News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 21st October 2009


Maharaja: The Splendour Of India's Royal Courts is the first exhibition to comprehensively explore the world of the maharajas or 'great kings' and their rich culture. It spans the period from the beginning of the 18th century to the middle of the 20th century, bringing together over 250 magnificent objects, many being lent from India's royal collections for the first time. The exhibition examines the changing role of the maharajas within a social and historical context, and reveals how their patronage of the arts, both in India and Europe, resulted in splendid and beautiful objects symbolic of royal status, power and identity. Highlights include a life size model elephant adorned with animal jewellery, textiles, and trappings, surmounted by a silver gilt howdah; court paintings, including four portraits from the 1930s by Bernard Boutet de Monvel, depicting the Maharaja and Maharani of Indore; three gaddi (thrones) including the golden throne of Ranjit Singh; a palanquin from Jodhpur, used to carry the Maharaja's wife, containing prints and cushions; photographic portraits of members of royal families by Man Ray, Cecil Beaton and Raja Ravi Varma; gem-encrusted ceremonial weapons; armour belonging to Tipu Sultan of Mysore; elaborate turban jewels; a custom made Rolls Royce; an Anglo-Indian design Spode dinner service; rare archive film of ceremonial events; a carpet of pearls, rubies, emeralds and diamonds made for the Maharaja of Baroda; and the Patiala necklace, the largest commission ever undertaken by Cartier, containing 2,930 diamonds. Victoria & Albert Museum until 17th January.

Living With The Wall: Berlin 1961 - 1989 marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, built by the Communist East German authorities to stop its population fleeing to freedom in the West. The Wall stretched 155 kilometres, slicing through private homes, shops, farms and the city's transport systems. The exhibition of photographs, many of which are on display for the first time, chart the evolution of the Wall from primitive barbed wire barricade to modern fortification - and artist's inspiration. It includes images captured by German photojournalists illustrating the impact on the people of Berlin, as families were separated, or sought to escape the restrictions imposed on them; together with photographs taken by British Army photographers, documenting the confrontation between the East and the West, together with the day when they were reunited, crystallised by the image of a solitary child chipping away at the Wall with a chisel. In addition to the photographs, there are a number of accompanying items, including a checkpoint sign signalling the end of the British zone; an Eastern block Trabant car; what is believed to be the only survivor of 302 searchlights mounted on watchtowers along the Wall; an East German riot shield and visor; and a piece of the Wall itself. Imperial War Museum North, Manchester, until 21st March.

Order: Myth, Meaning And Beauty In Architecture examines what the Classical Orders of architecture are, where they originated, why classical architects built according to them, and why they are still referred to by architects today. The exhibition further explores how a building can have a 'secret' language of meaning in the way it is decorated - and even a gender. Drawing on some of the 30,000 drawings held in the resident collection, the show reveals how the human body and the natural world were the inspiration for architectural forms, and how the Classical Orders allowed architects to communicate a variety of political and religious messages in their buildings. Highlights include some of Sir John Soane's large scale lecture drawings, which are on public display for the first time in nearly 200 years. Sir John Soane Museum, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, until 30th January.


The Ceramics Galleries have been given a 100th birthday refurbishment designed by Stanton Williams. These galleries tell the story of world ceramics, with 3,000 objects on display, from the earliest Chinese pottery to contemporary ceramic art. They now include an introductory room, presenting a world history of ceramics, highlighting connections between ceramics of different cultures and periods. The central gallery shows masterpieces dating back as far as 2,500 BC, with highlights including a drinking cup from Ancient Greece; Ming dynasty Chinese porcelain; 14th century pottery from Spain; a Chinese inspired blue and white bowl made in 16th century Turkey; Meissen figures; Dutch Delftware ordered by Queen Mary for Hampton Court Palace; colourful painted Japanese porcelain imported to Europe by the Dutch East India Company; tea bowls rescued from an 18th century Chinese shipwreck; and a vase painted by Picasso in the 1950s, depicting himself with his model. For the first time, there is an area exploring ceramic production, incorporating a workshop, where techniques are demonstrated, and visitors can make, decorate and fire ceramics. A part reconstruction of the studio of Dame Lucie Rie, one of the greatest 20th century potters, includes film showing her at work. A gallery featuring British designers includes work by Susie Cooper, Clarice Cliff and the Wedgewood studio. The refurbishment has revealed a beautiful domed ceiling, around which artist Edmund de Waal has created a site specific installation entitled 'Signs and Wonders'. Victoria & Albert Museum continuing.

