News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th August 2004


Off The Beaten Track: Three Centuries Of Women Travellers features women who journeyed to distant parts of the world between the 1660s and the 1960s, and their experiences and encounters. The exhibition comprises 60 portraits, in all media, alongside photographs and paintings made on their travels, together with some of the souvenirs they brought back. Travellers to the Americas include Maria Callcott, who journeyed in Brazil in the 1820s, and the album of botanical illustrations that she painted there; and the actress Fanny Kemble, who discovered that her American husband's fortune came from slave plantations in Georgia, and her journal describing their plight, which was used to further the cause of Abolition. From the Far East and the Pacific come photographs of China taken in the 1890s by Isabella Bird on a journey up the Yangtze, where she converted the cabin of her boat into a darkroom, and washed the chemicals off her glass plate negatives in the river. Travellers to Africa include Amelia Edwards, whose book earned her enough to pay for archaeological excavations in Egypt, and a portrait sculpture discovered there; and Mary Kingsley, a Victorian traveller who defended herself with a canoe paddle when a crocodile attempted to board her boat, and the brown fur hat that she wore when travelling. Women who made Britain their destination include Pocohontas, the American Indian woman who visited the court of King James I; and Sarah Davies, an African slave who became Queen Victoria's goddaughter. National Portrait Gallery until 31st October.

The Age Of Titain: Venetian Renaissance Art From Scottish Collections brings together works from various Scottish collections and galleries from the greatest period of Venetian art, between about 1460 and 1620. Some 80 paintings by Titian and his contemporaries, including Jacopo Bassano, Giovanni Bellini, Giorgione, Lorenzo Lotto, Jacopo Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese, together with 45 drawings, and 30 prints, plus 11 books and manuscripts, sculpture in marble, terracotta and bronze, furniture, textiles in cut velvet and silk damask, maiolica, glass and enamels, present a comprehensive picture of one of the most important periods in artistic history, when almost everything was imbued with a spiritual aura. Among the highlights are a huge 'Christ and the Centurion' by Paris Bourdon, Andrea Schiavone's largest known mythology 'Infancy of Jupiter', 'Portrait of Doge Marcantonio Memmo' by Palma il Giovane, and 'Christ and the Adulteress', now accepted as an early work by Titian, seen for the first time together with his 'Three Ages of Man', 'Diana and Acteon', Diana and Callisto', 'Venus Rising from the Sea' and 'Salome with the Head of John the Baptist'. The exhibition inaugurates the Playfair Project, a partially underground gallery, designed by John Miller and Partners, linking the restored Royal Scottish Academy building with the National Gallery of Scotland. Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh until 5th December.

The E-Type: Story Of A British Sports Car celebrates the E-type Jaguar, one of the most innovative and influential cars ever designed in Britain, which became a cultural icon in the Swinging Sixties. From the moment it was unveiled at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show, it was a sensation. Speedy and stylish, with long low lines and a racing bonnet, it captured the glamour and dynamism of Britain in the early 1960s. The E-Type rapidly became the most fashionable car to own, and was taken up by the celebrities of the day. This exhibition, featuring rare cars and memorabilia from the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust, traces the evolution of the E-type design from the elegant XK120 launched in 1948, and the XK120 C-type and D-type racing cars that won the 24 hour races at Le Mans five times in the 1950s. Jaguar's designer Malcolm Sayer, an aerodynamicist who had trained in the aircraft industry, and chief engineer William Heynes, working under the personal supervision of the company's founder William Lyons, produced a car in accordance with strict mathematical principles. Their design refined the silhouette of the 1950s Jaguar racing cars into a sleek sculptural form, capable of a top speed of 150 miles per hour. At £2,097 it offered sporting luxury for half the price of a Ferrari or Aston Martin. Such was the level of innovation in their work, that it still influences Jaguar design today. Design Museum until 28th November.


Making Faces explores the way painters have represented faces from the profile portraits of 15th century Italy, such the 'Portrait of a Lady in Red', to the abstracted images of Frank Auerbach's 'Julia'. The 22 works featured encompass artists as diverse as Botticelli, Cranach, Goya, Moroni, Renoir, Sargent, Wyndham Lewis, Warhol and Julian Opie. Opening with a section on how artists have addressed the problem of catching a likeness, the exhibition centres on the way painters have used expression, idealisation, distortion and caricature to convey character, social standing and emotion. This is embodied in Phillipe de Champaigne's 'Triple Portrait of Cardinal de Richelieu', comprised of two profiles and a full frontal, which was painted as a visual aid for a sculptor who had to work without ever having actually seen the cardinal. The exhibition includes both single heads of great individuality such as Bruggen's 'Man Playing a Lute', Hogarth's 'The Shrimp Girl' and Goya's 'Dona Isabel de Porcel', and crowded scenes of carefully distinguished facial types, such as the cross-section of London life shown in George Elgar Hick's 'The General Post Office: One minute to Six'. The show culminates in a selection of paintings that use faces to intensely expressive ends, including Rembrandt's 'Belshazzar's Feast' and Francis Bacon's 'Figure Study II'. National Gallery until 26th September.

