News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th January 2012


Scott's Last Expedition goes beyond the familiar tales of the 3 year journey to the South Pole, and the death of the polar party, to explore the Terra Nova expedition from different angles. The focus of the exhibition is on the everyday stories and activities of the people who took part, looking at what they ate, the clothes they wore, the tools they used, their scientific work, and the unforgettable human endurance. It also documents the huge amount of planning involved prior to the commencement of the polar journey. Captain Robert Falcon Scott stated that reaching the South Pole was one of the expedition's main aims, but an ambitious programme of scientific investigation and geographical exploration was also carried out. The scientific work by the team covered meteorology, geological and zoological studies and investigations into glaciers. The exhibition features documentary photographs and over 200 rare specimens and original artefacts, displayed alongside a life-sized representation of Scott's hut from the base camp at Cape Evans, which still survives in Antarctica. Among the objects on display are an emperor penguin's egg, one of 3 collected during the expedition, which remain some of the most precious ornithological specimens on the planet; a sea sponge, still green over 100 years on; and a Brittle Star star fish, which sports long flexible arms to capture prey, found throughout Antarctic waters. Many items, such as clothing, skis, food, tools and diaries are being shown together for the first time. Natural History Museum until 2nd September.

Tom Hunter: A Midsummer Night's Dream features a series of photographs inspired by Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and the paintings of the Romantic artist Henry Fuseli. Taking key moments from the play, Tom Hunter has distilled Shakespeare's work into images that weave together contemporary city life with that of the timeless tale of love and illusion. Hunter is best known for his photographic reworkings of old master paintings, and his take on the play focuses on real lives and communities in Hackney where he lives and works. By using different groups in his neighbourhood, new meanings are given to the everyday. In the photographs, commonplace environments and situations are transformed and put under the limelight to create a magical spectacle, encouraging the viewer to think of the ordinary as extraordinary. Hunter's Titania is an exotic samba dancer stretched out on a table at a local snooker hall, Helena is a pole dancer at a strip club, and the 'Rude Mechanicals' a female thrash metal band rehearsing in a back room Just as the characters in A Midsummer Night's Dream perform plays within a play, the models in Hunter's tableaux are players in their neighbourhoods. At first glance the images look contemporary and the subjects ordinary, but as the series unfolds so does the magic of Shakespeare's tale with its themes of love, lust, jealousy and illusion. Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon until 1st April.

Landscape, Heroes And Folktales: German Romantic Prints And Drawings explores the visual arts in Germany of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a time of great cultural flowering, complemented by a growing sense of national identity. The Napoleonic wars in Europe caused economic ruin and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, the medieval structure which had held the loose conglomeration of German states and principalities together for centuries, causing German artists to seek a new identity. Some returned to the values and techniques of medieval and Renaissance art as part of this process, particularly striking in the draughtsmanship of Peter Cornelius, or the work of Friedrich Overbeck, whose composition, 'Italia and Germania', epitomised the mood of the period. Schnorr von Carolsfeld spent most of his life working on designs for an ambitiously illustrated 'Picture Bible', all deeply imbued with Raphael's style. The most striking prints of the period were made in the recently invented technique of lithography, such as the 'Portrait of the Eberhard brothers' by Johann Anton Ramboux, or the set of landscapes of days of the week showing views around Salzburg by Ferdinand Olivier. In contrast to Italianate classical views so typical of the 18th century, delicate studies of plants and trees and large prints and drawings of a rugged countryside reveal a much deeper interest in Germanic landscape. A group of wildlife watercolours by Wilhelm Tischbein are remarkable for their freshness, and etchings by Carl Wilhelm Kolbe, show idyllic scenes of lovers in verdant woodland glades. The greatest and rarest of German romantic prints on view is 'The Four Times of Day' by Philipp Otto Runge. British Museum until 8th April.


