News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 17th July 2013


Richard Rogers RA: Inside Out explores the ideas and ethos of the internationally renowned architect and urbanist at his 80th birthday. The exhibition examines the social, political and cultural influences on Richard Rogers, and their connection to his architecture. Previously unseen original material, drawings and personal items, present a unique insight into the thinking behind one of the world's most celebrated architects. The exhibition draws on key stages in Rogers' life, from the influence of his Italian family, his experience of wartime and post-war Britain, his education at the Architectural Association and Yale, and the impact of seeing new American architecture and technology. For over half a century, Rogers has advocated the social objectives of architecture, the importance of public space, urban regeneration and better planning, through innovative design, believing that architecture is the most powerful agent for social change. The high profile projects showcased include the Centre Pompidou, designed with Renzo Piano and still considered one of the most radical modern buildings, the headquarters for Lloyd's of London, and the Bordeaux Law Courts.

Sir Hugh Casson PRA: Making Friends explores the multifaceted artistic personality of one of Britain's most popular architects of the 20th century, revealing a spirited and significant contribution to British architectural life from a man of great wit and charm. Sir Hugh Casson bridged the often acrimonious gap in art and architecture between traditionalists and modernists, drawing Britain into the modern age, most notably as Director of Architecture of the 1951 Festival of Britain. The display brings to life Casson's charismatic personality, featuring watercolours, sketches, architectural drawings, publications, children's' books, images of his buildings, illustrated letters, photographs and memorabilia. Highlights include the transformation of aircraft hangars into rural buildings for the Air Ministry's Camouflage Service during the Second World War; stage designs for theatre and opera, many for Glyndebourne; and illustrative work, such as Midwinter Pottery, stamps and wine labels. In a short film, Brief City, Casson offers a personal tour of the Festival of Britain.

Royal Academy of Arts, Richard Rogers until 13th October ~ Hugh Casson until 22nd September.

Exultant Strangeness: Graham Sutherland Landscapes examines one of the great British landscape painters and, during the 1940s and 1950s, one of its most famous artists. Initially inspired by the visionary landscapes of 18th and 19th century artists such as William Blake and Samuel Palmer, Graham Sutherland transcended his influences to create a vocabulary that was uniquely his own. This exhibition reveals the power of Sutherland's imagination and demonstrates the diverse ways in which he transformed his experience of his environment. Central to Sutherland's conception of the landscape was the 'accidental encounter' - the small-scale natural forms, such as tree roots, stones or foliage, that he would stumble upon by chance and work up into new creations. At the same time, he might also take a wide, open landscape and make it feel enclosed and self-contained as if it were an object. The exhibition features striking, otherworldly landscapes from throughout Sutherland's career: early, meticulous etchings which owe a debt to masters such as Rembrandt, Whistler and Palmer, the fluid drawings and iconic paintings from the 1930s and 1940s with their haunting forms, sinuous lines and daring compositions, and the mysterious late landscapes, rich in colour and often monumental in scale. Among the highlights are 'Entrance to a Lane', 'Green Tree Form', 'Western Hills', 'Narrow Road between Hedges', 'Welsh Landscape with Roads', 'Bamboo Forest' and 'Rocky Landscape with Sullen Sky'. Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, until 15th September.

Laura Knight Portraits features the work of an artist whose portraits show a distinctive picture of 20th century Britain. The exhibition includes commissioned portraits by Laura Knight alongside those made with members from specific social groups such as circus performers, Gypsies, the ballet and war portraits. Knight began work as a resident in the artists' community at Newlyn, Cornwall, en plein air in an Impressionist style. Sitters there include the artist Lamorna Birch and poet W H Davies, and she also produced her idiosyncratic 'Self Portrait', in which she has her back to the viewer, painting her friend, the ceramicist and enamellist Ella Naper, posing as a nude model. In the 1920s Knight became famous for her backstage depictions of actors and dancers at the Ballets Russes and London theatres, including ballerina Lydia Lopokova and actress Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies. In Baltimore, USA, she worked in the racially segregated hospital wards, making drawings of the patients, including highly sensitive drawings of the children she met there. In the following decade Knight travelled for several months with Bertram Mills and Great Carmo's touring circus painting the performers in and out of the ring. She then spent a number of years painting Gypsies at the Epsom Races and was invited to a Gypsy settlement in Iver, Buckinghamshire. During the Second World War Knight produced portraits of female members of the auxiliary air force and munitions workers, aimed to attract further female recruits, featuring women who had achieved particular distinction in their field or decoration for great acts of courage. Knight's painting of the Nuremberg Trials is one of her most remarkable achievements, the multi-figure scene representing the view from the press box in the courtroom. National Portrait Gallery until 13th October.


