News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th August 2010


Romantics features paintings, prints and photographs exploring the origins, inspirations and legacies of British Romantic art. The exhibition focuses in particular on works from the 19th century, by artists such as Henry Fuseli, John Linnell and Samuel Palmer, when the ideal of the artist as an enlightened and inspired genius brought with it an interest in the power of visions, exacerbated by a trend for gothic literature and art. This freedom brought artists the opportunity to experiment with imagery and subject matter to create pictures of astonishing emotional intensity. Among the highlights of over 170 key works are: 8 'lost' spectacular hand-coloured etchings by William Blake, annotated with lines of his poetry, re-discovered by accident in the 1970s; Fuseli's 'Titania and Bottom'; Joseph Wright of Derby's 'Sir Brooke Boothby'; John Constable's 'Beaching a Boat, Brighton', 'Cloud Study' and 'Flatford Mill'; Richard Dadd's 'The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke'; Henry Wallis's 'Chatterton'; and late works by JMW Turner, characterised by the experimental use of colour and the depiction of light, which were heavily criticised at the time, such as 'Norham Castle, Sunrise', 'Study of Sky and Sea, Isle of Wight' and 'Sun Setting over a Lake'; plus works by Neo-Romantics of the mid 20th century, Graham Sutherland and Paul Nash, who looked back to British Romantic visionaries. Tate Britain until 31st December.

Industrial Revolutionaries: People Who Shaped The Modern World spans 150 years of industrial history, looking at the personalities that helped create the modern world, and then fought to redress the resulting problems of inequality through radical social reform and political activism. Delving in to the lives of key individuals, and the movements they created, this exhibition reveals their influence, political history and global impact through over 70 objects, including Joseph Wright of Derby's portrait of Richard Arkwright; a model of Horrockses Yard Works; a Tee-Total teapot; a newly conserved tram wagon; Preston Prison whipping horse; specially recorded versions of street ballads; and unseen archive footage by filmmakers Will Onda and Mitchell and Kenyon. The individuals featured are: Sir Richard Arkwright, inventor of the water-frame, entrepreneur and developer of the factory system; Charles Dickens, who visited Preston during the lock-out and strike of 1853, influencing his novel Hard Times; Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, who wrote about these events, seeing them as a test case for proletarian revolution; Elizabeth Gaskell, who fictionalised weaver and orator George Cowell in her novel North and South; Joseph Livesey, champion of the poor and temperence campaigner; Henry Hunt, a radical MP and people's hero; Father Joseph 'Daddy' Dunn, who was instrumental in Preston being the first gas-lit town in Britain; Rev John Clay, chaplain and reformer in crime and public health; Annie Hill, child mill worker whose portrait was painted by artist Patti Mayor; and John and Samuel Horrocks, industrial innovators who developed the Yard Works and created Britain's largest cotton-manufacturing company. Harris Museum, Preston, until 6th November.

Mapping Portsmouth's Tudor Past brings together for the first time a group of hand-drawn maps that give a unique insight into Tudor Portsmouth and a view of the world 500 years ago. The exhibition includes two large-scale maps of Portsmouth, one dating from 1545 (the year the Mary Rose sank defending the country from French invasion), which is the earliest scale map of an English town and one of the earliest in Europe, and the other dating from 1552, which was probably made for the visit of Edward VI; two maps of the Solent from the collection of William Cecil, Elizabeth I's Secretary of State, which were made to review the defences of Portsmouth Harbour, and highlight both fortifications and potential invasion beaches; the Brouscon tidal atlas of 1540, displayed with a tidal calculator recovered from the Mary Rose, demonstrating a sophisticated Tudor understanding of the tidal currents and timings around the British Isles; a chart of Portsmouth Harbour originally dated as c1620 on the basis of the ship depictions drawn on it, but now believed to be earlier, possibly as early as the pre-Armada 1580s; the Agnese atlas of c1535, open at the pages showing the 'known world', including the east coasts of America and Europe/Africa, through to India; a portolan chart of 1579 showing Spain up to the British Isles; and a first edition Waghenaer sea atlas of 1586, reputed to have been used by the Admiralty Board during the Spanish Armada battles two years later. The maps say a great deal about the state of the nation's defences, and show an impressive sophistication, but they also have a beauty that makes them works of art as well as planning documents for war. Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, until 17th October.


