News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 17th August 2011


Art For The Nation: Sir Charles Eastlake At The National Gallery examines the development of the Gallery's collection and the work of its most influential director. The exhibition, comprising some of Sir Charles Eastlake's major purchases of Italian Renaissance art, together little known items from the Gallery's archive and library, reveals the extent to which he laboured behind the scenes. Prior to being appointed Director of the National Gallery in 1855, in his capacities as Keeper and then a Trustee, Eastlake had become acutely aware of the Gallery's shortcomings. Using his executive powers, Eastlake set about developing coherent policies on acquisition and display at the Gallery, spending at least 6 weeks of each year abroad in search of paintings for the nation. During these excursions, Eastlake acquired an astonishing 139 masterpieces, the majority being Italian paintings dated to the late 15th and early 16th centuries, including Uccello's 'Battle of San Romano', Giovanni Bellini's 'Madonna of the Meadow' and Catena's 'Saint Jerome in his Study'. Eastlake developed 3 principal methods to secure his attributions of paintings: comparative analysis of a comprehensive range of art works documented in his notebooks; use of archival and secondary source material; and, most pioneering, first hand and proto-scientific analysis of the materials and methods used to create paintings. The display includes 1 of Eastlake's 36 very detailed travel notebooks, with jottings about Pisanello's 'Virgin and Child with Saints'. Having acquired the paintings Eastlake gave great thought to how they should be shown, and his desire to display pictures in well-lit and sympathetically decorated rooms, and to arrange them in appropriate frames and in historical sequence, still influences the arrangement of paintings in the Gallery's permanent collection today. National Gallery until 30th October.

National Museum of Scotland has reopened after a 3 year £47.4m redevelopment and restoration programme of the Victorian Royal Museum. Access is now through a new street level glass entrance hall, housing 1 of 2 new restaurants, 1 of 2 new shops and other public facilities. New glass lifts, escalators and staircases make moving around the building far easier for visitors. The original interior of the building has been comprehensively restored, revealing the wonderful architecture of one of the finest Victorian public buildings in Britain. There is now 50% more public space, with 16 new galleries, featuring over 8,000 objects, 80% of which will be on display for the first time; the reinstated Grand Gallery (inspired by the Crystal Palace) with a new installation: The Window On The World, featuring over 850 objects, rising over 4 floors, showcasing the diversity of the collection; a spacious gallery for international touring exhibitions; 2 discovery galleries for children and families; and a new 3 storey learning centre. Visitors can now experience the world under one roof, through a dramatic range of treasures, revealing the wonders of nature, the diversity of cultures across the world, and the excitement of science and discovery. The Museum's rich collections also illuminate the story of Scotland's place in the world and the impact of Scots on it. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, continuing.

Frida Kahlo And Diego Rivera brings together the iconic paintings of the two central figures of Mexican Modernism for the first time in this country. Few artists have captured the public's imagination with the force of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and her husband, the Mexican painter and muralist Diego Rivera. The myths that surrounded them in their lifetime arose not only from their significant body of work, but also from their active participation in the life of their time, their friendships (and conflicts) with leading figures, their striking physical appearance and spirited natures. The exhibition includes key images by Kahlo such as 'Self Portrait with Monkeys', and 'Self Portrait as a Tehuana or Diego in My Thoughts', and the major work by Rivera, 'Calla Lily Vendors'. The paintings are supplemented by a display of the rarely seen photographs by Kahlo's father Guillermo Kahlo, depicting churches and cloisters around Mexico City and Tepotzlan, alongside views from the Palace in Chapultepec Park. Their inclusion allows the work of Kahlo to be placed alongside and put into context with the two most important men in her life. The exhibition also includes photographs by another key artistic couple who offer a significant glimpse of Mexico's cultural history, the photographers Manuel Alvarez Bravo and Lola Alvarez Bravo. Manuel photographed the Mexican Muralists, and his cinematic images of Mexico speak of the mystery of everyday life and contemporary political and social problems. Lola, a close friend of Frida Kahlo, worked in a number of photographic genres such as nudes, still life, landscape, photomontage and portraits. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 2nd October.