Fantasies, Follies And Disasters: The Prints Of Francisco De Goya provides an opportunity to see a selection of the artist's rarely displayed etchings. The 30 prints are selected from Goya's three best known and most significant groups of etchings: 'Los Caprichos (The Fantasies)',' Los Desastres della Guerra (The Disasters of War)', and 'Los Disparates (The Follies)'. Goya's etchings, produced largely in private, feature a mixture of satirical caricatures attacking the ignorance and hypocrisy of late 18th century Spanish society and the Church, and dark, nightmarish landscapes exposing the atrocities and misery suffered in war. Only fully known after his death, many of the works were withheld from publication during his lifetime because of their controversial and disturbing qualities. Now, Goya is as well known for these works, as he is for his portraits of Europe's 18th century nobility. The exhibition includes some of Goya's most memorable images, such as the iconic 'The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters', with a sleeping artist visited by the terrifying creatures of his imagination. Elsewhere, the war subjects withhold nothing in their horrified depiction of violence, torture and famine: a woman holds a child in one arm while she spears a soldier with the other; and a scene shows bodies strung up from a tree. Goya's later, final etchings are perhaps the most memorable of all, transforming some of his earlier themes into a timeless, dreamlike world, which anticipates much of 20th century art. Manchester Art Gallery until 31st January.

Beatles To Bowie explores the leading pop music personalities who helped to create 'Swinging London' in the 1960s. Over 150 photographs, together with 150 items of ephemera, including record sleeves, illustrated sheet music, magazines and other memorabilia, illustrate how the photographic image, music and performance combined to make these pop stars the leading icons of their time. The exhibition includes classic images, as well as over 100 previously unseen or unexhibited ones. Huge cultural and social changes were reflected in the styles and imagery of the pop music scene. The classic rivalry between The Beatles and The Rolling Stones is played out visually by a variety of photographers, such as David Bailey, Gered Mankowitz and Robert Whitaker, who helped create and endorse their changing images. From pure pop, through psychedelia, and the birth of progressive music, the exhibition reflects the dramatic developments of pop music and culture, and their lasting impact that continues to live in the memory today. Sitters include Adam Faith, Cliff Richard and the Shadows, Billy Fury, The John Barry Seven, The Dave Clark Five, Sandie Shaw, Petula Clark, Cilla Black, Lulu, Marianne Faithfull, Gerry and The Pacemakers, The Kinks, The Tornados, Jimi Hendrix, The Walker Brothers, The Animals, The Who, Marc Bolan, Pink Floyd and David Bowie. Photographers include Fiona Adams, Philip Townsend, Jean-Marie Perier, Michael Cooper, Cecil Beaton, Angus McBean, Terry O'Neill, Don McCullin, Tony Frank and Norman Parkinson. National Portrait Gallery until 24th January.

Pop Life: Art In A Material World takes Andy Warhol's notorious statement that "good business is the best art" as a starting point to examine the legacy of Pop Art. The exhibition looks at the various ways that artists since the 1980s have engaged with mass media and cultivated artistic personas creating their own signature 'brands'. It reveals how they have harnessed the power of the celebrity system, to expand their reach beyond the art world, and into the wider world of commerce, by exploiting channels that engage audiences both inside and outside the gallery. Perpetrators represented include Tracey Emin, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Martin Kippenberger, Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami and Richard Prince. The show begins with a look at Warhol's late work, and his related initiatives as a television personality, paparazzo, and publishing impresario, including his controversial series 'the Retrospectives or Reversals'. Reprising his celebrated Pop icons from the 1960s, in a manner deemed cynical, the Retrospectives look ahead to installations by a number of artists including Martin Kippenberger and Tracey Emin, who overtly engage the self-mythologizing impulse manipulating their personas as a medium, like silkscreen or paint. The exhibition includes reconstructions of Keith Haring's 'Pop Shop' and Jeff Koons's 'Made in Heaven'. A gallery featuring the 'Young British Artists' focuses on their early performative exploits, including ephemera from Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas's shop in Bethnal Green; Gavin Turk's 'Pop 1993'; and works representing Damien Hirst's recent Sotheby's auction, 'Beautiful Inside My Head Forever', plus a recreation of Hirst's performance piece with identical twins sitting beneath two identical spot paintings for the duration of the exhibition. Tate Modern until 17th January.