War Horse: Fact And Fiction explores the stage and film adaptations of Michael Morpurgo's novel, which tells the story of a horse sent to the front in the First World War and his young owner's quest to find him, alongside real life stories of war horses and the soldiers who depended on them. The exhibition traces the history of the war horses through centuries of army life from the Battle of Hastings onwards, with paintings, illustrations, personal testimony, photographs, artifacts and memorabilia, interweaved with props, costumes and Handspring's life sized puppets used in the National Theatre's stage adaptation, and images from the Steven Spielberg film. In the First World War, there were more than 6 million horses and mules, and judging by the British statistics, almost half died of disease or were killed in conflict, and only a handful, mainly officers' privately owned mounts, ever came home. The best of the survivors were sold overseas as riding horses, the next as work horses, and the rest to butchers for human consumption. The exhibition also touches on the fate of those horses, and how they were helped by charities such as the Brooke animal hospitals (founded by Dorothy Brooke, wife of a British Army major, who found skeletal horse survivors working in the streets of Cairo, some still visibly branded with the army's broad arrow) and the RSPCA. Among the stories told is that of Jimson, a mule who survived campaigns in India and the Boer war, and whose 3 service medals are on display. He was so beloved by the 2nd Battalion Middlesex that they got special permission to bring him back from South Africa in 1903, and he lived on as regimental mascot until 1912. National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London, until August.

FCB Cadell is the first solo exhibition of the work of one of the four artists popularly known as The Scottish Colourists to be held in a public gallery in 70 years. Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell is perhaps the most elegant of the Colourists, renowned for stylish portrayals of Edinburgh New Town interiors and the sophisticated society that occupied them, vibrantly coloured, daringly simplified still lifes and figure studies of the 1920s, and evocative depictions of his beloved island of Iona. As with the other Colourists, Cadell spent time in France early on in his career, and had direct contact with French painting from Manet and the Impressionists to Matisse and the Fauves. Cadell's tightly-cropped compositions, usually approached at an angle, the flat application of paint, and his use of brilliant colour, resulted in interiors, still lifes and figure studies that count amongst the most remarkable paintings in British art of the period. The exhibition brings together almost 80 of these paintings, many of which have rarely, if ever, been shown in public before. Highlights include 'The Blue Fan', 'The Embroidered Cloak', 'Still Life with White Teapot', 'Interior The Orange Blind', 'Interior Croft House', 'Portrait of a Lady in Black', 'Florian's Cafe, Venice', 'St Mark's Square, Venice ', 'The Harbour, Cassis', 'The Tail of Mull from Ioana', 'Pulpit Rock, Iona', 'The Croft ', and 'Ioana'. Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art, Edinburgh, until 18th March.

From Garden City To Green City explores the many visions, designs and projects that have inspired the 'green city' movement over the last 150 years. From the Victorian pioneers determined to improve living conditions in newly industrialised Britain, to today's landscape architects transforming urban centres, the exhibition considers whether the current enthusiasm for eco-living and seasonality can make a lasting change. The exhibition brings together books, works of art, photographs, design drawings, maps, diagrams and films to tell the story of the green city movement since the mid 19th century. It re-visits a time when areas like Brixton and Waterloo could be depicted as rural idylls. This green signature underlying London inspired the designer William Morris and the novelist Richard Jefferies to imagine a future in which nature takes over. The display tells the story of the very first of the 'garden cities' in Letchworth, and looks at their legacy in the town planning of the 20th century. It traces the impact of the Second World War and the wild flower meadows that sprang up naturally in former bomb sites. Following on from these, it opens the door on the many green spaces that have been created by individuals and community groups, such as a London house with a wildflower meadow and insect hotel on its roof; and 'guerilla gardening' and 'meanwhile gardens', like the Dalston Eastern Curve in Hackney, and the Edible Bus Stop garden, on a strip of land beside the 322 stop on Landor Road SW9. The Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1, until 1st April.