Kenneth Grange: Making Britain Modern is a retrospective of Britain's leading product designer, who, in a career spanning over 50 years, has designed some of the most iconic and familiar products and appliances in daily use. Kenneth Grange's prolific output has played a significant role in making Britain modern, as reflected in this exhibition of over 150 products, prototypes and sketches, as well as audio, photography and film. During the 1960s and 1970s Grange designed a considerable number of domestic products. The Kenwood Chef was a revelation in home baking and became a standard aesthetic for food mixers. Each of his designs supported new materials and advances in technology, in razors for Wilkinson Sword, cigarette lighters for Ronson, irons for Morphy Richards and pens for Parker. This was a time when Britain led the way with its strong manufacturing base and renewed vigour for design, a time when Britain to embraced the future. In 1968 Grange designed the iconic exterior and interior layout for the High Speed Intercity 125 train for British Rail. Its distinctive and futuristic aerodynamic cone nose caught the mood of the time and set the standard for high-speed train design still referenced today. During a long association with Kodak, Grange developed the Instamatic camera in 1968, followed by the Pocket Instamatic in 1972, the start of a new generation of portable, inexpensive cameras. In 1972 Grange, together with Alan Fletcher, Theo Crosby, Colin Forbes and Mervyn Kurlansky established Pentagram, a world renowned multi-disciplinary design consultancy. In the 1990s, Grange produced distinctive designs that have become part of the landscape, from the re-design of the London black cab, the Taxi TX1, to the Adshel bus shelters, continuing his work in street design that started with Britain's first parking meter for Venner in 1958. Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1, until 30th October.

Constable And Salisbury brings together well known pictures and outstanding lesser known works of the Salisbury area by the quintessential British painter. Although probably best known for his views of the rivers and vales of Suffolk, John Constable made more paintings and drawings in and around Salisbury than of any other area, apart from the Stour Valley, where he grew up. This exhibition comprises some 45 pencil drawings and sketches in oil and watercolour, as well as 10 finished oil paintings and watercolours. The highlight of the display is the 'six-footer' view of 'Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows', one of several studies of the building. In addition to Salisbury itself, subjects include Stonehenge, the coast at Weymouth, the Dorset village of Gillingham, Downton in the New Forest and Milford Bridge. The mighty edifice of Salisbury Cathedral and the abandoned fort at Old Sarum drew from Constable expressions of feeling different from the rivers and fields of East Anglia, and yet the light and the skies, shown in a group of cloud studies over the Salisbury water meadows, remain as constant, or indeed as constantly changing, as ever. The exhibition emphasises the immediacy of many of Constable's works, and his often modern approach to the handling of paint, and demonstrates that he was a more adaptable artist than even he was prepared to admit. Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum, Salisbury, until 25th September.

Doctor Who In Comics 1964 - 2011 features The Doctor in all his incarnations, together with both his companions and his deadliest foes. Doctor Who is the longest running character in comics based on a television programme. This exhibition reflects how the character has evolved over 47 years, as embodied by the 12 actors who have brought him to life (including Peter Cushing in the films). Although intimately connected to the television programme, the comics have taken The Doctor on imaginative and far flung adventures way beyond the budget and capabilities of even today's special effects. Over the years he has been drawn by many great comic artists, including Frank Bellamy, Martin Geraghty, Dave Gibbons, Dave Lloyd, John Ridgeway and Lee Sullivan, all of whom are among the 28 represented in this exhibition. It is not generally known that The Doctor actually first appeared in TV Comic on 14th November 1963 - the week before his television debut - and has appeared in comics every year since then. Between 1989 and 2005, when the programme was off the air (apart from the 1996 film) comics were the only place where The Doctor's adventures continued. The exhibition includes not only copies of all the comic titles in which The Doctor has appeared, from both Britain and America, but original artwork from many stories, an exhibit showing how the story evolves from script to finished page, the original illustrations that inspired the moving statues television episode 'Blink', and artwork for the only story ever written by a 'Doctor', Colin Baker. The Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London, until 30th October.

