News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 21st November 2007


London Transport Museum is reopening after a two year, £22m refurbishment, redesign and extension project, introducing a new upper level. This has seen hundreds of objects from cap badges to a steam locomotive removed to storage, while the building was conserved and redeveloped, and then returned, along with 1,000 additional objects. The new galleries tell the story of the development of London, its transport systems, and the people who travelled and worked on them, over the last 200 years. All modes of transport are now covered - walking, cycling, taxis and river transport as well as buses, trams and the underground. The displays also feature original artworks and advertising posters, and explore the extraordinary design heritage of London's transport system, as well as London transport at war, and the expansion of the capital during the 20th century through the development of the underground. In addition to exploring the past, the new displays also look at future transport developments and how transport has shaped five other world cities: Delhi, New York, Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Museum Sketchbook: The Watercolours And Sketches Of Bruce Rowling documents the refurbishment process through the eyes of artist Bruce Rowling, with his sketchbooks and watercolours describing in detail the week to week activities, as the museum was dismantled, rebuilt and then reassembled, supplemented by finds from archaeological investigations, photographs and video.

London Transport Museum, Covent Garden, continuing.

Hand, Heart and Soul: The Arts And Craft Movement In Scotland looks at developments in art, architecture and design across Scotland between 1880 and 1939. It examines how Arts and Crafts artist-designers changed perceptions about the place of art in Scottish society. Hand, Heart and Soul refers to the three characteristics of the movement. The Hand is that of the designer of maker in an age of increasing mechanisation. The Heart is a reference to the commitment the practitioners showed to their art and to the wider needs of society. The Soul is a reference to the commonly held sense of Celtic identity and tradition. Through the furnishing of public buildings, exhibitions, church craft and home design, it aimed to restore beauty to everyday experience. This found expression in such diverse fields as furniture, textiles, jewellery and metalwork, glass, ceramics, sculpture, paintings, mural decoration and architectural design and crafts. Exhibits include Charles Rennie Mackintosh's stained glass window design for the Glasgow School of Art, depicting a scene from the story of Tristan and Isolde; Phoebe Anna Traquair's embroidered triptych 'The Savoir of Mankind'; a gold and enamel cup set with amethysts by Helena Mary Ibbotson; Francis Henry Newbery's painting 'Daydreams', which unusually depicts a contemporary female figure; a richly decorated plate and dish by Elizabeth Amour Watson's Bough Studio; and videos and photographs of buildings, such as Skirling House, designed by Ramsey Traquair, and Mackintosh's Hill House in Helensburgh. Millennium Galleries, Sheffield until 20th January.

Walter Sickert: The Camden Town Nudes features paintings of the female nude produced by Walter Sickert in and around Camden Town between 1905 and 1912, which are among his most significant contributions to 20th century British art. The exhibition brings together over 25 of the artist's finest canvases and related drawings, to provide the first major account of his reinvention of the nude as a subject for modern painting. It explores the ways in which Sickert developed an uncompromisingly realist approach to the nude, in order to address major social and artistic concerns of the early 20th century. Rather than the familiar treatment of the unclothed figure as an abstracted ideal of beauty, Sickert's nudes appeared to be naked women in real contemporary settings. His four famously enigmatic Camden Town Murder paintings are brought together for the first time, as the most powerful expression of his fascination with the darker aspects of urban life in Edwardian London. They are accompanied by a selection of working drawings for these paintings that reveal Sickert's remarkable practice of exploring different narrative possibilities before arriving at the final image. Other highlights include 'La Hollandaise', 'The Iron Bedstead', 'Mornington Crescent Nude' and 'The Studio: The Painting of a Nude' in which his studio is the subject of the work itself, with his own arm shown cutting across the foreground of the composition, caught in the act of painting. The Courtauld Gallery, London until 20th January.


Tutankhamun And The Golden Age Of The Pharaohs see the return of treasures from the 3,000 year old tombs in Valley of The Kings in Egypt for the first time since 1977 at the British Museum, Britain's first blockbuster show. The new exhibition, twice the size of earlier one, includes some 130 treasures from the royal burial chambers, many of which have never before travelled outside Egypt, although the famous gold and blue mask is not among them. There are however, many splendid artefacts, including Tutankhamun's golden diadem, the gold crown that encircled the head of his mummified body; the gold and precious stone inlaid canopic coffinettes that contained his internal organs; a golden statue of Duamutef, responsible for protecting the mummified body; an inscribed ivory game board for 'senet', associated with life and the afterlife; a gold ceremonial dagger and sheath found in the mummy wrappings to protect him during his journey to 'The Fields of the Blessed'; a blue glass headrest, inscribed with a protective spell; some of the 365 gilded and painted wood Shabiti workman figures (one for every day of the year) placed at the king's bidding; together with Tutankhamun's child-sized ebony, ivory, and gold throne; and gold coffins and funerary masks and objects belonging to other Pharaohs. A special section of the exhibition explores the mystery of Tutankhamun's death, using CT scanning technology, and a life-sized bust, made using data from these scans, allows visitors see the face of the young Pharaoh for the first time. The Bubble at The O2, Peninsula Square, London SE10, until 30th August.