Bodies Revealed: The Exhibition features a display of dissected full human specimens, plus hundreds of individual organs, allowing visitors the chance to see close up how the body works, and how organs are affected by disease. The specimens have been preserved using a process called 'polymer preservation', so that they can be examined long term, without deterioration due to natural decay. The same technique was used by Professor Gunther von Hagens, the gentleman that looked as though he had just stepped out of a Hammer Horror film, who dissected a body live on television, (no, not a live body) for the Body Worlds exhibition in 2002. This time the specimens are the work of the less alarming Dr Roy Glover, and the University of Michigan. His laboratory has supplied preserved human specimens for medical instruction in more than 125 undergraduate and postgraduate medical programmes, biotechnology companies, health education agencies and museums. All of the bodies and organ specimens in the exhibition came from individuals who chose to donate their bodies to medical science for the purpose of study and education. Possibly the most impressive exhibit is a figure showing the delicate knitting of the entire blood vessel system. Nevertheless, with the cirrhotic livers, shrunken lungs and ectopic pregnancies on display, plus the location on Blackpool's Golden Mile, it does evoke the memory of a Victorian freak show. Winter Gardens, Blackpool, until 14th November.

British Art Displays 1500-2004: The Symbolic Paintings Of GF Watts marks the centenary of the death of the man who was once one Britain's most lauded artists, even dubbed 'England's Michelangelo', but is now almost forgotten. It brings together many of his best known paintings with other rarely shown works. Despite being regarded primarily as a portraitist, for Watts, his allegorical paintings were his most important work, exploring the themes of love, death and conscience. These include the monumental 'Court of Death', measuring over four metres by two metres, which was originally destined for the chapel in a paupers' cemetery. It is joined here by 'Love and Death', from the ambitious but incomplete series called 'The House of Life'. These paintings were regarded as both consolatory spiritual statements, and trenchant condemnations of pervasive modern vices, such as gambling, gross materialism and sexual exploitation. The display reunites the three works that comprise the trilogy of subjects related to Eve, made for 'The House of Life', which show Eve's creation, temptation and repentance. Appalled by the squalor and urban poverty of his time, Watts painted a series of grim socialist-realist paintings, including 'Found Drowned', 'Under A Dry Arch' and 'The Song of a Shirt', that had a similar effect on the public conscience as Dickens's novels. Among other works on show that have not been seen for many years are the quasi Papal portrait 'Mammon', 'Hope' and 'Jonah'. Tate Britain, continuing.

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, musical entertainment at Buckingham Palace is the focus of a special display in the Ball Supper Room. Historic fancy-dress costumes, musical instruments and manuscripts, photographs and souvenirs can be see in the room that has been the setting for many glittering events in the Palace's history. The star exhibit is a gilded and painted grand piano, built for and played by Queen Victoria, at whose instigation the Ball Supper Room was constructed. As part of the audio tour of the State Rooms, visitors hear the voices of performers, the sounds of the original instruments on show, and some of the music specially composed for the royal family. Among the highlights are Johann Strauss's waltz for Queen Victoria's coronation; Felix Mendelssohn's special arrangements of his Songs Without Words; and The Queen's Suite by Duke Ellington, written and performed in 1959. Visitors can also enjoy a garden walk that offers views of the Garden Front of the Palace and the 19th century lake. Buckingham Palace until 26th September.

SoundSpace is a new gallery designed to introduce children between the ages of 3 and 12 to sound, music and performance, through hands on exhibits and state of the art technology. The multi media systems have been created through a collaboration between sound artist Thor McIntyre-Burnie and designers Northern Light CoDesign. The interactive experience provides an opportunity for children to explore the physics of sound by seeing and feeling vibrations, and creating their own musical sequences. The main features are: an immersive 'Sensory Soundscape', where children are surrounded by a medley of lights and a constantly evolving sound collage that responds to visitors movements; a stage, complete with sound and lighting, so that visitors can take part in a 10 minute performance; a DJ style studio, where visitors can mix their own music, using beats, samples and sounds from nature; and a music matrix, with flashing patterns that revolutionises the way music is created, where children can generate their own unique musical compositions, and select how they wish their music to sound - and look. The aim is to enhance children's understanding of how science, technology, engineering and maths work together to make music. Eureka!, Halifax, continuing.