Mexico: A Revolution in Art 1910 - 1940 examines an intense period of artistic creativity that took place in Mexico following the turmoil of the revolution between 1910 and 1920, which led to a period of profound political change in which the arts were placed centre stage. Under state-sponsored schemes, artists were employed by the Ministry of Education to further the political aims of the revolution. Art was embraced as symbolic of the inherent creativity and industry of the nation and was, therefore, seen as representative of the principles of the revolution. Mexico attracted large numbers of significant international artists and intellectuals who engaged with the political changes taking place, and responded to the rich and varied country they found on arrival there. For many, Mexico was an unspoilt land rich with history, stunning scenery and a diverse population that heralded a sense of discovery and a promise of adventure. The exhibition of over 120 paintings and photographs, places work by significant Mexican artists alongside that of individuals who were affected by their experiences in Mexico. These include David Alfaro Siqueiros, Josef Albers, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Philip Guston, Marsden Hartley, Henrietta Shore, Paul Strand, Leon Underwood and Edward Weston. Highlights include Roberto Montenegro's 'Mayan Woman', Diego Rivera's 'Dance in Tehuantepec', Tina Modotti's 'Workers Reading El Machete', Clemente Orozco's 'Barricade', Edward Burra's 'El Paseo', Jose Chavez Morado's 'Carnival in Huejotzingo', Robert Capa's 'Women in truck with banners supporting presidential candidacy of General Manuel Avila Camacho, Mexico City', and a self-portrait by Frida Kahlo. Royal Academy of Arts until 29th September.

Magical Books: From The Middle Ages To Middle-earth features the work of five celebrated authors of children's fantasy literature: C S Lewis, J R R Tolkien, Susan Cooper, Alan Garner and Philip Pullman. The exhibition offers an access to authors' private papers, and original manuscripts, many of which have not been seen in public before. Highlights include a selection of Tolkien's original artwork for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings; the manuscript of 'The Fall of Arthur', a previously unknown (and uncompleted) epic poem by Tolkien on the Arthurian legend; C S Lewis's 'Lefay notebook' and his map of Narnia; plus some of the books and manuscripts that contain the myths, legends and magical practices that these authors used for research and from which they freely drew inspiration, including a First Folio of Shakespeare's Macbeth, the 'Ripley Rolls', which illustrate the quest for the life-prolonging philosophers' stone; mediaeval demonic spellbooks; Grimoires and richly illuminated mediaeval bestiaries; Philip Pullman's alethiometer or truth telling sphere; one of Alan Garner's original 'owl service' plates; and a variety of magical objects, such as a 17th century marble copy of the 'Holy Table', which John Dee used to converse with angels. Bodleian Library, Oxford, until 27th October.

Collecting Gauguin: Samuel Courtauld In The '20s provides an opportunity to see the entire collection of Post-impressionist works assembled by the pioneering collector. Samuel Courtauld was one of the very few early collectors to assemble a major group of works by Paul Gauguin in Britain. This exhibition features major paintings and works on paper as well as one of only two marble sculptures ever created by Gaughan, plus two important works formerly in Courtauld's collection that now reside elsewhere. Among the highlights are 'The Haystacks', an outstanding example of Gaughan's work in Brittany; the exceptionally rare marble portrait of his Danish wife Mette; the Noa Noa series of prints, in which Gauguin hoped to explain his works to a Western audience; 'Martinique Landscape', a large work dating from the months that Gauguin spent on the French colonial possession in the Caribbean, its rich colours and exotic subject matter foreshadowing his journeys to Tahiti; 'Nevermore', exemplifying Gauguin's search for a mythic Polynesian paradise; 'Bathers at Tahiti', two nude bathers in an exotic landscape of fiery hues, painted on Gauguin's second trip to Tahiti; 'and 'Te Rerioa' the family group hailed as Gaughan's masterpiece. The Courtauld Initute Of Art, London, until 8th September.

