drawings were the preferred medium of Diploma Works provided by architect RA's, however, other methods, including painting, models and computer renders have become popular in recent years. Royal Academy of Arts, London, until 13th March.


Japanese Ghosts And Demons: Ukiyo-e Prints is a display of highly coloured 19th century woodblock prints. Belief in the supernatural is deep-rooted in Japanese folklore. According to Japan's native Shinto religion, gods reside everywhere - in the forests, the fields, the mountains and in the home. The arrival of Buddhism during the 6th century AD brought with it more supernatural beings, and many Chinese tales of spirits and monsters were also absorbed into Japanese tradition. Obake, the Japanese word for ghost, means 'something that is transformed'. There are many kinds of ghosts in Japan, including household objects that come to life, animals with supernatural powers, wicked demons and the vengeful spirits of cruelly-wronged women. These beings have long been represented in Japanese art and literature - depicted in paintings and prints, carved as netsuke belt toggles and dramatised for the Kabuki and Bunraku theatres. The ukiyo-e woodblock prints shown here all date from the mid-19th century, when artists competed to satisfy the public's appetite for images of the bizarre and macabre. Focusing on works by the renowned artists Utagawa Kuniyoshi and Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, and their contemporaries, giant spiders, dancing skeletons, winged goblins and hordes of ghostly warriors are among the spooky subjects depicted. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 27th February.

The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner explores one of the best known English poems, written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. First published in 1798 The Rime of the Ancient Mariner tells the tale of a mariner's nightmarish journey to the ends of the Earth. The poem deals with the universal themes of sin, guilt, remorse and redemption and its insight into the human condition has provided inspiration for writers, artists and musicians for over 200 years. This exhibition, through manuscripts, printed books and sound recordings, examines the poem within the wider context of Coleridge's life, and explores his crucial role, along with that of his friend William Wordsworth, co-author of the Lyrical Ballads, (in which The Rime of the Ancient Mariner first appeared) as a founding member of the Romantic Movement in England. A man of remarkable intellect with an inquiring spirit, Samuel Taylor Coleridge was a literary critic, philosopher, writer, journalist and public lecturer. Deeply learned and widely read, Coleridge took an exalted view of his art, asserting that 'The Poet is the man made to solve the riddle of the Universe', who 'brings the whole soul of man into activity'. The display also looks at modern interpretations of the poem, and highlights the work of illustrators and writers who have been inspired by its vivid imagery. Highlights include the 1798 first edition of the Lyrical Ballads; and two of Coleridge's notebooks, one containing re-workings of the poem (lines 201-212, dated 1806), and the other with details of a walking tour of Cumbria in 1802, providing a fascinating record of his random thoughts and observations. The British Library, until 27th February.

High Society explores the role of mind-altering drugs in history and culture, challenging the perception that drugs are a disease of modern life. Mind-altering drugs have a rich history and have been used variously as medicines, sacraments, trade goods, and routes to the divine or creative muses. The exhibition examines the subject in 5 areas: A Universal Impulse records the common drive to incorporate psychoactive substances into everyday lives; From Apothecary To Laboratory traces the path from the earliest folk remedies through the laboratories of the early 19th century to the garden shed where MDMA (ecstasy) was synthesized; Self Experimentation follows both scientists' and artists' experience of drugs as they looked for different kinds of enlightenment; Collective Intoxication explores communal drug rites from tribal ritual to mass protests; The Drugs Trade focuses on the often violent global passage of drugs; and A Sin, A Crime, A Vice Or A Disease? surveys the temperance and prohibition movements that created the framework for the current drug laws. Over 200 exhibits on display include Samuel Taylor Coleridge's handwritten 'Kubla Khan' manuscript, allegedly written following an opium dream; NASA experiments with intoxicated spiders; a 17th century account by Captain Thomas Bowrey describing his crew's experiments with bhang, a cannabis drink; an 11th century manuscript with poppy remedies written by monks in Suffolk; and a hallucinogenic snuff set collected in the Amazon by the Victorian explorer Richard Spruce. The exhibition also features contemporary art pieces exploring drug use and culture, including Tracy Moffat's 'Laudanum' portrait series; a recreation of the 'Joshua Light Show' by Joshua White, who created psychedelic backdrops for Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin; and an installation work by Huang Yong Ping. Wellcome Collection, London, until 27th February.