The Artist's Studio offers an opportunity to go behind the scenes and explore the studios of some of the most prominent British artists of the last 200 years. Through paintings, photographs, drawings, film, etchings, books, manuscripts and studio furniture, the exhibition explores the changing function and depiction of the artist's studio from the 1700s to the present day, spanning not just Britain, but Renaissance Italy, 17th century Holland, and 19th century France. The exhibition reflects the studio variously as display space, a sociable bohemian living space or garret, and as a private space for reflection and creation. Works by artists including Pieter Tillmans, R P Bonnington, JMW Turner, Thomas Rowlandson, George Morland, Edward Burne-Jones, Lord Leighton, W P Frith, and Ricketts and Shannon, offer personal and theoretical notions of how the studio has been perceived. From the 20th century there are works by Mark Gertler, Jack B Yeates, William Orpen, Gwen John, William Coldstream and Rodrigo Moynihan. Contemporary artists represented include Paula Rego, David Hockney, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst and Lucian Freud. There are photographs, both historical and modern by Bruce Bernard, David Dawson, Antony Snowdon, George Lewinski and Gautier Deblonde, plus a specially commissioned film documenting artists in their studios. Compton Verney, Warwickshire, until 13th December.

HQ At 100: One Century, Hundreds Of Moments celebrates the centenary of Twickenham Stadium, which, when it was built, was considered a 'boggy market garden', and far too far from London. 100 years later, Twickenham is a state of the art stadium in the London borough of Twickenham, which welcomes 80,000 rugby fans on match days. The exhibition focuses on the development of rugby over the last century, with great games and players remembered through photographs and memorabilia. Highlights include materials relating to England's golden period in the 1920s, when the team won 4 grand slams. There is a look at changes in the stadium's structure, from early spectators watching from mounds (and even perched on branches of surrounding trees) to the sophisticated stands of today. The display also considers the stadium's use in wartime, as grazing for horses during the First World War, and as a potential decontamination plant in case of a gas attack in the Second World War. Twickenham World Rugby Museum, Twickenham, Middlesex, until 4th April.


Wallace & Gromit Present…A World Of Cracking Ideas is an interactive experience telling the story of invention and innovation. Britain's best known inventor (and his equally resourceful companion) guide visitors through a world of innovation to discover how simple ideas can transform into life changing devices. Created in collaboration with Aardman Animations and the Intellectual Property Office, the exhibition is designed to inspire a new generation of British innovators. Visitors go on a tour through 62 West Wallaby Street, the famous home of Wallace & Gromit, from the kitchen to the garden shed, taking in some of Britain's first ever real inventions to be awarded patents, alongside Wallace's own 'cracking contraptions' such as the Tellyscope, the Piella Propellor, Techno-trousers and the Blend-o-matic. Each room in the house looks at a different aspect of the thinking process behind ideas, and shows visitors how they can protect their intellectual property through patents, trademarks, designs and copyright, ensuring that they derive maximum value from their inventions. Visitors inspired by the exhibition can come up with their own creative ideas, which they can jot down and leave at 'Ideas Stations' located in the Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen, Bathroom, Workshop and Garden. Visitors' ideas will also be used to power Wallace's new 3m high contraption called The Thinking Cap Machine. The Science Museum until 1st November.

Da Vinci Inventions: Leonardo And His Machines explores in detail Leonardo Da Vinci's relationship with technology. The exhibition consists of almost 50 full scale, half scale and smaller interactive models of machines for flight, engineering and motion designed by Leonardo. These models have been created over a 10 year period by a team of Italian artisans working in Rome, who have collaborated with historians and academics to construct the machines based on a close study of Leonardo's notebooks and drawings, utilising only materials and techniques known in Renaissance Italy. The challenges they faced included having to understand Florentine dialect, the interpretation and analysis of Leonardo's drawings, reading mirrored writing to decipher his notes, and recognising the mistakes in his drawings and information deliberately put in to mislead. The models are shown alongside the drawings on which they are based, one of Leonado's original notebooks, known as a codex, and a display charting his life and career. Among the models on display are: The Autotraction Car, an articulation crossbow mechanism for propulsion; The Flying Machine, a dynamic device that uses all the parts of the body for its propulsion; and The Tank, an example of Leonardo's genius as a military engineer. The Lightbox, Woking, until 1st November.

Sound Designs: The Story Of Boosey & Hawkes illustrates the important contribution that the instrument maker Boosey & Hawkes and their employees made to the shaping of playing styles, the development of the brass band tradition and the sound of British orchestras. At one time, the huge Boosey & Hawkes factory in Edgware employed 700 people, who produced 1,000 musical instruments each week. The museum was able to acquire the prestigious Boosey & Hawkes collection of historic instruments and archives chronicling over 150 years of instrument making when the factory ceased production in 2001. Over 100 items, including fascinating drawings and photographs of musical instruments, instrument production records, stock books, minute books and tools, provide an insight into the manufacturing techniques and technical innovations that established Boosey & Hawkes as the premier British instrument manufacturer. Highlights of the exhibition include an engraved glass flute from 1816, a silver trumpet belonging to Queen Victoria's head trumpeter, and early designs of instruments that were the foundation of the British Brass Band tradition. Horniman Museum, Forest Hill, London SE23, until 1st November.