News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 19th May 2010

Commencing

Treasures Of Lambeth Palace Library celebrates the 400th anniversary of one of the earliest public libraries in England. The exhibition draws upon the library's rich and diverse collections of manuscripts, archives and books, some of which are on public display for the first time. It not only shows these treasures, but also explores the history surrounding the people who owned, studied or used them as aids to prayer and devotion. Among the highlights of the exhibition are: the MacDurnan Gospels, written and illuminated in Ireland in the 9th century; the Lambeth Bible, a masterpiece of Romanesque art; the 13th century Lambeth Apocalypse; a Gutenberg Bible printed in 1455, the first great book printed in Western Europe from movable metal type; books owned and used by Kings and Queens, including a Book of Hours found in the tent of Richard III after his death at the Battle of Bosworth, a prayer book that belonged to Elizabeth I, and a book pleading for religious toleration with James I's angry notes in the margins; a pair of embroidered leather gloves worn by Charles I at his execution; physicians' reports on the illness of George III; an exceptionally rare edition of the Babylonian Talmud which survived a 1553 Papal Bull ordering all copies to be burnt, only rediscovered in 1992; the warrant for the execution of Mary Queen of Scots; landmark texts in the history of the Church of England, and papers of archbishops, bishops and leaders of church and state, ranging from the 13th century to the modern day, including those relating to the rebuilding of St Paul's Cathedral after the Great Fire. Great Hall, Lambeth Palace, London, until 23rd July.

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.

Old And New South American Botanical Art brings the Latin continent's exotic and lush plants to life in Britain. The exhibition combines 62 paintings from the Real Jardin Botanico in Madrid's collection of works commissioned by the 18th century botanist Jose Celestino Mutis, with 68 works by contemporary artists, including Margaret Mee, Alvaro Nunez and Etienne Demonte. Jose Celestino Mutis was sent to South America by the Spanish government to identify and document the plants of the Spanish colony and look for commercially valuable crops, timber and medicinal herbs. While there, he established an art school to train local Creole men to illustrate his findings, and some 40 illustrators worked on the project. The most outstanding of these was Francisco Xavier Matis Machecha, 6 of whose paintings are in the exhibition. Over 6,500 works were sent back to the archives of the Real Jardin Botanico in Madrid, none of which were published until 1952, and this is the first exhibition of the paintings in Europe outside Spain. Among the contemporary artists, Margaret Mee made 15 collecting trips into the Amazon, bringing back and painting hundreds of plants, including 4 previously unknown species that were named after her. The first painting she produced in the Amazon, 'Cannonball Tree in Belem', is in the exhibition, together with some of her notebooks. The display allows visitors to see the vivid and delicate plants of the region, while also highlighting the importance of botanical art as a timeless scientific tool, recording every aspect of a plant to help botanists with their research. Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, until 8th August.

Continuing

Fit For A King is a new permanent exhibition showcasing 500 years of Royal arms and armour, from the Tudor, Stuart, Hanoverian and Windsor dynasties. The exhibition charts the design and creation of armour for use on both the battle and sports fields, through to its decline and eventual redundancy. Highlights include two contrasting 16th century armours created for Henry VIII, an intricately decorated 'silvered and engraved' armour celebrating his marriage to Katherine of Aragon, shown astride a life sized horse wearing bard (horse armour) decorated with scenes for the lives of Henry and Katherine's patron saints, displayed alongside field and tournament garniture armour from 25 years later, the huge difference in size reflecting Henry's significant weight gain over the course of his reign, with etched and gilded decoration designed by Hans Holbein, with one of only two known existing examples of a ventral plate or inner breast plate for added protection; traditional Japanese armour given to James I by Tokugawa Hidetada, made by his personal armourer, which was almost certainly the first Japanese armour ever to be seen in Britain; Charles I's gilt armour, with its surface engraved and punched with foliage decoration and covered entirely in gold leaf; armour made for the young princes Edward VI and Charles I, so they could 'dress up' as their heroic fathers and ancestors; James II's harquebusier (light cavalry) armour, with a faceplate in the form of a royal crest, which gradually replaced those of the more heavily armoured traditional cavalrymen, marking the start of armour's decline; a pair of flintlock pistols decorated in the French fashion and depicting the image of the William III; and a collection of swords starting with George I's through to that of George VI. Tower of London continuing.

Objects Of Affection: Pre-Raphaelite Portraits By John Brett features paintings, drawings and early photographs by the Pre-Raphaelite artist, many of which have never been seen in public before. John Brett is principally known as a painter of luminescent landscapes featuring the coast of the British Isles. However, he was also an accomplished portraitist, and although he received few commissions for formal portraits, he did, like many of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood, create a significant quantity of intimate studies depicting friends and lovers, his family, and friends in the literary and artistic world. Brett was also an enthusiastic pioneer photographer. His best portraits, whether drawing, oil painting or photograph, have a meticulous delicacy comparable to that of his landscapes, while also revealing deep psychological insight and affection for many of his subjects. The exhibition includes paintings of Christina Rosetti, Arthur Brett, Jeanette Loeser, and his children Michael, Daisy, Jasper, Alfred, Pansy, Spencer and Gwendolin, drawings of Francis Martineau and 'Edwin', and photographs such as Pansy Posing for Jasper. As well as the portraiture, the exhibition also includes a selection of Brett's trademark landscapes, and archive material including his original letters, which reveal much about his personality. The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham, until 4th July.