Lowry And The Painting Of Modern Life aims to re-assess the achievements of Britain's pre-eminent painter of the industrial city. The exhibition of over 90 works demonstrates L S Lowry's connections and debts to French painting of the later 19th century, and a determination to make art out of the realities of the emerging modern city. It reveals what Lowry learned from the symbolist townscapes of his French born teacher Adolphe Valette, and demonstrates parallels with the painters of modern life Vincent van Gogh, Camille Pissarro, Georges Seurat and Maurice Utrillo, drawing upon these artists' continuous search for ways to depict the unlovely facts of the city's edges and the landscape made by industrialisation. For Lowry modern painting needed to represent the remaining rituals of public life: football matches and protest marches, evictions and fist-fights, workers going to and from the mill. Works such as 'Pit Tragedy', 'An Accident' and 'The Fever Van' demonstrate his unique engagement with street life, and his development of a cast of characters portraying the ways in which his subjects' lives unfold and become unstuck, charting the unpredictability and unsteadiness of working-class life. Other highlights include 'Coming Out of School', 'The Pond', 'Ancoats Hospital Outpatients Hall', 'The Cripples', Piccadilly Circus, London' and 'Excavating in Manchester'. The show also presents for the first time all 8 of his less well known, late industrial panoramas, where a leap up to 'history painting' size indicates the measure of his final ambition. Tate Britain until 20th October.

The Lindisfarne Gospels tells the story of how and why one of the greatest landmarks of human cultural achievement was made, and its influence on Medieval Europe. Created by the community of St Cuthbert on Lindisfarne, the Lindisfarne Gospels is not only a book, an illuminated manuscript and a sacred text, but also one of the best examples of medieval creativity and craftsmanship. At the centre of the exhibition is an opportunity for a close up view of the gospel book itself, written in honour of St Cuthbert. The stunningly designed calf-skin pages, created in 700 by Bishop Eadfrith of Lindisfarne, comprise nearly 2,000 yards of perfectly formed Latin calligraphic script, decorated with strange beats and spiral designs, containing the works of the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as they recount the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The cover is also richly decorated and adorned with jewels. In addition to the book itself, there are many artefacts from Anglo-Saxon England, such as St Cuthbert's own treasures, including his jewelled cross, sapphire ring and travelling altar; a folded gold cross and other ornate gold objects from the Staffordshire Hoard; intricately carved stone from Lindisfarne depicting Viking raiders; and silver from Hexham; alongside some of Britain's most significant medieval manuscripts, such as the St Cuthbert Gospel - Europe's oldest surviving bound book - and the Durham Gospels. These items place the Lindisfarne Gospels within a wider context of Anglo-Saxon creativity and show how incredibly complex and elaborate medieval craftsmanship was. Palace Green Library, Durham University, until 30th September.

Airfix: Making History charts the history of a Great British Institution, and the almost lost art of model aeroplane construction. The exhibition features original art works made for box covers (for trains and boats as well as planes), the packages themselves, and original model moulds, as well as Airfix's most popular plastic model kits from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, both unmade and assembled, ranging from heroes of the Second World War to the latest technology. For generations these will conjure up the aroma of Humbrol paint, and hours spent gluing, painting and grappling with RAF roundel transfers in saucers of water. In 1952 Airfix embarked on the production of construction kits with a model of the ship the Golden Hind. This was rapidly followed by the first of its aircraft kits, and the best selling item in the history of model kits - the 1:72 scale Airfix Spitfire - in 1953. Airfix created both an industry and a revolution in children's pastimes, which rapidly became a craze. It produced more than different 700 kits over the years, selling over 20m a year at its peak in the 1970s. As an information board in the exhibition says: "Modelling teaches patience, discipline and the advantages of following the instructions, virtues which are, regrettably held in little esteem today." An important part of the exhibition is the examination of how Airfix has permeated the social fabric of the United Kingdom, and how it has influenced the leisure activities of generations of young men and women since the company's foundation, inspiring many to take up their own careers in the aviation industry. The Royal Air Force Museum, Grahame Park Way, Colindale, London NW9, until 3rd May.