Back To The Future: Sir Basil Spence 1907 - 1976 is a retrospective of the eclectic career of the architect who, in the post Second World War building boom alone, designed a nuclear power station, an airport, the first of the 'new' universities and a cathedral, amongst many other projects - all of which looked forward to their users' future needs. The exhibition comprises over 200 works, with materials from the Spence archive, many never previously seen by the public. The show features a wide selection of original drawings, sketch books, designs and models, together with samples of materials and artefacts recovered from the projects, as well as period films showing the buildings in their original condition, giving a complete picture of Spence's design process. Among the projects featured are the university of Sussex in Brighton; the Household Cavalry Barracks in Knightsbridge; the extension to the parliament building in Wellington, New Zealand; pavilions at the Empire Exhibition in Glasgow 1938 and Expo 67 in Montreal, Canada; individual country houses together with landmark housing schemes in the Gorbals in Glasgow and Canongate in Edinburgh; libraries at the University of Edinburgh and Swiss Cottage in London; and Coventry Cathedral, with related artworks by Jacob Epstein, John Piper and Graham Sutherland. Dean Gallery, Edinburgh until 10th February.

The Painting Of Modern Life is the first major survey exploring the use and translation of photographic imagery, one of the most influential developments in the last 50 years of contemporary painting. The exhibition comprises some 100 paintings by 22 artists, displayed chronologically. Beginning in the 1960s, when artists such as Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter and Richard Artschweger began making paintings that translated photographic images taken from newspapers, advertisements and snapshots, it shows how photography has influenced not just the content, but also the technique of painting. The widespread use of monochrome by painters such as Vija Celmins and Luc Tuymans, Richter's use of a wet brush to 'blur' paintings and his meticulous reproduction of a flashbulb light, and snapshot like white boarders framing the works of Richard Hamilton and Malcolm Morley, all deliberately alluded to photography, while David Hockney and Franz Gertsch drew on their own photographs. Highlights include: Andy Warhol's 'Race Riot' and Big Electric Chair'; Gerhard Richter's grieving Jackie Kennedy in 'Woman with Umbrella'; David Hockney's portrait of Ossie Clarke and Peter Schlesinger, 'Le Park des Sources, Vichy'; Richard Hamilton's 'Swingeing London', with Mick Jagger under arrest for drugs possession; Elizabeth Peyton's 'new royalty' in 'Mendips' and 'Arsenal, (Prince Harry)'; and Peter Doig's 'Lapeyrouse Wall' painted from a camera phone image. Hayward Gallery until 30th December.

Renaissance Siena: Art For A City presents a different angle on Italian Renaissance painting and sculpture, viewing it in the artistic, cultural and political contexts of the last century of the Sienese Republic. The exhibition brings together around 100 objects, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, manuscripts and ceramics, covering a period from about 1460 to 1530. It demonstrates the distinct qualities of Sienese painting, drawing and sculpture, adding up to an elegant, expressive and visionary style of art, formed during a period of power shifts within the city itself. Because their work did not fit comfortably into Florentine inspired ideas of what the Renaissance should look like, even the greatest Sienese artists of this period, such as Francesco di Giorgio, Domenico Beccafumi, Benvenuto di Giovanni, Matteo di Giovanni, Luca Signorelli, Neroccio de' Landi and Pintoricchio, remained little known outside the Republic. Here they are revealed to be very much the equals of the Florentines. Highlights include Matteo di Giovanni's 'Assumption' altarpiece from the Asciano, with all three parts reunited for the first time in centuries; Di Giorgio's sculpture 'Male Nude with a Snake' (Aesculapius, the god of medicine) and painting 'Saint Dorothy and the Infant Christ'; a series of ancient heroes and heroines originally painted for a noble marriage by all the leading painters of the 1490s, brought together again from all over the world; and a group of works by Beccafumi, which originally hung in a palace bedchamber of one of Siena's leading citizens, reunited for the first time since 1600. National Gallery until 17th February.

Crime Scene Edinburgh: 20 Years Of Rankin And Rebus looks at the history of John Rebus, the fictional detective, and his author Ian Rankin, following the publication of the final novel in the series. The exhibition explores Ian Rankin's development as a writer and his process of writing; the character arc of John Rebus; the key part that the city of Edinburgh has played in the books; the various factors that have made the Rebus stories such a success; how police procedures and forensic science have changed over the past two decades; and in addition, the history of the Lothian and Borders Police. Among the diverse exhibits are Ian Rankin's first scribbled notes on the character (made in the library itself), his old computer, the manuscript of the first Rebus novel; manuscripts of works by other writers who have used Edinburgh as an integral part of their novels, from Sir Walter Scott, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to James Hogg; copies of Rankin's favorite and inspirational books; audio clips of Rankin reading from his work - and of his abortive punk band the Flying Pigs; the mysterious miniature coffins from the National Museum of Scotland that inspired a Rebus book; a recreation of Rebus's 'home turf', the Oxford Bar; excerpts from the recent Rebus television series; and assorted police memorabilia, including the death mask of William Burke (of grave-robbers Burke and Hare fame). Visitors can also put their own detective skills to the test in solving a murder mystery. National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 13th January.