Treasures Of The Royal Society features some of the most remarkable treasures from 350 years of book collecting. Among the rare and priceless publications are: John Graunt's 'Natural and Political Observations...upon the Bills of Mortality', a pioneering work on medical statistics that provides a unique insight into what London life - and death - were like in the 17th century; Isaac Newton's handwritten corrections to his 'Principia', setting out his laws of motion, universal gravitation, and planetary motion, one of the most significant scientific works ever published; the first edition of Charles Darwin's 'Origin of Species', which sparked a revolution in the way humans understood themselves and the natural world; rarely seen anatomical engravings by Albrecht Durer, the first to apply the science of human proportion to aesthetics; Galileo's revolutionary 'Starry Messenger', the first book to describe the results of astronomical observations made through a telescope, describing craters and mountains on the moon, clearly shown in several engraved illustrations; William Gilbert's 'Tractatus de Magnete', a groundbreaking book on magnetism that explained by means of experiments and observations his theory of the earth as a giant magnet with two poles; Charles Lyell's 'Principles of Geology' which argued that geology can be explained by the action of modern causes such as volcanoes, earthquakes and erosion, and that the biblical narratives of the creation and flood should not be taken literally; and Robert Hooke's 'Micrographia', the first illustrated book of microscopic observations, containing the first use of the word 'cell' to describe the tiny pores in a sliver of cork. The Royal Society, Carlton House Terrace, London, until 21st June.

Graham Sutherland: An Unfinished World is an exploration of the lesser-known works of one of the most compelling British artists of the mid 20th century. The exhibition brings together over 80 of Graham Sutherland's rarely seen works on paper, studies and sketches that possess a quickness and fluidity that his finished paintings often lack. It concentrates on Sutherland's early Pembrokeshire landscapes from the 1930s and 1940s, works created during his time as an official war artist during the Second World War, and after his return to Pembrokeshire in the 1970s. Far from traditional studies of landscape and environment, these works not only depict but also exude a world that is as dark as it is magical, as elusive as it is recognisable. Strangely bereft of human life, the works navigate the real and imagined, where country lanes loop into each other, horizon lines fold into foregrounds, and nothing is as it seems. Sutherland was exhilarated by the 'exultant strangeness' of the Pembrokeshire landscape, but the natural forms he painted are fuelled just as much by his imagination. This is revealed in distinctly dark ruminations of the soul, a devastating vision that appears just as apocalyptic before the war as it does during it or in its immediate aftermath. The exhibition shows Sutherland as an artist as much rooted in the past as in the world before him - a world forever unfinished. Modern Art Oxford until 18th March.

Magic Worlds delves into the realms of fantasy, illusion and enchantment, revealing how magic has been embraced for hundreds of years. The exhibition explores the world of fairy tales and fantasy literature, the history and origins of magic, and how themes of magic have influenced many artists and writers over the last 300 years. It is a journey into miniature magical worlds, complete with witches, wizards, fairies and magical creatures, showing the ways magical beliefs become magical fictions, how fairytales evolved into fantasy literature, and how real superstition merged into conjuring tricks. Objects on display include posters, costumes, tricks and illusions from Music Hall and stage magic shows; props and merchandise from films featuring fantasy and magical creatures; optical toys such as the zoetrope and the praxinoscope, magic lanterns and parlour games based around magic; children's magic, conjuring sets and playing cards featuring classic tricks; paintings, drawings and ceramics inspired by the theme of fairies and enchantment; the supposedly real photographs of the Cottingley fairies; otherworldly dolls and puppets; and illustrated books, such as a 16th century book on witchcraft that includes a depiction of the fairground trick known as the beheading of John the Baptist - a Tudor version of the modern magic trick of the assistant sawn in half; together with interactive hands-on activities. Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green, London, until 4th March.