Silver Service provides an opportunity to experience the unique culture of fine dining in Roman Britain in an intimate recreation of a late Roman dining room. The Mildenhall hoard is one of the most important collections of late-Roman silver tableware from the Roman Empire. This display features the iconic Great Dish, and reveals its central role at the very heart of the Roman meal. Made in AD 350, this glorious silver platter is exquisitely decorated with classical imagery that features a drinking contest between Bacchus, the god of wine, and the hero Hercules. A slice of late Roman life is recreated through video projections, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in an era where music, poetry, acrobats and dancing girls entertained the richest in society. It was an age where each Roman's status was reflected in their position at dinner, from the standing slaves to the elite reclining on stibadium (curved couches). The Great Dish is accompanied by two silver platters; with Bacchic scenes related in style and subject to the dish; decorated silver spoons; silver ladles decorated with dolphin handles; a silver dish with niello decoration; and 3 silver bowls, with chased leaf and geometric patterns, and animals in hunting and pastoral scenes. The curious drama of the discovery 70 years ago of the Mildenhall treasure in a Suffolk field inspired Roald Dahl to write his celebrated story and adds to its rich mythology. British Museum until 4th August.

Geoffrey Farmer: The Surgeon And The Photographer is the first showing of this installation in its completed form. Constructing 365 hand-puppets from book images clipped and glued to fabric forms, Geoffrey Farmer has populated the gallery with this recently completed puppet calendar 'The Surgeon and the Photographer'. In 2009, on a rumour that a well known second-hand book store in Vancouver would soon be closing, Farmer acquired several hundred books, which he used to create the collaged forms. The figures are arranged in small and large groups, suggesting crowds or processions, portraits of days and months through the 90m long space. Each puppet is an individual character, with its own story, created in its own way - one a sketch come alive, another, an animated statue - and viewed from different angles they reveal different moods. At the end of the gallery, Farmer projects a newly commissioned, computer-controlled montage, 'Look in my Face; my name is Might-have-been; I am also called No-more, Too-late, Farewell….'. The montage is comprised of selected whole images, before being cut to construct the figures. The images are matched to a sound library and organised by both chance and predetermined categories. Farmer's process-orientated approach, which is both intuitive and research-based, draws on storytelling, dreams, popular culture, literature and theatre, influenced by the sculptural, collage and assemblage traditions of Hannah Hoch and Robert Rauschenberg. The Curve, Barbican, London until 28th July.

Cairo To Constantinople: Early Photographs Of The Middle East charts a Victorian royal journey. In 1862, the young Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, was sent on a 4 month educational tour of the Middle East, accompanied by the British photographer Francis Bedford. This exhibition documents his journey through the work of Bedford, the first photographer to travel on a royal tour. It explores the cultural and political significance Victorian Britain attached to the region, which was then as complex and contested as it remains today. The tour took the Prince to Egypt, Palestine and the Holy Land, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Greece. During the journey he met rulers, politicians and other notable figures, and travelled in a manner unassociated with royalty, by horse and camping out in tents. On the royal party's return to England, Francis Bedford's work was displayed in what was described as 'the most important photographic exhibition that has hitherto been placed before the public'. Bedford's pictures are amongst the earliest photographs of many of the sites he visited, and are certainly the first of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Large plate cameras were the only available equipment at the time, the exposures were long, and the prints made directly from the negatives, which gives them a unique quality. Enhanced by the relatively simple optics of the lenses, his pictures have marvellous unity of light and an extraordinary depth of pin-sharp focus. In addition, there is a small display of the antiquities that the prince acquired during the trip. This is mainly a miscellany of Greek and Egyptian objects, but also includes some jewellery with ancient stones in modern settings, their Egyptian style a kind of proto Art Deco. The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, until 21st July.