Ray Harryhausen: Myth And Legends is a retrospective of the work of the man who put 'special' into 'special effects' in films before the computer age. Ray Harryhausen, who began his art after seeing the original 'King Kong' film in 1933 went on to develop a technique known as Dynamation, which is a process that allows animated models to be integrated with live action. Photographing his own handmade models one painstaking frame at a time, this pioneer of stop-motion animation created monsters and mythical creatures, which thrilled and inspired generations of film fans. It is not a huge show, since most of Harryhausen's titans and tyrannosaurs were only 18in high, (except for a larger-than-lifesize Medusa) but it includes the detailed and expressive dinosaurs from 'Valley of the Gwangi'; the crab carcass that he re-articulated with a metal skeleton for 'Mysterious Island'; and one of the battling skeletons created for the first of his three 'Sinbad' films. Where models have been lost they are represented by bronze sculptures, which, along with illustrations and storyboards, showcase Harryhausen's skill as an artist. Each display case for the smaller figures comes with a screen showing them in action, or featuring their creator talking about them. Sometimes the decayed state of the models tells its own story of what low-budget genre film-making was like. The latex skin of a tyrannosaur made for an unfinished film has rotted to reveal the sophisticated metal armature beneath; the giant octopus from 'It Came From Beneath the Sea' only ever had 6 legs for budgetary reasons, and is now just a glowering head as its limbs were recycled as dinosaur tails; and the model of Raquel Welch, complete with fur bikini, for 'One Million Years BC', has aged less well than the real thing. London Film Museum, Riverside Building, County Hall SE1, until June.

Volcano: Turner To Warhol is the first exhibition to explore the history of human perception of volcanoes, and the artistic outpourings that they have inspired over the past 500 years. Through paintings, photographs, prints, film, books and diaries, and from images made on the spot to the most fanciful imaginings, the show demonstrates the long held fascination of artists for these extraordinary natural phenomena. Works from all over the world trace a route through the sequence of a volcanic eruption - from calm to the first ominous rumblings, to cataclysmic explosion, panic and death, and finally back to dormancy and extinction. Among the highlights are paintings of Icelandic volcanoes never shown before in the Britain; David Allen's portrait of Sir William and Lady Hamilton in their Naples home overlooking the active volcano, shown alongside Hamilton's publication Campi Phlegraei (Fields of Fire), lavishly illustrated by Pierre Fabris, whose works reveal the shocking beauty of volcanoes, and revolutionised our way of seeing them; Hiroshige's cool and elegant images of Mount Fiji; Pierre-Jacques Volaire's 'Vesuvius Erupting at Night'; JMW Turner's 'Eruption of the Souffrier'; Joseph Wright's 'Vesuvius in Eruption'; Michael Sandle's series of drawings of the 1981 eruption of Mount St Helens in America; James P Graham's films of Stromboli, which explore both the destructive and creative nature of the island volcano; and Warhol's huge canvas 'Vesuvius'. Compton Verney, Warwickshire, until 31st October.

Steve McCurry - Retrospective features the work of the American photo-journalist who is responsible for some of the world's most famous photographs. Recognised internationally for his classic reportage, over the last 20 years Steve McCurry has worked for the National Geographic and other publications on numerous assignments, including along the Afghan border, in Baghdad, Beirut and the Sahel. Compelling, unforgettable and moving, McCurry's images are unique: un-stylized and unopposed snapshots of people that reveal the universality of human emotion. His coverage of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s, when he crossed the border disguised as a local with rolls of film sown into his clothes, won him the Robert Capa Gold Medal for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad Showing Courage and Enterprise. There are over 80 images in this exhibition, featuring ordinary people in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Tibet, including the world renowned 'Afghan Girl'. The intensity of the subject's eyes and her compelling gaze made this one of contemporary photography's most celebrated and best known portraits. It came to represent the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and highlighted the refugee situation worldwide. McCurry is a master photographer, but what he truly excels at is his reading of colour and light. His pictures are famous as much for the extraordinary beauty of the colour and light they capture as for the subjects he covers. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery until 17th October.

