News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 16th June 2004


The Foundling Museum has opened on the original site of the Foundling Hospital, Britain's first orphanage, which was founded in 1739, thanks to the work of the retired shipbuilder and sailor Thomas Coram. In an effort to satisfy the abandoned children's spiritual, as well as physical needs, Coram enlisted the help of William Hogarth, and other artists of the time, thus creating Britain's first art gallery. He also co-opted the services of composer George Frederick Handel. The museum reflects this unique heritage in its displays. Firstly, it has an exhibition that tells the story of the hospital and its charges, who amounted to some 27,000 children by the time of its closure in 1954. This includes items such as the often pathetic tokens, left with children as a form of identification by destitute mothers, who hoped one day to return and reclaim them, but rarely if ever did - real life 'little orphan Annies'; documentation of how the organisation was run; and details of the lottery system operated by the oversubscribed institution, to decide if applicants were given acceptance, waiting list place, or rejection. Secondly, the Hospital's collection of paintings is on display, including Hogarth's portrait of Thomas Coram, and works by Rysbrack, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Roubiliac, Hudson, Ramsay and Wilson. Thirdly, there is a collection of memorabilia relating to the life and work of Handel, who presented an organ to the Hospital chapel, which he personally inaugurated by playing a special version of the Messiah, a manuscript of which he later bequeathed to the Hospital. The Foundling Museum, 20 Brunswick Square, London WC1, continuing.

William Roberts: Retrospective 1895 - 1980 is the first major exhibition for over 40 years to examine the life and art of one of the most remarkable British artists of the 20th century. William Roberts studied at the Slade School and was a member of the Vorticist movement, before serving as an Official War Artist in both the First and Second World Wars. He was drawn to everyday incidents and dramas, which he captured in bold colours with his own unique style. Roberts portrayed the working lives of the men and women in the street in Britain between the wars, together with how they spent their leisure time (such as there was). The exhibition of over sixty paintings includes works from his entire career, some of which are being exhibited in public for the first time. In some cases, such as 'At The Hippodrome', an original preparatory drawing or watercolour can be viewed alongside the finished work, giving an insight into Roberts's creative process. Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield until 4th September.

Matisse To Freud: A Critic's Choice - The Alexander Walker Bequest reveals to the public for the first time the distinguished film critic's collection of modern prints and drawings. Over a period from the early 1960s to his death last July, Walker the assembled a collection of more than 200 works, which he left to the British Museum - the largest and most significant bequest of modern works that it has received in the past fifty years. The focus of the collection is post 1960 American and British art, with works by artists including Jasper Johns, Jim Dine, Josef Albers, Philip Guston, Chuck Close, Richard Diebenkorn and Brice Marden from the United States, and Lucian Freud, Bridget Riley, Paula Rego, David Hockney, Howard Hodgkin, Keith Vaughan and Rachel Whiteread from Britain. Picasso, Matisse and Miro, as well as Jean Dubuffet, Eduardo Chillida and Nicholas de Stael are among the School of Paris artists collected by Walker, as well as the principal exponents of British Vorticism: Nevinson, Bomberg and Wadsworth. This exhibition, comprising nearly 150 works, shows that Walker was a highly discerning collector of modern art, with an eye for works that showed a new direction or turning point for the artist. British Museum until 9th January.


Unlocking The Archives: 500 Years Of Seeing The World is the inaugural show of a £7.1m Lottery funded scheme which has opened one of the world's largest collections of geographical knowledge to the public for the first time in 174 years. A new study centre at the Royal Geographical Society, designed by Craig Downie, provides space for displays from the collection, comprising over two million items, including maps, photographs, books, journals, artefacts and documents, which tell the story of 500 years of geographical research and exploration. It also includes a library, reading room and archive storage up to the best contemporary standards. Among the relics from the golden age of exploration in the 19th and early 20th centuries in this exhibition are The South Polar Times, edited by Ernest Shackleton during Captain Robert Falcon Scott's expedition to Antarctica; Dr David Livingstone's watercolour sketches made the first time he saw the Victoria Falls in Africa, together with notes about the flora and fauna; a prayer wheel used by geographical 'spies' to surreptitiously record data on the first trigonometric survey of India; Charles Darwin's journals from his voyage on HMS Beagle; and the first photographs ever taken depicting Asia, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East; plus more recent items, such as maps used for the D-Day Landings, and the diaries and photographs of Lord Hunt from the first successful ascent of Mount Everest. A new treasure trove joins the existing institutions in Exhibition Road. Royal Geographical Society until 17th September.

