News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 19th November 2003


Thomas Jones In Italy features the work of one of the most innovative, yet least known British artists from the second half of the 18th century. Jones small oil-sketches, painted during travels around Italy in the 1770s and 1780s, are masterpieces of observation and concision, while his 'Memoirs' are the most complete and compelling records of an artist's life at the time. Neither were known until about 50 years ago, when their rediscovery led to the recognition that a major artist had been all but forgotten. This exhibition includes 70 informal oil-sketches, drawings and watercolours, painted in Rome and Naples, and the surrounding countryside. Jones speciality was architectural landscapes, or to be precise the depiction of walls - the more decrepit the better - and thus he was in his element in southern Italy. Although the sketches were made as records of locations, to be incorporated in later paintings created in his studio back in England, the acuteness of their observation and their freshness make them works of art in their own right. Among those included here is 'A Wall in Naples' of about 1782, recognised as a masterpiece of the oil-sketch tradition. National Gallery until 15th February.

Dan Dare: Pilot Of The Future / Destination Mars is a double bill of exhibitions, allowing interplanetary fiction to meet fact, in examining the possibilities of space exploration. The first exhibition documents the adventures of Dan Dare and his crew from the Interplanet Spacefleet, travelling to asteroids and beyond, battling with aliens, and fending off global disasters. Originally conceived by Marcus Morris as a sky pilot (or interplanetary Vicar), and created by Frank Hampson, the 1950s Eagle comic strip featured many scientific ideas that later became reality, such as the space shuttle, and how the mechanics of space suits work. This is the largest exhibition of Dan Dare material yet assembled, with artwork, memorabilia and merchandise, and a wide range of artefacts and items used in their creation, displayed in a mock-up of the original artist's studio in Epsom. The story of the British Space Programme from 1955 to 1971 provides a link between Dan Dare and the modern exploration of Mars in the second exhibition. Using interactive displays, the latest scientific knowledge of Red planet and its history is revealed, including a simulation of a survey mission across its surface, and an assessment of whether it could support life. Museum Of Science & Industry In Manchester until 18th January.

History Of Modern Design In The Home traces the development of domestic design - both the spaces people live in, and the objects they surround themselves with - from the late 19th to early 21st centuries. It tells the stories behind landmarks in modern design that have transformed our homes and the way we use them. There is a series of living rooms, ranging from the elegance of a Bauhaus Master's House in 1920s Germany, through a prefabricated house built by Charles and Ray Eames in Los Angeles in the late 1940s, and one of Verner Panton's pop-inspired 1960s dining rooms, to a contemporary live-work space specially designed by the Bouroullec brothers. The show examines how advances in technology and the introduction of new 'shapeable' materials, such as plywood and plastic, were exploited, and how fashion has become a major influence in the home. As well as reconstructing the iconic interiors that influenced design in particular decades, the exhibition deconstructs the design and development of influential objects. These include the bentwood furniture with which the Austrian manufacturer Thonet pioneered mass production in the late 19th century; the introduction of the first Penguin paperback book and early Anglepoise lamp in the 1930s; and recent innovations such as Apple's Powerbook computer and iPod player. Design Museum until September.


Architecture Unshackled: George Dance The Younger 1741-1825 reveals the range and variety of work by a man hailed as 'the most complete poet-architect of his day'. George Dance produced many groundbreaking designs for both public and private buildings. In his exteriors, as well as pioneering neoclassicism, he was the first European to introduce Indian proportions and elements into a design in Britain. Dance's interiors were equally revolutionary, with his use of domed and 'star-fish' vaulted ceilings, and his interest in invisible light sources. Among his public commissions in London featured here are the church of All Hallows, London Wall; Newgate Gaol, with its forbidding exterior pierced by a doorway over-hung with iron shackles; and the south front of the Guildhall. Of Dance's private house commissions, there are the library at Landsdowne House, Berkeley Square, and country houses at Stratton Park in Hampshire, Coleorton in Leicestershire and Ashburnham in Sussex, all of which contained startlingly new ideas. The exhibition also features Dance's extraordinary, unexecuted project for redeveloping the Port of London, at the heart of which was a double bridge spanning the Thames. Dance exerted a profound influence on the work of his one time pupil John Soane, who acquired his portfolio of plans, drawings and renderings, which form this display, in 1836. Sir John Soane's Museum until 3rd January.