Curious: The Craft Of Microscopy showcases the photography of Susanna Edwards, providing an opportunity to view objects that are rarely or never seen by the public. Using 9 different microscopes dating back to the 18th century, Susanna Edwards has photographed a collection of Victorian slides to create a series of natural images. Each photograph, taken as the eye would see through a microscope, documents how developments in microscopy have changed the way we see the world.

The show features large scale photographic prints alongside the actual historic slides and the instruments used to capture them. The oldest is a 1730s Culpeper microscope, and the most recent, an Axioskop from 1994. The slides contain a range of natural materials gathered for their aesthetic, scientific and educational qualities, including a cat lung, an insect egg and a salamander foot. The exhibition allows visitors to see real examples of the development of the light microscope over the past 300 years, and reveals the crucial importance microscopes have played in the advancement of medical knowledge, and the understanding of health and disease.

Ivory: Treasures From The Odontological Collection comprises a selection of ivory specimens from terrestrial and marine mammals that have teeth or tusks large enough to be classed as 'ivory', ranging from the extinct woolly mammoth to the elusive narwhal. Also included are a selection of historical medical instruments and dentures fashioned from ivory.

Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons, London, until 3rd July.

Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda And Art modestly proclaims that it provides an opportunity to see 100 greatest maps in the world, over three-quarters of which are on public exhibition for the first time. Dating from 200AD to the present day, there are cartographic masterpieces on paper, wood, vellum, silver, silk and marble, including atlases, maps, globes and tapestries. Recreating the settings in which they would have originally been seen, from the palace to the schoolroom, the exhibition reveals how maps express an enormous variety of differing world views, using size and beauty to convey messages of status and power. Highlights include: 'Fra Mauro World Map' by William Frazer, a hand-drawn copy of the first great modern world map from the 15th century, made for the British East India Company; 'Confiance - ses Amputations se Poursuivent', a Second World War German propaganda poster portraying Churchill as an octopus, drawing on earlier comic maps; 'The Klencke Atlas', the largest atlas in the world, intended to be a summary of the world's knowledge, produced for Charles II on his restoration to the English throne; 'Chinese Terrestrial Globe' by Nicola Longobardi and Bartolomeo Dias, the earliest Chinese terrestrial Globe, made by Jesuit missionaries for the Chinese Emperor in the 17th century; 'Americae, sive quartae orbis partis, nova et exactissima' by Diego Gutierrez and Hieronymus Cock, a map made to flatter King Philip II of Spain and celebrate the Spanish domination of the New World; and 'World Map' by Pierre Desceliers, a compendious 16th century world map made for the King of France, celebrating the discoveries of Jacques Cartier in Canada, and showing the myths, animals and natural history in their correct place in the world. British Library until 19th September.

Pioneering Painters: The Glasgow Boys 1880 - 1900 is the first major exhibition devoted to this influential group of artists in a generation. The Glasgow Boys were a loosely bound group of around 20 artists, influenced by the Realism of French painter Le Bastien-Lepage and the artistic theories of their hero James McNeill Whistler. Not all of the artists in the group attended Glasgow School of Art, or were even Scottish, but they did all have studios in the city. The Glasgow Boys painted outdoors at various places in Scotland during the summer and returned to Glasgow in the winter. There was great friendship, and a regular exchange of ideas, between most of the members of the group. This is the definitive Glasgow Boys exhibition, comprising around 100 oil paintings and 50 works on paper, both celebrating the achievements of the group and reviewing their legacy. All the important artists in the group are represented, including James Guthrie, E A Hornel, George Henry, John Lavery, Joseph Crawhall, Arthur Melville, James Paterson, William Kennedy, E A Walton, Alexander Mann, Thomas Millie Dow and Bessie McNicol, the only female artist closely associated with them. Highlights include Guthrie's 'To Pastures New' and 'Funeral Service In The Highlands', Henry's 'Playmates' and 'The Druids Bringing in the Mistletoe', Lavery's 'Woman On A Safety Tricycle' and 'The Tennis Party', William Kennedy's 'Stirling Station', and Hornel and Henry's paintings from their Japanese expedition. Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow, until 27th September.