Devotion By Design: Italian Altarpieces Before 1500 investigates the development of altarpieces, looking at changes in form, style and type, and their relationship to the monumental architecture that surrounded them. Altarpieces are an image-bearing structure placed upon or behind an altar in a Christian church, usually forming the focus of devotion for worshippers, and normally decorated by painters and/or sculptors. They can vary considerably in size and in complexity of construction, ranging from simple dossals (a horizontal panel or cloth either fronting or set at the back of an altar) to huge polyptychs (a painting divided into multiple sections or panels). They are decorated with a range of imagery which often reflects the circumstances of their original commission and location. This exhibition of over 40 works looks at the original functions and locations, as well as formal, stylistic and typological developments of altarpieces, drawing on the wealth of scientific examination and scholarly study undertaken in this field over the past 30 years. Several altarpieces are free-standing, revealing their construction, while frames of certain works have been removed, offering clues as to their original function and appearance. Virtual reconstructions of disassembled altarpieces set dislocated fragments in context, and staging in one room evokes a Renaissance-era church, giving the sense of encountering altarpieces in a 15th century sacred space. While many works by artists such as Piero della Francesca, Andrea Mantegna, Giovanni dal Ponte, Francesco Botticini and Bennozzo Gozzoli are well known, the exhibition provides a rare opportunity to see a number of pieces not normally on public view. National Gallery until 2nd October.

'Capability' Brown And The Landscapes Of Middle England the first ever exhibition about the life and work of Britain's greatest landscape designer. This display tells the story of Lancelot 'Capability' Brown through a series of case studies displayed in a house set in its own 'Capability' Brown landscape. Completing some 170 projects in all, Brown did more than any other landscape architect to transform the country parks and estates of the landed gentry in the 18th century, and his vision still defines the look of the British country house. Brown replaced formal gardens with gently undulating grasslands, naturalistic clumps of trees and meandering lakes, enhanced by rustic bridges, follies and chapels. The exhibition examines how Brown designed his natural, neoclassical arcadias, how his landscapes were constructed to work in practice, how he responded to technological advances in shooting and carriage-making, and how he addressed the enormous task of moving tons of earth to create hills, vales and lakes in an age before mechanisation. The focus is on famous 'Capability' Brown landscapes in the Midlands region, including Croome, Charlecote Park, Combe Abbey and Compton Verney itself. The display showcases the latest research on the design and use of Georgian landscapes with paintings, maps, accounts, historic guns, manuals and specially commissioned photography. Compton Verney, Warwickshire, until 2nd October.

Glamour Of The Gods: Hollywood Portraits examines the importance of photography in creating the stars of Hollywood from 1920 to 1960. The exhibition comprises around 90 vintage photographs, including portraits of Clark Gable, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Louise Brooks, Joan Crawford, Vivien Leigh, Loretta Young, Orson Welles, Gloria Swanson, Rita Hayworth, Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe, taken by nearly 40 photographers, including George Hurrell, Clarence Sinclair Bull, Laszlo Willinger, Bob Coburn, Davis Boulton and Ruth Harriet Louise. It is a rare opportunity to view these important artifacts of a now extinct Hollywood studio system, and features both iconic and previously unseen studio portraits. These are shown alongside film scene stills, including Lillian Gish for 'The Wind', Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers for 'Swing Time' and James Dean for 'Rebel Without A Cause'. These stills photographs, which were used for lobby cards and posters, had to encapsulate the film plot, or be powerful and dramatic enough to attract film-goers in just one image. The studios in Hollywood between 1920 and 1960 exercised an extraordinary level of control over the image of the stars they represented. The portraits they released to the public and press depicted the actors as glamorous and inaccessible, imbuing them with mystique. The photographers in this exhibition were the leading photographers employed by the studios to shoot and oversee the star portraits. Often stars built up a relationship with a photographer as was the case with Greta Garbo and Clarence Sinclair Bull, and Joan Crawford and George Hurrell. This was a time before paparazzi, and these photographs distributed by the studios were the only vehicle of connection between stars and fans. National Portrait Gallery until 23rd October.