William Hodges: The Art Of Exploration is the first ever major retrospective of the 18th century world landscape painter, whose career as an artist took him to New Zealand, the South Pacific and India, travelling with Captain Cook on his second three year voyage, and across India under the patronage Warren Hastings and the East India Company. The exhibition reveals Hodges's bold, almost impressionistic style, and shows how his originality expanded the scope of British landscape painting to include subjects that reflected European exploration across the world. The works also demonstrate his technical skill for painting 'en plein air', a technique that caused controversy when the Impressionists bought it to the fore a century later. The subjects of his paintings of Tahiti, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands were a revelation at the time for audiences in Europe with no knowledge of these scenes and cultures. Among these are the monuments of Easter Island, a waterspout at Cape Stephens, and an Antarctic iceberg. After returning from the Pacific, Hodges became the first professional landscape painter to work in India. The exhibition, of 56 oil paintings and over 20 works on paper, includes many works that have not been on display since Hodges's lifetime, and this is the first time that the Pacific and Indian pictures have been seen together. Queen's House, The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich until 21st November.


The Adventures Of Tintin At Sea commemorates the 75th anniversary of the first adventure undertaken by the most famous Belgian with the distinctive haircut. The exhibition examines the development of the comic strip, with the oldest existing drawing of Tintin, how the characters came to be named and developed, and other original artwork, much of which has never been on public display before. These strips are a chronicle of 20th century preoccupations in their stories, and have been a major influence on pop art in their style. The exhibition also looks at the life of Tintin's creator, including a silkscreen portrait of Herge (Georges Remi) by Andy Warhol, on public display in Britain for the first time, together with personal effects, objects and photographs. One of Tintin's most distinctive features is that his adventures reflect a degree of reality uncommon in most comic strip books. Herge had an interest in scientific developments, and believed in the importance of placing Tintin in a real and believable world. Many of the stories and drawings were based on accurate research, achieved by taking clippings from magazines, visiting museums, and consulting friends and experts. Unfamiliar materials from the museum's collection reveal the inspiration behind Tintin's adventures at sea, and highlight the accuracy with which they were created. Among these are 1930s life jackets, star maps, models of ships that are featured in the stories, and a working one-man shark-shaped submarine. National Maritime Museum until 5th September.

The Art Of The Garden is the first major exhibition to examine the relationship of the garden and British art. It takes a broad view, encompassing the domestic garden, allotments, garden suburbs, artist's own backyards and imaginary gardens. From the last two centuries, it brings together over one hundred works by artists ranging from Constable and Turner to Lucian Freud, Marc Quinn and Gary Hume. These includes iconic paintings such as John Singer Sargent's 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose', John Constable's two depictions of his father's flower and kitchen gardens in Suffolk, 'The Badminton Game' by David Inshaw, Waterhouse's 'Psyche Opening the Door into Cupid's Garden' and Samuel Palmer's idyllic visions of the English countryside. Among the artist's gardens, revealed through painting, printmaking, photography and sculpture there are Little Sparta, Ian Hamilton Finlay's classically inspired garden, in which sculptural works carrying poetic inscriptions lurk among trees and shrubs; a drawing by Beatrix Potter of her potted geraniums; and Howard Schooley's painting of Derek Jarman's beach garden at Dungeness. The influence of colour theory on the garden designer Gertrude Jekyll is reflected through her own watercolours and early colour photographs of planting schemes she created for her garden at Munstead Wood. Among new works made specifically for the exhibition is a spectacular installation by Anya Gallaccio employing ten thousand roses. Tate Britain until 30th August.

Tamara de Lempicka: Art Deco Icon is the first major exhibition in this country of the artist who captured the essence of modernism and the spirit of Art Deco in her work. It focuses on her most prolific period, from 1922 to the early 1940s. Bringing together some 55 paintings, many never before seen in public, the exhibition confirms de Lempicka's reputation as one of the most iconic painters of her generation. Although brought up in Moscow, she moved to Paris in 1917, as it was about to become the capital of the art world. De Lempicka's images combine the forms of traditional portraiture with geometric architectural features that capture the sense of modernity and the machine age. Her subjects are often dramatically lit, with closely cropped compositions, so that they fill the canvas with their monumental and powerful presence. It is for the development of this contemporary and unique style that de Lempicka is recognised. These paintings reflect the combination of wealth and decadence that was synonymous with the French capital in the 1920s and 1930s. As well as focusing on her many commissioned portraits, the exhibition also includes some of de Lempicka's sensual nudes and beautiful still-lifes. The Royal Academy until 30th August.