Christopher Lloyd: A Life At Great Dixter presents a unique perspective on the life and work of one of the great characters of 20th century gardening. Christopher Lloyd lived and worked for most of his life at his family home, Great Dixter in Kent. It was there, through his adventurous changes and characteristic use of colour, that he created one of the world's best loved gardens. Lloyd's work there informed and inspired his distinctive writing, published in national press and numerous books, which made him a household name and the most engaging plantsman of his generation. The exhibition brings together personal objects from Great Dixter, recollections and stories from Lloyd's friends and colleagues, including Beth Chatto, Andrew Lawson, Anna Pavord and Stephen Anderton, examples of his writing, and stunning images of his garden, to piece together a picture of the life behind the garden wall. It is the first time that this selection of his and his family's possessions have been on public display, including his gardening galoshes and his Glyndebourne shoes, designs by Lutyens, and photographs from the family's private darkroom. From his childhood at Dixter, through his education as a gardener and the early days of the nursery business, to his later life and career, the exhibition examines the links between Lloyd's public persona and his private interests and enthusiasms, from his annual pilgrimages to Scotland and Glyndebourne, to cooking, contemporary design, and mischievous correspondence. It endeavours to place Christopher Lloyd's work in context, revealing why he was such an influential figure in 20th century gardening, and how his posthumous reputation will continue to endure. The Garden Museum, London until 12th September.

Concluding

Irving Penn Portraits is the largest British exhibition ever devoted to portraiture by one of the greatest photographers of his generation. It includes over 120 prints from Irving Penn's seven decade career, ranging from his early portraits for Vogue in 1944 to some of his last work, including previously unexhibited portraits of Lee Krasner, Edith Piaf, Harold Pinter and Cecil Beaton. The exhibition is a survey of Penn's portraits of major cultural figures, including Truman Capote, Salvador Dalì, Marlene Dietrich, Christian Dior, T S Eliot, Duke Ellington, Alfred Hitchcock, Nicole Kidman, Willem de Kooning, Jessye Norman, Rudolf Nureyev, Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky, Tennessee Williams, Ingmar Bergman, Arthur Miller, Louise Bourgeois and Woody Allen (in disguise as Charlie Chaplin). Penn began his career as a photographer in the 1940s, making portraits that were a groundbreaking stylistic shift from existing conventions of portrait photography. In contrast to his contemporaries, who often used complex or dramatic sets, or showed sitters in their working environments, Penn worked in a studio that was almost empty, using simulated daylight and only the simplest props. From the 1950s Penn began to photograph many of his subjects close up, gradually eliminating the visible framework of the studio, resulting in a greater emphasis on gesture and expression. As time when on, Penn moved into even more intense head and shoulder studies. In addition to individual portraits, the show features some of Penn's celebrated group portraits, including the 1967 photograph Rock Groups, which captures Janis Joplin and her band, Big Brother and the Holding Company, alongside the Grateful Dead, and his photograph of Ellsworth Kelly, Chuck Close, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Kenneth Noland. National Portrait Gallery until 6th June.

John Tunnard: Inner Space To Outer Space is the first major exhibition for 30 years of one of the most accomplished, yet frequently overlooked British painters of his generation. Nature-loving, star-gazing, bearded jazz extraordinaire John Tunnard's paintings were inspired by his many and varied interests, and drew on both surrealist fantasy worlds and developments in science and engineering. Tunnard found a way to create a stippled surface that looks textured, seemingly grainy to the touch, but which was entirely flat, seen to greatest effect in 'Fulcrum' and 'Man, Woman and Iron'. Although Tunnard began painting romantic landscapes the 1930s, it was when he moved into abstracts that he found his voice, with works perfectly capturing the post war 'Festival of Britain' 1950s style. He had a strong feel for pattern, which might be explained by his earlier career as a textile designer. The exhibition is grouped into the themes of Tunnards interests: Music and Surrealism, Nature and Landscape, and Science and Space Travel. Highlights include 'Plein Air Abstraction', 'Vane', 'Holiday' from the School Prints series, 'The Return', 'Self Portrait' and 'Messenger'. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 6th June.

Painting History: Delaroche And Lady Jane Grey examines Paul Delaroche's 'The Execution of Lady Jane Grey' in the context of his historical paintings, particularly the scenes from English history, which made his reputation. The exhibition features 7 of Delaroche's major paintings, including 'The Princes in the Tower', 'Young Christian Martyr', 'Strafford on his way to Execution' and 'Cromwell and Charles I'. Displayed alongside, are Delaroche's preparatory drawings for Lady Jane, and comparative paintings and prints by his contemporaries, including Eugene Lami, Claude Jacquand and François-Marius Granet. In post-revolutionary France, artists began to combine monarchist sympathies with a Romantic interest in English literature and history, and like many of his peers, Delaroche was preoccupied with the themes of usurpation and martyrdom. The exhibition also considers Delaroche's historical paintings in light of his close relationship with the theatre. From the 1820s, there was an increasing tendency in French theatre to draw on pictorial forms, and for plays to be divided into so-called 'tableaux' as well as acts. This had a profound influence on Delaroche, who was also keenly receptive to the spatial possibilities offered by stage craft. Meanwhile, his work lent itself to dramatic recreation, and on several occasions, his paintings were represented on the stage.

A Masterpiece Recovered: Delaroche's Charles I Insulted, an accompanying exhibit, is Delaroche's recently recovered monumental painting 'Charles I Insulted by Cromwell's Soldiers', on display for the first time in recent history. The work was damaged by shrapnel during the Blitz, after which it was rolled up and evacuated to Scotland, where it has remained in storage. Presently in the process of conservation, the painting retains its war wounds, but Delaroche's scene remains entirely legible and has lost none of its emotive intensity.

National Gallery until 23rd May.