The Government Art Collection: At Work is the first in a sequence of 5 exhibitions providing an opportunity for the public to see a selection of works from the Collection for the first time. The Government Art Collection's 13,600 works dating from the 16th century to the present day are shown in 450 embassies and government buildings worldwide. The diverse nature of the Collection, and its role promoting British culture on the world stage, is open to public scrutiny in Britain after 113 years. Special guests selectors who have a close connection with the artworks, from leading political figures to staff who see works from the Collection every day, have chosen works revealing hidden stories. Among these, Peter Mandelson has selected a 16th century portrait of Elizabeth I by an anonymous painter; Samantha Cameron has chosen LS Lowry's 'Lancashire Fair: Good Friday, Daisy Nook' with matchstick figures shown at play at a country fair; Lord Boateng has picked 'Peas are the New Beans' by Bob and Roberta Smith, a humorous comment on accountancy; Dame Anne Pringle, British Ambassador to Moscow, has plumped for Derek Boshier's contribution to 1960s British Pop Art, 'I Wonder What My Heroes Think of the Space Race'; and Nick Clegg has opted for 'Tea' by academician David Tindle, a little known painter of still lifes and landscapes in washed-out hues. Whitechapel Gallery, London, until 2nd September.

Dirt: The Filthy Reality Of Everyday Life travels across centuries and continents to explore our ambivalent relationship with dirt. Bringing together around 200 objects, spanning visual art, documentary photography, cultural ephemera, scientific artefacts, film and literature, the exhibition uncovers a rich history of disgust and delight in the grimy truths and dirty secrets of our past. In addition, it points to the uncertain future of filth, which poses a significant risk to our health but is also vital to our existence. The exhibition introduces six very different places as a starting point for examining attitudes towards dirt and cleanliness: a home in 17th century Delft in Holland, exploring the widely celebrated and satirised Dutch obsession with cleanliness; a street in Victorian London, with the mudlarks, ragpickers and dustmen and women whose meagre living depended on the dirt and detritus of the city; a hospital in Glasgow in the 1860s, where Joseph Lister's regime of cleanliness marked the birth of antiseptic surgery; a museum in Dresden in the early 20th century, whose theories were co-opted into the ideological horrors of racial purity and ethnic cleansing by the Nazis; a community in present day New Delhi, where survival by manual scavenging and the clearing of human waste persists; and the ongoing 30 year project to transform New York's Fresh Kills, once the largest landfill in the world, into a public park. Highlights of the display include paintings by Pieter de Hooch; the earliest sketches of bacteria; John Snow's "ghost map" of cholera; beautifully crafted blue delftware; Joseph Lister's scientific paraphernalia; and a wide range of contemporary art, from Igor Eskinja's dust carpet, Susan Collis bejewelled broom and James Croak's dirt window, to video pieces by Bruce Nauman and Mierle Ukeles, plus a specially commissioned work by Serena Korda. Wellcome Collection, London, until 31st August.

Heracles To Alexander The Great: Treasures From The Royal Capital Of Macedon, A Hellenic Kingdom In The Age Of Democracy provides an opportunity to see objects found recently in the royal burial tombs and the palace of Aegae, on display for the first time outside Greece. The exhibition is comprised of over 500 treasures made of gold, silver and bronze, which re-write the history of early Greece, and tell the story of the kings and queens who governed Macedon, from the descendents of Heracles to the ruling dynasty of Alexander the Great. The city of Aegae remained relatively unknown until 30 years ago when excavations uncovered the unlooted tombs of Philip II and his grandson Alexander IV. Recent work has unearthed a startling wealth of objects, from beautifully intricate gold jewellery, silverware and pottery, to arms and armour, sculpture, mosaic floors and architectural remains, as well as sacred objects, such as clay heads of divine and demonic figures. The artistry, skill and foresight with which these objects were made reveal a truly sophisticated dynasty. The centrepiece of this show is the reconstruction of the burial assemblage of 5 women: 4 dating from the Early Iron Age, and the 'Lady of Aegae', from around 500 BC, a queen and high-priestess, who was found in an undisturbed tomb, bedecked with funerary goods and dressed, head-to-toe, in spectacular gold jewellery which had been sewn into her clothes; plus items from the tomb of Philip II, including a golden head of Medusa, armour, golden wreaths, marble sculpture and silver banqueting vessels. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 29th August.