Artworks For All is unique opportunity to see the original artworks used for iconic London Transport posters for the first time. Colourful pictorial posters to encourage travel by bus, tram and underground have appeared regularly since the early 1900s. In 1908 Frank Pick was put in charge of the Underground Group's publicity, and he commissioned work from both young and established artists, who were given a title and subject, but complete freedom of expression as to how they interpreted them. By the 1920s the Underground was producing more than 40 pictorial posters a year. The scale of this output turned every station into a gallery, bringing the latest graphic art styles to a huge popular audience. No other single organisation in the world has matched this high quality creative use of commercial art before or since. The exhibition features artworks by many artists and designers, including Edward McKnight Kauffer, John Bellany, Howard Hodgkin and Abram Games. The works are executed in a surprisingly wide range of media, including oil, gouache, collage and even mosaic. They offer a reflection of their times, not only in how they see London, but also in the style of their creation. The museum's core collection includes over 7,000 posters. London Transport Museum until 4th January.

It's A Great Night Out! The Making Of The West End 1843-2010 celebrates the development of London's Theatreland, and the fires, murders, paranormal happenings (and plays) that have taken place in these fine buildings. It tells the story of how the West End came to have over 40 theatres within a 2 mile radius - the largest concentration of performing arts venues in the world. The exhibition comprises playbills, models, posters, props, films, letters, memorabilia and behind the scenes images, combined with an atmospheric soundtrack, including Music Hall and musical theatre songs. It chronicles the commercial theatre's continual efforts to juggle the competing claims of artistic demands, changing tastes, audience enjoyment and financial survival. Although the first playhouse opened on Drury Lane in 1663, most existing theatres were built around a century ago, in a world of very different audience demands - of both entertainment and comfort - from today. The exhibition features pictures from Scene / Unseen, a book of photographs by Derek Kendall, recently published by English Heritage, offering glimpses of those parts of the theatre world not normally seen by the public, including rehearsal spaces, dressing rooms, backstage areas and (inevitably) a royal toilet. The Theatre Museum until October.

Turner's Britain shows how J.M.W.Turner recorded his travels around Britain during a time of exceptional change and upheaval - the Industrial Revolution. Turner journeyed by foot, horseback, stagecoach and riverboat, sketching the rural market towns, developing industrial cities and lonely landscapes of Wales, northern England and Scotland. Through Turner's eyes Britain's past is celebrated in the looming forms of ancient castles and churches, as well as in the picturesque jumble of shops and thoroughfares. In contrast, he also captures its present, in steam trains, canals, soldiery and industrial workings, as the country developed into the first industrial world power. 'The Fighting Temeraire', depicting the wooden sailing ship from the Battle of Trafalgar being towed to a breaker's yard by a tug, as sail gave way to iron steam ships, epitomises the period of change. The Midlands was at the heart of the Industrial Revolution, and Turner made several sketching tours through the region, where he documented the growth and transformation of towns like Wolverhampton and Dudley. His 'Birmingham and Coventry' and 'Kenilworth' sketchbooks form part of over 130 paintings, drawings, watercolours and engravings that make up the show. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery until 8th February.

Heath Robinson showcases the work of William Heath Robinson "The Gadget King" who is most widely remembered for his humorous drawings and illustrations. Although his ambition was to become a landscape painter, to earn a living he turned to book illustration, where he rapidly established a reputation. His visual interpretations for poetry by Poe and Kipling, Andersen's Fairy Tales, A Midsummer Night's Dream, de la Mare's Peacock Pie, The Water Babies and Perrault's Fairy Tales, saw him ranked alongside Rackham and Dulac, achieving classic status around the world. In addition, Heath Robinson also wrote and illustrated his own children's books, The Adventures of Uncle Lubin and Bill the Minder. He was among the first generation of artists whose work could be translated straight to the page (without the intervention of an engraver) and, like Beardsley and his other contemporaries, Heath Robinson took full advantage of the possibilities this presented. However, it is in his drawings of ramshackle inventions, through which he satirised human frailties and pretensions, that his legacy lies, contributing 'Heath Robinson' to the English language as an expression to describe such creations. This exhibition offers the chance to see over a hundred original drawings, prints and paintings from the collection of The William Heath Robinson Trust. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 18th January.