Enchanting The Eye: Dutch Paintings Of The Golden Age is a selection of works from the Royal Collection, one of the world's finest groups of Dutch 17th century paintings. The 51 pictures in this exhibition embrace genre scenes, portraits, still-lifes, history paintings, landscapes and seascapes. They include works by the great masters of the period, among them Rembrandt's 'Christ and St. Mary', 'Magdalen at the Tomb' and his 'Self-Portrait' of 1642, landscapes by Aelbert Cuyp, and Johannes Vermeer's 'A Lady at the Virginals'. Among the genre paintings - the depiction of everyday life - artists such as Frans van Mieris the Elder, Gabriel Metsu and Gerard ter Borch show the preparation of food, eating and drinking, and the enjoyment of music inside the home. The confidence of the Dutch, one of the richest and most powerful nations in 17th century Europe, is reflected in portraits by Frans Hals, Jan Molenaer and Hendrick ter Bruggen. A number of paintings in the exhibition came to the Collection as contemporary works, 'The Artist's Mother' by Rembrandt, presented to Charles I, was among the first examples by the painter to enter a British collection. The Queen's Gallery, Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh until 7th November.

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is with us again, as it has been every year since 1769 - the usual collection of the good, the bad and the ugly - from amateurs to RA's, proving that popular taste and critical approval find no meeting point. Around 1,200 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from over 12,000 submissions, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. This year, the show has been masterminded by Allen Jones and David Hockney, and there is a special focus on drawing, reflecting their joint passion, and underlining the importance of draughtsmanship in all the various media on display. There are works included by people from outside the spectrum of Fine Art, who nevertheless use drawing as an essential part of their creative process. The featured artist is Richard Long, who explores elemental materials, like mud, dust, water and stones, and has made a new sculpture on the floor of the Central Hall 'White Light Crescent'. Anish Kapoor has selected and hung the gallery dedicated to the display of sculpture, and has co-ordinated the placing of work in the Courtyard. There are memorial displays to Terry Frost, Patrick Procter, Lynn Chadwick, Colin Hayes and Philip Powell. An accompanying programme of lectures, events and workshops covers all aspects of the exhibition. Royal Academy of Arts until 16th August.

Henry Moore At Dulwich Picture Gallery looks beyond the monumental bronzes for which Moore is now best known, created in the last two decades of his life, and focuses his earlier career. A major display of 97 works charts the artistic journey made by Moore, from his first recorded pieces, to those of about 1960. They show the development of his most familiar themes, such as mother and child, the family group, the reclining figure, and other more abstract forms. The works include drawings in various media, maquettes, ironstone pebble carvings and table sculptures, which are featured not only in the exhibition rooms, but throughout the gallery, and also for the first time in the gardens, where the inevitable outdoor bronzes are shown to great effect. Among the striking, but now lesser known works, are a series of drawings Moore produced during the Second World War, including scenes of Londoners taking shelter, sleeping on the platforms of Underground stations. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 12th September.

A Secret History Of Clay: From Gauguin To Gormley unearths a little known history of the use of clay in modern and contemporary art. From the individual ceramic vessel to installation and performance art, clay has been widely used by some of the most innovative artists of the twentieth century. The most basic material available to mankind, employed throughout history for both practical and artistic purposes, is currently highly fashionable again thanks to the work of Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry. This exhibition traces a narrative that begins with Paul Gauguin's Tahitian double vase, and progressively moves away from the private object to art in the public domain, ending in the gallery sized installation 'Field' by Antony Gormley, comprised of 35,000 miniature figures. In between, there are (amongst others) sensual pots by George Ohr - The Mad Potter of Biloxi; painted plates by Henri Matisse and Maurice de Vlaminck; Sergei V Chekhonin's Russian Revolutionary propaganda ceramics; Italian Futurism with Ivos Pacetti's gilded terracotta 'Gas Mask' and Renato Giuseppe Bertelli's 'Continuous Profile - Head of Mussolini'; Japanese totems by Isamu Noguchi; thrown pots transformed into figures and animals by Pablo Picasso; Joan Miro's primitive head sculptures and plate decorations; Roy Lichtenstein's hotel chinaware transformed with comic strip shading; a Madame de Pompadour porcelain tea service by Cindy Sherman; and Jeff Koons's kitsch Puppy Vase. Tate Liverpool until 30th August.

