News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 17th August 2005


Inside The Spitfire: Personal Stories Of Britain's Most Famous Plane is an exhibition about the legendary British fighter aircraft of the Second World War, and its designer R J Mitchell, marking the 65th anniversary of the turning point of the Battle of Britain. A 'deconstructed' Spitfire‚ displayed in pieces, and stripped down to its original structure‚ offers a once in a lifetime view of this icon of design and engineering. Like a giant 'Airfix kit', the display shows the complexity inside the apparently simple elegant Spitfire shape‚ revealing the Rolls-Royce Merlin and Griffon engines, alongside enlargements of original blueprints and cutaway drawings. In addition, the exhibition examines the background to Mitchell's creation‚ showing the human‚ industrial and social stories behind the design‚ manufacture and success of the Spitfire. It does this through the personal stories of the people who built‚ maintained and flew the aircraft, with letters‚ mementos‚ papers‚ security passes‚ medals‚ models and rare photographs from the Castle Bromwich Spitfire factory, as well as transcriptions of personal accounts. The exhibition also includes a specially commissioned statue of R J Mitchell‚ and traces his career at the Supermarine aircraft company in Southampton from 1917 to his death in 1937. The aircraft has been loaned by the RAF Museum, on whose behalf The Aircraft Restoration Company in Duxford is currently restoring it - and will be putting it back together again after the exhibition is over. Science Museum until January

Avant Garde Graphics: 1918-34 celebrates the 'heroic' period of modernity in the European arts - between the Russian Revolution and the arrival of Fascism in Germany - that found particularly forceful expression in graphic design and photomontage. The advance of the machine age brought mass production and distribution, which inspired new forms of artistic expression and a new sense of internationalism. New techniques allowed a fusion of typography, painting and photography - not to mention colour - for artistic, commercial or political ends, evoking the dynamism and fragmentation of cinema. This exhibition includes rare ground breaking posters, prints, book designs and political and commercial ephemera, together with original layouts and photomontages. It shows works by artists related to the Dutch de Stijl group, the German Bauhaus, and the Constructivists of Russia and Central Europe. These include Jean Arp, Herbert Bayer, Willi Baumeister, Theo van Doesburg, Georg Grosz, John Heartfield, Hannah Hoch, Gustav Klucis, El Lissitzky, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Liubov Popova, Alexandr Rodchenko, Oskar Schlemmer, Kurt Schwitters, Georgii Stenberg and Vladimir Stenberg, Soloman Telingater and Piet Zwart. The exhibition is drawn from the collection of Merrill C Berman, one of the greatest collections of 20th century graphics in the world. Kettle's Yard, Cambridge until 25th September.

Max Klinger showcases the work of one of the most inventive artists of the 19th century, the major part of whose artistic output was etchings. Klinger believed that this work, drawn and without colour, was more effective in conveying figments of the imagination than painting, which he considered to be too realistic. This exhibition comprises five series of Klinger's etchings, principally 'The Glove', consisting of ten etchings featuring a glove. First it makes its appearance at a roller-skating rink, being worn and then dropped by an elegant woman. Then it becomes the crucial motif for various dream and nightmare scenarios - in a bedroom merged with an ominous symbolic landscape, tossed about on a stormy sea, carried away by a winged monster, lying under a wilting rose next to a small cupid-like figure and so on. The other four series also combine scenes of everyday life with flights into realms of extraordinary imagination and fantasy. They postulate that at any moment gaps might open up in our daily routines, plunging us into unfamiliar and uncontrollable circumstances, sometimes wonderful, sometimes awful and dark. To coincide with this exhibition, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery is exhibiting Klinger's 'On Death (Part II)', a sequence of etchings that reveal him at the height of his powers as a draughtsman and visual narrator, obsessively interested in the theme of death; and The Barber Institute of Fine Arts is showing a selection of work by Klinger and other nineteenth century German artists. Ikon, and other galleries, Birmingham, all until 18th September.


The Houses Of Parliament are again open to visitors during the summer recess. The tour follows the processional route taken by the Queen when she performs the State Opening of Parliament. From the Sovereign's Entrance in the Victoria Tower, it passes through the Queen's Robing Room, the Royal Gallery, hung with portraits of monarchs past and present, and the Prince's Chamber, decorated with scenes from the reigns of the Tudors, before entering the red and gold elegance of the House of Lords, with the Royal Throne and Lord Chancellor's woolsack. Leaving the Lords via the Central Lobby, the tour passes through the Members Lobby and one of the two Division Lobbies before entering the House of Commons, with the Speaker's chair and ministers' dispatch boxes. Leaving the Commons, the tour passes through St Stephen's Hall, site of the original House of Commons, before ending in Westminster Hall, with its 14th century hammerbeam roof, where the trials of Charles I and Guy Fawkes were conducted. The Hall currently houses an exhibition marking the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot. The Houses of Parliament incorporate the remaining parts of the Palace of Westminster, the principal residence of the kings of England from the middle of the 11th century until 1512. The layout of the Palace is intricate, with its existing buildings containing nearly 1,200 rooms, 100 staircases and well over 2 miles of passages. Further information can be found on the Parliament web site via the link opposite. Houses of Parliament until 5th October.