Cutting Edge: Contemporary Paper Art displays work by leading artists who use techniques such as collage, print-making and paper cuts to create a variety of fragile and unique sculptures and illustration. Papercraft is an age-old art that goes back to ancient China and Japan, but here it is given a contemporary twist. Among the artists represented are Eileen White, Rob Ryan, Ed Kluz, John Dilnot, Jonny Hannah, Zoe Murphy and Sally Sheinman. Highlights include a 15ft paper cut mobile suspended in the air, made from hundreds of leaves, flowers and other natural elements; beautiful 'vignettes' inside glass fronted boxes; six grand three dimensional paper houses on a miniature scale, mythical creations sheltering beneath Victorian glass domes; uncanny gothic landscapes inspired by historic buildings and folklore, made from mixed media, including gouache, ink, wax, wire and cut paper; and two 200ft long paper sculptures, one made from 25,000 pieces of hand-painted gold Japanese rice paper to symbolise the number of genes in the human genome, and the other comprised of over 700 drawings of the human form, each one different from the other, some showing small subtle changes, while others times are very dramatically different. Mottisfont Abbey, Mottisfont, near Romsey, Hampshire, until 29th January.

Alice In Wonderland is first exhibition to provide a comprehensive historical exploration of how Lewis Carroll's stories have influenced the visual arts. The exhibition provides an insight into the creation of the Alice novels, the adoption of the text as an inspiration for artists, and the revision of its key themes by artists up to the present day. The starting point is Carroll's original manuscript, with his own illustrations, and the famous illustrations by Sir John Tenniel in the first published edition. These indicate that images were an integral part of the story, creating a visual world which took on a life of its own. Works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett Millais feature, alongside paintings by William Holman Hunt and Arthur Hughes, referenced in Carroll's diaries. The exhibition also includes Carroll's own photographs and photographic equipment, alongside Victorian Alice memorabilia, and documents from early stage adaptations. Surrealist artists from the 1930s onwards who were drawn towards Carroll's fantastical world are represented by Salvador Dalí's series of twelve Alice in Wonderland illustrations, and work by Max Ernst, Rene Magritte and Dorothea Tanning. British Surrealists, dubbed 'the children of Alice', such as Paul Nash, Roland Penrose, Conroy Maddox and F E McWilliam. Work by Mel Bochner, Jan Dibbets, Dan Graham, Yayoi Kusama, Adrian Piper and Marcel Broodthaers highlight responses to the novel as it reached its centenary. Contemporary artists taking inspiration from the books, include the photography of Anna Gaskell, alongside pieces by A A Bronson, Joseph Grigely, Torsten Lauschmann, Jimmy Robert and Annelies Strba. Tate Liverpool until 29th January.

William Morris: Story, Memory, Myth looks at how the Victorian designer and writer told stories through pattern and poetry. William Morris, a leading member of one of Britain's first socialist parties, made textiles truly radical. It was the holistic experience of medieval crafts he strove for, railing against the grim production lines of his own era. The exhibition examines the tales that were most important to him, such as the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, Norse saga, Arthurian legend and Greek myth. Morris returned to the same stories throughout his artistic career, and his continued fascination is revealed by arranging the works according to the tale they tell rather than their medium. Thus, 5 rarely seen panels of the embroidered frieze 'The Romaunt of the Rose' can be seen together with editions of 'The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer', elaborately illustrated by Morris and Edward Burne-Jones and printed by Morris's private press. Both the frieze and Chaucer drew inspiration from the French medieval text the 'Roman de la Rose'. This is the first time that these panels have been seen since their recent conservation by The Royal School of Needlework. Among the other highlights are illustrations of Arthurian legends. These combine the work of both Burne-Jones and Morris, where romanticised women, with their long unravelled red hair and draped white robes stand in front of wistful backdrops, composed of Morris's iconic and infinite patterns of nature, including 'King Arthur and Sir Launcelot', from 'The Story of Tristram and Isoude' series of stained glass windows. This is the first public exhibition at Two Temple Place, one of London's hidden architectural gems, built by William Waldorf Astor on the Embankment. It is an extraordinary late neo-Gothic Victorian mansion, designed to 'personify literature in addition to being representative of art, craft and architecture'. Two Temple Place, London WC2, until 29th January.