Censored At The Seaside: The Censored Postcards Of Donald McGill examines a bizarre event in the life and work of a man now regarded as a national treasure. For more than fifty years Donald McGill was the pre-eminent exponent of the British saucy seaside postcard. Yet in the 1950s, his postcards became the subject of complaints and he fell foul of the antiquated 1857 Obscene Publications Act. In May 1954, fifty years after he had produced his first postcard, McGill was brought to trial in Lincoln, and fined £50 plus costs. This exhibition looks at the story behind the prosecution, showing for the first time documents from the public prosecutors office relating to many of the censored cards, as well as the postcards themselves. It also presents a less than flattering picture of the Britain of the time that such a prosecution could have been brought. In addition to the condemned designs, the exhibition includes rare 'roughs' of ideas, and over 30 original works by McGill from all periods of his career. A prolific worker, McGill created new designs each year. Also featured are examples of tributes to McGill by cartoonists Larry, Steve Bell and Biff amongst others. Cartoon Art Trust Museum until 31st July.


Archigram celebrates the exuberant, pop-inspired visions of the group that dominated avant garde architecture throughout the 1960s. Founded in 1961 by six young London architects - Warren Chalk, Peter Cook, Dennis Crompton, David Greene, Ron Herron and Michael Webb - Archigram has remained an enduring inspiration to architects and designers to the present day. Despite the fact that none of its major projects were ever built, its experiments have influenced many famous buildings, from Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano's Pompidou Centre in Paris, through Rogers's Lloyds building in London, to Future Systems's new Selfridges in Birmingham. Nevertheless, the group's 1960s visions of a technology driven future now have the same naive charm as the 'shape of things to come' science fiction projections of the 1930s. A recreation of the Archigram office - itself as idiosyncratic as any of the group's creations - contains the designs for Ron Herron's Walking City, with eight-legged buildings the size of skyscrapers rolling through Central Park; David Greene's Living Pod, like a gigantic Lunar Module; Blow-out Village, an entire town that inflates from a hovercraft; Plug-In City, a range of updateable domestic and commercial modules that could be attached to service points supplying water, electricity and communications; The Suitaloon, a garment that becomes a home; and Instant City, a portable entertainment centre that could bring urban life to remote areas. Architecture for the Sgt Pepper generation. Design Museum until 4th July.

Fantasy Architecture 1500 - 2036 brings together imaginative, fantastic and visionary schemes for a better world - some practical, some wholly fanciful. These visions of the future remained on paper due to lack of funds, political change, or because technically they were ahead of their time. The exhibition features over 120 projects by world famous architects, displayed with plans, drawings, paintings, maquettes, collage, film and computer animation. Among the buildings that might have been are Asymptote's New York Virtual Stock Exchange, with streams of financial data as a dynamic virtual environment; Joseph Paxton's monumental ten mile Great Victorian Way, combining shops, hotels and restaurants with an elevated railway; MVDR's tower block for pigs; and Martin Riuz de Azua's Basic House, an inflatable portable dwelling that packs away in its owner's pocket. There are also projects by such legends as Robert Adam, Archigram, Charles Barry, Etienne Louis Boullee, Santiago Calatrava, Hugh Maxwell Casson, William Chambers, Serge Chermayeff, Charles Cockerell, Peter Cook, Foreign Office Architects, Galli Bibiena Family, Foster and Partners, Buckminster Fuller, Future Systems, Erno Goldfinger, Zaha Hadid, Inigo Jones, Edwin Lutyens, Erich Mendelsohn, John Nash, Claes Oldenburg, Alison and Peter Smithson, John Soane, Softroom, Vladimir Tatlin, Tecton and Clough Williams Ellis. Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland until 3rd July.

Durer And The Virgin In The Garden is a classic exercise in pragmatism, centred on the painting 'The Virgin with the Iris'. It was purchased as being the work of the renaissance artist Albrecht Durer, but scholars subsequently dismissed it as a copy or pastiche. However, a discovery made during the recent restoration of the painting, supports the theory that it actually did originate in Durer's workshop in the early sixteenth century, and draws on a number of his meticulous studies of plants, flowers and other motifs. During this examination of the painting using infrared reflectography, a remarkably detailed underdrawing was revealed, which may be the work of Durer himself. Capitalising on this discovery, the exhibition offers a rare opportunity to see the underdrawing and compare it with Durer's other work. Through a series of drawings and prints, bringing together some of Durer's most famous watercolours, most on show in London for the first time, the exhibition traces the development of the artist's images of the Virgin and Child in a garden. The works include: 'Irises', 'The Virgin with the Animals' and the 'Great Piece of Turf', plus 'Peonies' by Martin Schongauer, a watercolour that was owned by Durer himself, and a painting by Durer of the Virgin and Child. National Gallery until 20th June.