Butterfly Explorers charts the life cycle of some of the world's most beautiful creatures in an explorer's trail through a tropical butterfly house, and reveals how butterflies around the world have adapted to their habitats. The trail takes visitors on a journey from egg to caterpillar, and chrysalis to butterfly. In the butterfly house there is a hatchery, where butterflies constantly emerge from their pupa, and join the hundreds of butterflies and moths in the 4 habitat zones of North America, South America, Africa and Southeast Asia, fluttering freely among the exotic plants. Around 40 species with wildly different colourings and markings are on view, including the Glasswing butterfly, which has transparent wings, and the Madagascan moon moth, which has the longest tail of any moth, plus the woolly bear caterpillar, which lives in the Arctic and spends most of the year frozen solid at temperatures of -50C or below. Outside the butterfly house is a garden devoted to some of the 58 butterfly species that live in Britain, and offering useful tips for attracting these butterflies to visitors' own gardens. Meanwhile, inside the museum itself, there over 8 million preserved butterflies and moths, including representatives from about 90,000 species, with specimens dating back as far as 1680. Natural History Museum until 26th September.

British Sporting Art explores the genre from horseracing and hunting to boxing, football, cricket - and even ratting. Central to the theme of the exhibition, which includes works by George Stubbs, Alfred Munnings, Edwin Landseer and George Morland, is John Bowes, the founder of the museum, his love for horseracing, and his prolific racing career. The branch of painting that has come to be known as British Sporting Art was at its height during the 18th century, when horseracing fervour swept the nation. It was a golden age for sporting artists, the most famous of which was Stubbs, who immortalised winners on canvas, despite it being rejected by connoisseurs as a low form of art, and by Joshua Reynolds as mere genre painting. A featured painting is of one of Bowes' most successful racehorses, Cotherstone, by J F Herring Jnr. Artists such as Gillray, quite different from those depicting field sports, produced detailed portraits of boxers and comical sporting scenes, which were reproduced in popular print form. The exhibition considers whether this in itself is a statement about the class system in the 18th century, particularly as the print industry became prominent. It also examines the next generation of painters - Herring Snr and Jnr and Henry Alken - who faced less prejudice than their predecessors, and concludes with more recent sporting paintings by Munnings. The period art is accompanied by bronzes of racehorses, deer and gundogs by contemporary sculptor Sally Arnupt. Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham, until 10th October.

Frederick Cayley Robinson: Acts Of Mercy provides an opportunity to re-examine a little known yet highly distinctive artist of the early 20th century, who stood outside the main developments of British art. The four central paintings on display are the summation of Frederic Cayley Robinson's artistic ambition. Executed between 1916 and 1920, 'Acts of Mercy' comprises four large scale allegorical works commissioned to adorn the new Middlesex Hospital. Combining modernity with tradition to remarkable effect, Cayley Robinson emulates the spiritual integrity and methods of the Old Masters. The two pairs are titled 'The Doctor', and 'Orphans'. In 'The Doctor', one panel represents the traumatic effects of conflict on those invalided out of the First World War, while in the other, a doctor is thanked by a kneeling mother (echoing traditional images of the adoration or crucifixion) and the daughter he has treated. 'Orphans', depict the refectory of an orphanage, under the patronage of the hospital, where in one panel, girls are filing in to receive bowls of milk, and in the other, they sit at a table reminiscent of Leonardo's 'Last Supper', while their stillness and steady gazes recall Dutch 17th century painting. Other works by Cayley Robinson in the exhibition include 'Pastoral', 'The Old Nurse' and 'Self Portrait'. These are accompanied by paintings that provided inspiration for their style and content, including Piero della Francesca's 'The Baptism of Christ', Sandro Botticelli's 'Four Scenes from the Early Life of Saint Zenobius' and Pierre-Cecile Puvis de Chavannes's 'Summer'. National Gallery until 17th October.