Wolves, Princesses And Dragons: Wildlife And Fantasy Art showcases around 50 pieces of artwork by fantasy artist Geoff Taylor. They range across the three genres for which Taylor is best known: wildlife paintings of wolves, fantasy artwork for book covers, and illustrations for the sci-fantasy role playing gaming company Games Workshop, and its White Dwarf magazine. The show includes images created for Jeff Wayne's concept album for a musical version of HG Wells's 'The War of The Worlds'; pen and ink drawing illustrations of Wolf from the book 'Wolf Brother' by Michelle Paver; White Dwarf magazine covers High Elf with Dragon, Man O'War and Space Wolves; illustrations from all three books in JRR Tolkein's 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy; and covers for books by Raymond E Feist, including the Rift War, Krondor and Empire series, Katharine Kerr, including the Time series, and David Eddings, together with covers for books by children's authors such as Cliff McNish, Kevin Crossley-Holland and Diana Wynne-Jones. The Dock Museum, Barrow in Furness until 16th October.

The Cambridge Illuminations: Ten Centuries Of Book Production In The Medieval West is a two venue exhibition of over 200 illuminated manuscripts dating from 6th to the 16th centuries, many on public view for the first time. Sacred and secular, scientific and humanistic, historical and literary, the range of manuscripts on display showcases the work of some of the greatest medieval and Renaissance illuminators, and includes commissions by the most celebrated patrons of learning and art, including the Kings of France and England, the Dukes of Burgundy and the Medici. Among the highlights are the 6th century 'Gospels of St Augustine', the earliest medieval illuminated manuscript known in this country, over which new Archbishops of Canterbury still swear their oaths; the 13th century Trinity 'Apocalypse', the largest and most sumptuously illuminated of all English Apocalypses; the Peterborough Bestiary, the Free Warren Charter, and Statutes of England from Henry III to Richard II, as well as numerous books of hours, bestiaries, Bibles, encyclopaedias, scientific and mathematical manuscripts, university foundation charters, and historical, mythological and geographical treatises. An entire gallery is devoted to the display of individual leaves from the renowned Macclesfield Psalter, produced around 1330, and recently saved for the nation, providing a unique opportunity to see the richness and variety of its illustrations, using precious pigments and gold. They combine devotional imagery with depictions of every day life and grotesque creations of the wildest imagination. The Fitzwilliam Museum and Cambridge University Library, Cambridge until 11th December.

The State Rooms Of Buckingham Palace, which are used to receive and entertain guests of State on ceremonial and official occasions, have once again been thrown open to visitors. They are furnished with some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, Poussin, Canaletto and Claude; sculpture by Canova and Chantrey; Sevres porcelain; and some of the finest English and French furniture in the world. This year, the focus of the special display is the State Visit to France made by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in July 1938. The centrepiece of which is the 'White Wardrobe' designed for the Queen by Norman Hartnell, which caused a sensation, and was immortalised in Cecil Beaton's famous series of photographs. Among the dresses in the display are the crinoline worn by the Queen to the State Banquet at the Elysee Palace, and the lace dress chosen for the garden party in the Bagatelle Gardens in the Bois de Boulogne, together with spectacular diamond jewellery. Also on display are the gifts presented by the French President, including a Rene Lalique glass table service, watercolours by Edouard Vuillard, Raoul Dufy and Maurice Utrillo, and two dolls, France and Marianne, with their clothes and accessories designed by the most famous Parisian couturiers of the 1930s. Visitors can also enjoy a walk in the 39 acre garden with its 19th century lake, which provide a haven for wild life in the centre of London, and offer views of the Garden Front of the Palace. Buckingham Palace until 27th September.

Surrealism In Britain looks at how the Surrealist movement, which had been born in Paris in 1922, caused a public uproar when it arrived in Britain with the International Surrealist Exhibition in 1936. The exhibition was a sensation, seen by over 23,000 visitors in four weeks. Prime movers behind the show were Roland Penrose, the young poet David Gascoyne and Herbert Read. Penrose had been closely involved with Surrealists such as Andre Breton, Paul Eluard, Max Ernst, Salvador Dali and Joan Miro in Paris, and he persuaded them to contribute to the show. Among the British artists recruited were Eileen Agar, Edward Burra, John Banting, Reuben Mendikoff, Henry Moore, F E McWilliam and Paul Nash, some of whom did not know that they were Surrealists until so designated by the show's selectors. Indeed the works of the British contingent tended to be more 'idiosyncratic oddball' than wholeheartedly Surrealist. Nevertheless, this display follows the growth of the movement in this country through the late 1930s and into the 1940s, with paintings, drawings, photographs, documents, objects and printed ephemera. Dean Gallery, Edinburgh until 18th September.