Weapons Of Mass Communication: War Posters explores the relationship between advertising, publicity and government propaganda and policy, from the First World War onwards. The exhibition examines how the greatest designers and advertisers of the day tried to influence the wills of soldier and civilian alike. In the early part of the 20th century, the best posters were always striking, memorable, direct and often beautiful, but they served to carry the most potent of government messages. By the latter part of the 20th century, the poster had become a significant tool of protest and counter-culture, with shocking and sometimes satirical protest posters used by Peace, anti-Nuclear and anti-Vietnam campaigners. The exhibition includes some 300 works, from the iconic images of Alfred Leete's Lord Kitchener recruitment poster, and Savile Lumley's 'Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?', and previously unseen works by pioneering German graphic artists such as Julius Gipkens, Ludwig Hohlwein and Abel Faivre, through Spanish Civil War posters by artists Pedrero and Josep Renau, and the different approaches and themes adopted by each of the allies and Germany during the Second World War, to landmark protest works, such as 'Stop Nuclear Suicide' by FHK Henrion and Peter Kennard's 'No Cruise Missiles Here', and the influential, contemporary graphics of Leon Kuhn and David Gentleman. Imperial War Museum until 30th March.


Laura Ford: Rag And Bone is a newly created group of sculptures inspired by characters from the stories of Beatrix Potter. Ford creates installations that are both magical and macabre, working with a variety of materials, from fabric and other found objects, to more traditional materials such as plaster and bronze. She stitches lifesize children from materials often regard as homely, like chintz or gingham, but they have no faces, and she often adds a further disturbing twist by deforming them. Similarly, duvets become hunchbacked old women, and sleeping bags become shuffling tramps. Thus the works here, childlike and playful, belie more serious issues as the figures stand out in the cold, homeless and hungry. Some of Potter's best known characters are set to surprise: Badger is searching through the dustbin for food, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, the hedgehog, is a bag lady, pushing a laden pram overflowing with all her belongings, Tod, the fox, wrapped in blankets, is a reminder of the homeless sleeping in city streets. The sculptures comment on the parallel worlds that exist in towns and cities, the sanitised spaces of consumerism, and the homeless and disenfranchised who often exist on their margins. By casting characters from Edwardian children's tales in contemporary urban situations, Ford asks questions about a throwaway culture, while the sentimentality of Potter's original stories is given a far darker undercurrent. Turner Contemporary Gallery, Margate until 2nd December.

Making History: Antiquaries In Britain 1707 - 2007 explores the work and achievements of the Fellowship of the Society of Antiquaries of London from its foundation in the early 18th century to the present day. The exhibition examines key stages in the creation of Britain's historical narrative from the earliest archeological discoveries. It comprises around 190 exhibits, featuring works of art, antiquities, books and manuscripts of unique historical importance. Among the highlights are a processional cross of Richard III and his defeated Yorkist army recovered from the battlefield of Bosworth; an early copy of the Magna Carta; the inventory of Henry VIII's posessions at the time of his death; the earliest known medieval manuscript illustrations of Stonehenge, recently discovered; the 'Winchester Domesday', one of the most detailed descriptions of any European town of the middle ages; the earliest known portraits of two Saxon kings, discovered 'forming the wainscot of a small closet' at Basyton House in 1813; a 450,000 year old flint hand-axe; the 13th century illuminated 'Lindsey Psalter'; and 'The Roll Chronicle', a mediaval genealogical tree proving the descent of Henry IV from Adam and Eve. There are drawings and paintings of historic sites and monuments by artists such as Constable, Turner, Girtin, Byrne-Jones and Blake, and a selection from the Society's collection of early English royal portraits from Henry VI to Mary Tudor, displayed together in public for the first time. Royal Academy of Arts until 2nd December.

Justin Coombes: Urban Pastoral is an enticing and unsettling collection of Justin Coombes magical photographs. Using slide projection and other unconventional lighting techniques, Coombes projects images onto buildings or interiors at twilight, and then re-photographs the scenes using long exposures. Developing his technique further, in this exhibition Coombes has used more direct interventions in the landscape, such as subtly rearranging objects to create tableaux that are both recognisable and unnerving. Toxic skies and strange effects charge the banal with a striking atmosphere, recreating the sense of romance, adventure and threat he found upon first moving to London after a childhood spent in the countryside. In 'Urban Pastoral', a recollection of Coombes's mother landscaping their Devon garden, is recreated on a South London allotment - tempestuous blue clouds, barbed wire fences, a scarecrow and looming tower blocks undercut the idyllic nature of the memory; in 'Vanitas with Fox', the urban predator is caught in the headlights of a car whilst scavenging in rubbish, with a skull design on a cardboard box the fox has torn open; and in 'Bully', a group of kids assembles in a council estate playground, loitering with ambiguous intent, the mist of an early dawn shrouding the scene with a sense of melancholy distance. Other new photographs are incorporated into Coombes's short video and performance pieces, where the literary and historical aspects of his image making are brought to the fore. BCA Gallery, Bedford, until 1st December.