A World Observed 1940 - 2010: Photographs By Dorothy Bohm is the first major retrospective of the Prussian born London based photographer, widely acknowledged as one of the doyennes of British photography. This comprehensive exhibition brings together over 200 of Dorothy Bohm's photographic images from a career spanning more than six decades and several continents, many of them seen in public for the first time. The show reveals a wide array of aesthetically striking yet deeply humane, visually sophisticated yet immediately accessible photographs, which document a rapidly changing world in the second half of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Bohm's early portraits are displayed in a reconstruction of her Manchester studio, while a separate replica darkroom demonstrates the now almost forgotten technique of black and white photographic processing. She abandoned studio portraiture for 'street photography', travelling widely, and capturing insights into the changing face of post Second World War Europe, as well as the USA, the USSR and Israel. In the early 1980s, transitioning through exploring the potential of Polaroid photography, Bohm turned exclusively to working in colour. Since then, although the human figure in its natural setting is still the primary focus of her work, and she continues to use photography in its purest, unmanipulated form, her approach has become more painterly, with an ever greater interest in spatial and other forms of ambiguity. Manchester Art Gallery until 30th August.

Silent Witnesses: Graphic Novels Without Words brings together the work of internationally recognised artists and illustrators from around the world working in graphic novel form. Spanning publications from the early 20th century to the present day, the works contained in the display are distinct in that all use the capacity of images alone to communicate narrative, functioning entirely without the use of text. The exhibition thus examines the underlying structure and mechanics of developing a graphic novel, exposing it as a unique art form. It looks at the novel in the true sense, as an extended sequence conveying a narrative. The show includes preparation and working drawings, writings, flat plans, sketch books, character studies and associated works, alongside complete book works, to reveal the various developmental stages in creating a graphic novel. The exhibition combines works from a wide range of cultural contexts, from modern popular works, with scratchboard images by Eric Drooker produced for his novel 'Flood', to woodcuts by Frans Masereel for his 1925 work 'Die Stadt', to original drawings by Sara Varon for her books 'Sweater Weather', 'Robo and Hund' and 'Chicken and Cat'. Also in the show is a large scale flat-print version of 'A-Z' by Lars Arrhenius, a novel produced on the A-Z map of London. Other artists featured include: Hendrik Dorgathen, Max Ernst, Matt Forsythe, Alexandra Higlett, Laurence Hyde, Jason, Andrzej Klimowski, Peter Kuper, Chris Lanier, Otto Nuckel, Shaun Tan, Zoe Taylor, Lynd Ward and Jim Woodring. The Collection, Lincoln, until 30th August.

Picasso: Peace And Freedom is the first exhibition to reveal the Spanish artist as a tireless political activist and campaigner for peace in the post Second World War period. It challenges the widely held view of Pablo Picasso as creative genius, playboy and compulsive extrovert, reflecting a new Picasso for a new time. The exhibition brings together 150 key paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures, as well as posters and documents related to war and peace from 1944 to 1973. It provides an opportunity to look at Picasso's work in the Cold War era and how he transcended the ideological and aesthetic oppositions of East and West. The centrepiece is 'The Charnel House', last seen in Britain more than 50 years ago, Picasso's most explicitly political painting since 'Guernica'. Other highlights include 'Monument to the Spaniards who Died for France' and 'The Rape of the Sabine Women', painted at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The most unusual piece is the 'Bernal mural', the head of a man and woman with laurel wreaths and wings, drawn directly on to the sitting room wall while visiting his friend John Desmond Bernal, and later saved when the building was demolished. Picasso's Dove of Peace became the emblem for the Peace Movement and a universal symbol of hope during the Cold War. The dove also had a highly personal significance for Picasso - he named his daughter, born in the same month as the 1949 Peace Congress in Paris, 'Paloma' (Spanish for 'dove'). Tate Liverpool until 30th August.