Spirit Of Place: Landscapes In British Printmaking celebrates the landscape tradition in British printmaking over the last 100 years, including recent acquisitions on view for the first time. The works in the exhibition embrace a wide range styles and techniques, from realistic to surrealistic, and etchings to screenprints. Among the artists and works featured are Frederick Landseer Maur Griggs's 'Sellenger', whose plate he worked on over many years, re-etching the sky and burnishing areas of copper to achieve the perfect tonal balance; Keith Vaughan, whose lithographs combine abstract forms with elements taken directly from landscape as in 'Landscape 1949'; Paul Nash, whose 'Void of War', is part of his record of the scenes of death and destruction that he encountered on the plains of the Flanders; Joseph Webb, whose plates are based on mystical religious feelings and a sense of awe in the face of ancient buildings as in 'Rat Barn'; Graham Sutherland's 'The Garden', in which the imagery is more stylised and abstracted than in his early work, with the atmosphere more psychologically charged and disquieting; Paul Drury's 'Evening England', a subtle re-working of a previous wood engraving, with tiny 'points of light' created by allowing the paper to show through the hatched lines; and Peter Lanyon's 'Underground', an almost abstract work, suggesting dark cavities - perhaps mineshafts, caves or ancient burial grounds - lit by glimpses of sky. Victoria & Albert Museum until 1st November.


The American West offers the first opportunity for Britain to view an extensive collection of rarely seen historical material from an era that continues to hold a global fascination, bound up with myths arising from European expansion across North America. The exhibition also brings this mythology up to date, exploring the cowboy culture that has emerged from the election of the current incumbent of the White House. In telling a series of visual stories it reveals how the west was really won, exploring themes such as invasion and genocide; frontiersmen; captivity narratives; the first official Indian wars; Native American encounters with white settlers and the U.S. army; natural resources and environment, and Hollywood and the cowboy. Included in the exhibition are historical depictions of the subject by Charles M Russell, Arthur Tait, Charles Schreyvogel and Alfred Jacob Miller; 19th century Plains Indian Ledger drawings; art and craft made by Indian prisoners, works by contemporary Native North American artists including Minerva Cuevas, Kent Monkman, Edward Poitras, James Luna and Cisco Jimenez; and interpretations on the theme by Ed Ruscha, Elaine Reichek, Luigi Ontani and Ed Kienholz. In addition, the exhibition contains a diverse selection of historic ephemera from popular culture, including documentation relating to Buffalo Bill's roadshow, period photographs, dime novels, billboards, film posters and John Fitzgerald Kennedy's presentation colt gun. Compton Verney until 29th August.

Herzog & de Meuron: An Exhibition is partly a case of 'the gallery is the exhibition', as this display looks at the work of the architectural practice that transformed the derelict Bankside power station into Tate Modern. The exhibition spans twenty-five years of work from early residential buildings to recent large-scale international commissions, with over seventy projects represented. It comprises a wide variety of materials, with objects ranging from sketches, early maquettes outlining ideas and material samples, to models and mock-ups, and photographs and film footage of finished buildings. These items tell the story of how ideas take shape and form through a complex process of experimentation and detour to evolve a new architectural language for building. They are spread out as if in a market square, echoing of the architects' original concept of the Turbine Hall as a public street. Projects featured include the Dominus Winery, Napa Valley, California 1998, Schaulager for the Laurenz Foundation in Basel in 2003, Prada's store in Aoyama, Tokyo 2003, the library of Eberswalde University, Germany 1999, Forum Barcelona 2004, the expansion of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis 2005, the Allianz Arena Soccer Stadium in Munich 2005, and ongoing projects such as the de Young Museum, San Francisco opening in 2005, The National Stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and The Philharmonic Hall, Hamburg, to be completed in 2009. Tate Modern until 29th August.

Touch Me looks at contemporary design in products and installations that relate to the sense of touch, from site specific art and design commissions to games, live science experiments and a garden of the senses. Designers are now creating novel objects that engage more playfully with the sense of touch. Some explore unexpected materialsm, some reinvent how we use objects and technologies in order to produce more satisfying encounters, and some are even creating designs that aspire to promote richer human relationships. There are around 90 items in a series of room settings covering home and work environments. In the kitchen, Julia Leihener's 'Thups' are drinking glasses which rest on the thumb for the new generation of texters and computer gamers; IDEO's range of SoMo prototype mobile phones experiment with unusual interactions in the office; Yoshi Saito's 'Hug Chair' in the living room, is a contemporary take on the traditional kissing seat, which encourages people to hug each other when they sit down; and a variety of pleasurable sensations - from silks to jewellery - are available in the bedroom. In an interactive garden of the senses, visitors can play games, take part in live science experiments, engage all their senses in an immersive sensory room, challenge each other to a game of 'chicken' on the 'Painstation', play table tennis on MIT Medialab's 'PingPongPlus' table that plays tricks, or take part in a human scale PacMan game using Spacehoppers. Victoria & Albert Museum until 29th August.