News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 17th December 2008


War And Medicine looks at the continually evolving relationship between warfare and medicine, beginning with the disasters of the Crimean War in the 1850s and continuing through to today's conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. As humankind has developed increasingly sophisticated weaponry with which to harm its enemies, medicine has had to adapt to cope with the volume and the changing nature of resulting casualties. The exhibition highlights the personal experiences of surgeons, soldiers, civilians, nurses, writers and artists, and looks at the impact of war on the 'home front' as well as on front line medicine, considering the long term implications for society of the traumas suffered and the lessons learned. Central to the exhibition is the uncomfortable and sometimes paradoxical relationship between war and medicine and the question of their influence upon each other. It embraces a wide range of subjects - from the pioneering plastic surgery techniques first developed during the First World War to treat disfiguring facial wounds, through to the recent controversies surrounding Gulf War Syndrome and the diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The display of over 200 exhibits - objects, artefacts, and recordings, as well as interpretative material, film and artworks - looks at some of the extraordinary difficulties faced by doctors, surgeons, administrators, nurses and their patients in war time. It also considers what has been learned from such extreme circumstances and the wider implications for society and public health in general. Wellcome Collection, London until 15th February.

Titanic Honour And Glory features many rare and previously unseen artefacts from both passengers and crew who travelled on the fateful maiden voyage of the White Star liner in April 1912. The exhibition brings to life some of their stories and the sights that they encountered, contrasting the ultimate luxury planned for their time on board the new ship, and the horror of what they encountered. It has been put together from the collection of Sean Szmalc and Margot Corson, who have collected artefacts from R.M.S Titanic for the past 20 years. Among the items featured are china dinner plates and a silver sugar dish from the First Class dining room; a Steiff bear that belonged to William Moyes, senior sixth engineer, as a good luck charm; a pocket watch that stopped as it entered the freezing water at 2.28am 96 years ago; and a solid silver cup, presented to the Captain, Edward John Smith, marking 25 years service to the White Star Line, together with plans, brochures, photographs and drawings of its cabins and public rooms. The exhibition also includes rare materials and ephemera from the Titanic's often forgotten sister ships, Olympic and Britannic, including oak paneling, china, glassware, cutlery and silverware. Accompanying the genuine artefacts are props and costumes used in the film Titanic, including the 'Heart of the Ocean' necklace. Milestones Museum, Churchill Way West, Basingstoke, Hampshire, until 25th February.

The Art Of The Poster: A Century Of Design is a retrospective celebrating the outstanding poster design that has been a constant part of London's public transport network. The show explores not only the aesthetics of the posters, but their cultural references, and their ability to change the way people thought about the underground. Featuring leading artists of their day, and many previously unseen artworks, the exhibition explores how the first graphic poster commission for London Underground in 1908 led to the company becoming a pioneering patron of poster art, a legacy that continues today. Taking a chronological and thematic approach, the display includes over 60 original artworks, supported by photographs, letters, concept sketches and artist's materials. The artists and designers whose work is featured include John Hassall, Edward Bawden, Dora Batty, Edward McKnight Kauffer, John Nash, Edward Wadsworth, William Roberts, Abram Games, Howard Hodgkin and Alan Fletcher. The range of styles in their work reflects the changes of artistic fashion through the century. The exhibition reveals stories behind some of the works on display, such as why a painting by John Nash was never published; how John Bellany's misunderstood Chinatown has been reinterpreted by today's Chinese community; and why a controversial poster by Edward Wadsworth in the 1930s was withdrawn from public display. Alongside the original artworks there are reprints of 20 historic posters. London Transport Museum until 31st March.


Saul Steinberg: Illuminations is a retrospective featuring drawings, collages and sculptural assemblages by the American artist whose work filled the pages and covers of The New Yorker for six decades. Saul Steinberg originally studied as an architect, before turning to cartoons and illustration, and he also worked as a propagandist, a fabric and card designer, a muralist, a fashion and advertising artist, a stage designer and a creator of image-filled books. This exhibition, featuring over 100 items, covers the whole range of his work, from high art to low, from murals to magazines, from caricature to cartography, including some of the 1,200 covers and editorial illustrations he created for the New Yorker. Steinberg invented a new form of 'conceptual cartooning', or cartooning-about-cartooning, and his images became a byword for visual sophistication, associated with New York. Among the highlights are: 'The Line' - a strip drawing 33ft long, following the mutations of a continuous, straight, horizontal line, which becomes, in turn, a washing line, the top of a bridge, the wainscot of a room, the edge of a table, the water surface of a swimming pool seen in cross section, and the horizons of several kinds of landscape, before ending up as a plain line being drawn by a hand; 'Techniques at a Party' - showing a gathering of 18 guests, each realised in a different manner: very solid, very feint, very messy, pointillist, Picassoid - each portraying the guest's party personality; and most famously, 'View of the World from Ninth Avenue' - a subjective map, showing the New Yorkers parochial awareness of the rest of the planet: 10th Avenue is full of detail, but beyond the Hudson river things start to foreshorten abruptly. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 15th February.