Women And War examines women's involvement in conflict in the 20th century, charting their changing roles from home front to front line. It tells the story of servicewomen, nurses, land girls, factory workers, secret agents, pilots and peacekeepers from the First World War to the recent conflict in the Balkans. The breadth of scope is demonstrated by highlights such as: the pistol carried by Sergeant Major Flora Sandes in Serbia during the First World War; a diary kept by Nurse Edith Cavell, who was executed for espionage in 1915; a camisole worn by a survivor of the sinking of the Lusitania; Marlene Dietrich's Second World War uniform; Amy Johnson's flying tunic; a camera used by war photographer Lee Miller; the George Cross posthumously awarded to the secret agent Violette Szabo; and the wedding dress worn by a prisoner who married the British soldier who liberated her from the Belsen concentration camp - plus of course, the famous 'Rosie The Riveter' and other war time posters. An accompanying audio programme enables visitors to listen to women describing their experiences in letters, diaries and tape recorded reminiscences, ranging from a nurse on the Western Front to a widow in present day Rwanda. Imperial War Museum until 18th April.


Passion For Prams celebrates the craft of Silver Cross, the Yorkshire based company which has been hand making traditional coach built baby carriages since 1877. With a history of making prams for the Royal Family (and more recently tawdry celebrity royal couples), Silver Cross, dubbed the "Bentley For Babies", is Britain's last remaining traditional pram builder. In a time when most children are prepared for future school runs in a four wheel drive vehicle, by being transported in an 'off road' buggy (which has just a hint of the mid life crisis Harley Davidson to come) this is a welcome salute to the fine tradition behind the symbol of many British childhoods. The exhibition features many old and new models, including: The Silver Cross Fleur de Lis, The Silver Cross Balmoral, and The 1958 Greta toy pram; plus the Silver Cross archive, with an illustrated history of the company; and 'From Factory To Shop Floor' - a display explaining how the prams are crafted. Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green until 4th December.

Hidden Art: Open Studios is the tenth anniversary of Europe's largest open studios event, an annual tradition for visitors wanting to buy or commission work direct from leading designer-makers. Fifty studio spaces and workshops, where contemporary textiles, furniture, jewellery, lighting, ceramics, glass and accessories are made locally by skilled designer-makers, are turned into public spaces for two weekends only. Over 160 designers are involved, from established names like Ella Doran (photographic imagery reproduced on coasters and trays), Kate Malone (ceramics inspired by land and sea), and Dominic Crinson (digital patterns on surfaces from carpets to Formica), to first timers such as Tine Bladbjerg (sculpted silver and gold jewellery), Ayumi Suzuki (fashion and accessories), Kirstin James (hand felted merino wool hats), and Helen Rawlinson (contemporary lighting). In addition, on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd November, the Hidden Art Design Fair in Mile End Park's Arts and Ecology Pavilions gathers together the best in contemporary design. Free narrow boat trips run along the Regent's Canal between Broadway Market and the Arts Pavillion. Each one way trip lasts approximately 45 minutes, and there is a guide on board giving details on the area. Further information can be found on the Hidden Art web site via the link opposite. Venues across East London 22nd-23rd November and 29th-30th November.

London 1753 is part of the British Museum's 250th birthday celebrations, aiming to create a picture of London at the time of its foundation, when London was the largest city in the western world - containing 11% of the British population. The display of over 300 objects is arranged in sections corresponding to five London areas: the City, the River, Covent Garden and Bloomsbury, Westminster, St James's and Mayfair, and shows the extremes of wealth and poverty that existed side by side. It includes both London wide vistas, and miniatures of real life in the city, from fashionable society and cultural events to the gin houses and the gallows, in watercolours by Paul and Thomas Sandby, drawings and prints by William Hogarth, engravings by Charles Mosley, and drawings by Canaletto. On a more personal note, there are portraits of aristocrats, artists and tradesmen, by John Faber, James Macardall and William Hoare, together with their actual watches, jewellery, fans, medals and coins. There are even the precise objects on an actual mantelpiece as depicted in Hogarth's painting Marriage A-la Mode II. Curiosities include shop signs, Spitalfields silk, spurs for fighting cocks, a first edition of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language, John Roque's 1747 map which takes up 72 square feet of the gallery wall, and Hogarth's gold admission ticket to Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. British Museum until 23rd November.