Ancient Egypt Gallery is a new gallery that examines the world of the Pharaohs and the culture that built the Pyramids and the Sphinx. It houses some 1,500 exhibits that follow the development of the kingdom from the time of Menes, the first King of Egypt, who reigned in around 3000 BC, through to Queen Cleopatra, in around 30 BC, and the Greek and Roman periods. There is a full scale tomb reconstruction, based on a 4,000 year old burial place. Unsurprisingly, the display offers a detailed examination of the burial process, and the preservation techniques used on corpses, with artefacts including the coffin of Pediamunnebnesuttauwy, a Wab priest of the god Amun; the mummy said to have inspired H Rider Haggard's classic fantasy adventure She; a set of canopic jars belonging to Wahhor, the son of Ptahhotep (in which his internal organs were buried); a belt worn by the last great Pharaoh, Rameses III; a Scarab ring inscribed with head of Hathor, uraei, cartouche of Tuthmosis III; together with a collection of spells, mummified cats, hawks and crocodiles put in coffins to protect the bodies and souls of the dead from bad spirits. Other exhibits include a wooden therapeutic shoulder harp; a mummified hand; fragments of tomb carvings; a child mummy; and papyri recording the trials of people accused of tomb robbing. There is also an interactive exhibit that allows visitors to 'unwrap' a mummy. World Museum Liverpool, continuing.

Soho Nights is the second part of a project documenting the vibrant character of London's Soho from the 1930s to the 1950s, and the first exhibition to be staged in the Photographers' Gallery's new location. This exhibition explores Soho after dark, and the energy and excitement found at its various theatres and coffee bars. Contrasting formal dancing venues and the spontaneity of the jive scene, it draws on the archives of the legendary magazine Picture Post, and the film maker Ken Russell's series of photos from the Cat's Whiskers Coffee Bar - which was always so packed that hand gestures replaced conventional dancing, leading to the birth of the hand jive. The exhibition includes vintage prints, original copies of Picture Post and specially enlarged printed contact sheets. Editorial stories such as 'The Making of a Glamour Girl' and 'Excitement in the Making' capture the pace and excitement of night time Soho. Picture Post was one of the most successful magazines to be published in the UK, from its launch on 1st October 1938 to its last issue on 1st June 1957. It attracted the best photographers, and captured the dynamism and vitality of Britain by focusing on the lives of ordinary people. Its emphasis on popular entertainment and the rise of youth culture meant that the clubs and cafes in Soho were fashionable and popular subjects. Photographers' Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies Street, London W1, until 8th February.

Bruegel To Rubens: The Masters Of Flemish Painting is the first exhibition ever mounted of Flemish paintings in the Royal Collection. It brings together 51 works from the 15th to 17th centuries, including masterpieces by Hans Memling, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Jan Brueghel, Van Dyck and Rubens. By the 1550s the Netherlands enjoyed a level of wealth that remained unmatched in the West for centuries, but the Eighty Years War with Spain, from 1568 to 1648, all but destroyed the region's creative industries. The paintings in this exhibition were produced in the Southern, Spanish ruled Netherlands, during this period of turbulence and its immediate aftermath. Highlights include Pieter Bruegel the Elder's 'Massacre of the Innocents', the violence of which was toned down after delivery to its patron; Peter Paul Rubens's self portrait 'Assumption of the Virgin', created in a bid to secure the commission for the high altarpiece of Antwerp Cathedral, and 'Diana and Nymphs Spied on by Satyrs'; Jan Brueghel the Elder's 'Adam and Eve in Garden of Eden' and A Village Festival; Jacob de Formentrou's, 'A Cabinet of Pictures', a classic example of the picture gallery interior; Anthony van Dyck's 'Christ Healing the Paralytic'; Frans Snyders's 'Pythagoras Advocating Vegetarianism'; Marten van Heemskerck's 'Jonah under his Gourd' and 'The Four Last Things'; Hans Vredeman de Vries's 'Christ in the House of Mary and Martha'; Crispin van den Broeck's 'Christ Healing the Sick'; and Jan Gossaert's 'The Three Children of Christian II of Denmark', among a group of portraits. The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace until 26th April.

Secrets Of The Saucy Seaside Postcard takes a behind the scenes look at the artwork that went into creating the cartoon style saucy postcards published by Bamforth & Co. The cheeky and often sexually implied innuendos and double meanings, both visual and textual, spared no-one: fat people, thin people, mothers in law, hen pecked husbands, waiters and waitresses, glamorous ladies, doctors and nurses, were all represented in risque, embarrassing or suggestive situations. The exhibition celebrates the art of the comic postcard, tracing the journey from the artist's rough sketch to the final printed version, with 200 original artworks shown alongside the original postcards. It also reveals some of the other printed items - calendars, Valentines and birthday cards - produced by Bamforth's, which operated independently for over 85 years. Finally, the show gives a modern twist to the comic postcard through specially commissioned artworks by three contemporary artists, Paddy Killer, Olivia Brown and Kate Eggleston-Wirtz, who were inspired by Bamforth's output to produce work in textiles, ceramics and paper. Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth, until 1st February.

The Garden Museum has been reborn, with a new £500,000 interior designed by Dow Jones Architects, which has inserted 201sqm of freestanding new spaces for exhibitions, the permanent collection, education, events and archive, in the historic 14th century structure of the former St Mary-at-Lambeth Church. Outside, there is a recently established wild garden, as well as the museum's long established authentic recreation of a 17th century style knot garden.

Beth Chatto: A Retrospective is the first exhibition in the new gallery, showcasing one of the most influential living gardeners in Britain. Beth Chatto is best known for her pioneering, ecological approach to gardening, which was developed in the 1960s, yet is ever more relevant to gardeners today. The story of how the Beth Chatto Gardens grew out of a patch of wasteland at the back of her Essex fruit farm, and how this became one of the best loved gardens in Britain, is told through private archives, paintings and photographs. The exhibition examines the subtlety of her approach to design, and explores important influences that include her husband Andrew's life long study of the natural association of plants, the work of her friend, the artist Cedric Morris, her early career as an instructor for the Flower Club Movement, and her interest in music and architecture. Later publications and correspondence show how her particular kind of gardening has been debated, enjoyed and appreciated by professional and amateur gardeners alike. The Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1, until 19th April.


Winter Wonderland, set between Hyde Park Corner and the Serpentine, is the ultimate winter theme park experience. The 24,000sqm site features London's largest outdoor ice rink - created with 130,000 litres of frozen water, weighing 130 tonnes - able to accommodate up to 400 skaters at a time, with ice guides to help beginners; a toboggan slide; a haunted mansion; an ice palace mirror maze; a traditional German Christmas Market, with over 50 separate wooden chalets, offering arts, crafts, presents and foods; numerous cafes and bars serving traditional food and mulled wine; a 50m observation wheel providing a panoramic view of London above the park; a Victorian carousel; a helter-skelter; a bungy dome; a selection of gentler amusement rides for younger children; and a bandstand with regular carol concerts and other festive entertainment; plus appearances by Father Christmas. To add to the atmosphere, the trees along Serpentine Road sparkle with thousands of Christmas lights highlighting the natural beauty of Hyde Park. Entrance to the Winter Wonderland site is free, with fees for individual attractions. Hyde Park, 10am-10pm daily (except Christmas Day) until 6th January.

Christmas Past: 400 Years Of Seasonal Traditions In English Homes looks at the meanings and origins of our Christmas and New Year customs, including the holly and the ivy, mistletoe and kissing boughs, decorations, trees, fire and candlelight, carol singing and the Yule log. Also featured are traditional foods and drink, with wassailing, parties, mulled wine, cakes and puddings. Twelve period living rooms decorated in authentic festive styles from 1600 to 2000 reflect our changing social habits, and show how Christmas as we now know it has evolved. There is an accompanying programme of events focusing on 20th and 21st century festivities, highlighting the main developments and changes in the domestic celebration of Christmas, with the switch from home crafted to shop bought decorations and food, the increasing popularity of Santa Claus, and the growing prominence of children, plus decoration, card making and other craft workshops, candle lit entertainment, talks, carols and other Christmas music, right through to the burning of holly and ivy on Twelfth Night, with seasonal food and drink available. The museum is located in fourteen almshouses built in 1715 by the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers. Geffrye Museum, London, until 4th January.

Francis Bacon is a retrospective that brings together some 70 of the best and most important paintings from throughout the turbulent life of one of the greatest painters of the 20th century. The exhibition, marking Bacon's centenary, explores his philosophy that man is simply another animal in a godless world, subject to the same natural urges of violence, lust and fear that are physically evident in the body. Bacon is known for his idiosyncratic twisted images of people and animals, often splattered with paint, displaying raw emotion, considered to be some of the most powerful images in art. The human body is a recurring theme in his work, and the paintings are displayed just as they were when they were first made, together with many other paintings of animals and visceral landscapes. Highlights include the infamous 'Study after Velazquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X', 'Figure Study 1', 'Crucifixion', 'Study from the Human Body', and 'Study of George Dyer in a Mirror', together with celebrated triptychs such as 'Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion', 'In Memory of George Dyer' and 'Three Studies for a Crucifixion'. The exhibition also includes the first public display of items from the archive material found in Bacon's studio, which shed new light on his working methods, and the first full length painting of a pope, thought to have been destroyed, that was found rolled up and hidden. Tate Britain until 4th January.