News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 22nd July 2009


Corot To Monet charts the development of open air landscape painting in the century up to the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874. The display features some 90 small scale paintings by the major artists of this genre, revealing the achievements of these early plein-air painters, and their far reaching influence on the Impressionists, as they began exploring new techniques. The exhibition opens with scenes by Jean-Bapiste-Camille Corot, Simon Denis and Pierre Henri Valenciennes, who were among artists that gathered in Rome in the 18th and 19th centuries, setting out to paint picturesque locations in the Campagna outside the city. The major part of the show focuses on the work of the Barbizon School, demonstrating how painters such as Theodore Rousseau, Jean Francois Millet and Narcisse-Virgilio Diaz de la Pena captured their native scenery to great effect. Highlights include Corot's 'The Roman Campagna, with the Claudian Aqueduct', capturing a broad, sunlit landscape hung with majestic clouds in a single layer of paint, and 'The Four Times of the Day', a quartet of panels, completed in just a week at the studio of Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps, drawn from reminiscences of the Italian terrain; Rousseau's 'The Valley of Saint-Vincent', evoking the wild, unspoilt nature of the Auvergne with long, fluid brushstrokes; Richard Parkes Bonington's 'La Ferte', realising the sand, sea and sky of the Picardy coastline with broad sweeps of his brush; Diaz de la Pena's 'Sunny Days in the Forest' a lively celebration of spring skies and rich foliage; and Monet's 'The Beach at Trouville' displayed alongside the beach scenes of Eugene Boudin and late works by Corot. National Gallery until 20th September.

Project Apollo: The Lunar Landings marks the 40th anniversary of mankind's greatest technical achievement, that of landing a man on the moon on 20th July 1969, and returning him safely to earth. The exhibition takes place at the top of the National Space Centre's iconic 42m Rocket Tower, and is a multiple experience immersion in the 1960s, setting the event in the context of its time, with original film footage, artefacts and memorabilia of the era. Visitors are transported back in time with the sights and sounds of the 60s, and experience what it would have been like to be part of the world community watching the first moon landing, in a recreated 1969 living room; have the opportunity to land the lunar module themselves in a new simulator; get close to a genuine piece of moon rock bought back by the Apollo astronauts; see Britain's largest exhibition of Lego model spacecraft; and even have their picture taken 'on the surface of the moon'. The permanent display includes in six galleries, exploring different aspects of astronomy and space exploration, featuring over 150 actual and replica rockets, satellites and capsules, plus a space theatre, showing animated journeys across space using the latest multimedia techniques. National Space Centre, Leicester, continuing.

The Highgrove Florilegium is an exhibition of watercolours by 75 leading botanical artists from around the world, who have painted the flora growing in the garden of The Prince of Wales. Distinguished botanists worked with the Head Gardener at Highgrove, to ensure that the 15 acre estate is represented in all its aspects by an appropriate selection of material, including plants that are useful or commonplace, rare and in decline, or just extravagantly beautiful. Some of the best contemporary botanical artists are represented in the exhibition, including Fay Ballard, Stephanie Berni, Josephine Hague, Katherine Manisco, Kate Nessler, Jenny Phillips, Kay Rees-Davies, Janet Rieck, Elaine Searle and Amanda Ward. Work was submitted for selection to a panel of experts led by Anne-Marie Evans, and the resulting collection shows a complete cross section, from trees and flowers, to vegetables and herbs. While botanical illustration can be traced back to herbals in the 6th century AD, the growing popularity of gardening, and awareness of plant forms and habitat, has led to a renewal of interest in botanical painting, and a new 'Golden Age' of botanical art. The exhibition is in partnership with The Prince's Charities Foundation, which is publishing 175 sets of the Florilegium. Museum of Garden History, Lambeth Palace Road, London, until 8th September.


Beyond Bloomsbury: Designs Of The Omega Workshops 1913 - 1919 explores a radical chapter in the history of 20th century British craft and design. Established in 1913 by the painter and influential art critic Roger Fry, the Omega Workshops were an experimental design collective, whose members included Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Wyndham Lewis, Frederick Etchells, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Winifred Gill and other artists of the Bloomsbury Group. The Omega Workshops brought the experimental language of avant-garde art to domestic design in Edwardian Britain. They were a laboratory of design ideas, creating a range of objects for the home, from rugs and linens to ceramics, furniture and clothing, all boldly coloured with dynamic abstract patterns. No artist was allowed to sign their work, and everything produced by the Workshops bore only the Greek letter Omega. The exhibition combines original Omega working drawings with the finest examples of the Workshops' printed linens, Cubist-inspired hand knotted rugs, woven wools and painted silks, as well as ceramics and furniture. Highlights include the 'Peacock Stole' of chiffon silk painted in primary colours, with a motif of confronting peacocks, unseen for 50 years; Vanessa Bell's painted screen 'Bathers in a Landscape', a transitional object between fine and decorative art; a rug designed for Lady Ian Hamilton's flat at 1 Hyde Park Gardens, with working drawings revealing aspects of the design, commissioning and manufacturing process; and the original signboard painted by Duncan Grant, which hung above the entrance to the workshops. Running alongside the main exhibition is a display of work by Winifred Gill, who ran and organised the Workshop during the First World War The Coutauld Gallery, Somerset House, until 20th September.

Fly Navy 100 charts the rapid development of naval aviation, from The Mayfly, the first Royal Naval airship commissioned in 1909 and early bi-planes, to today's Sea Harrier. The exhibition features 9 important aircraft, including a replica of a 1912 Short S27; the first aircraft to have taken part in a naval battle in 1916 - a Short 184; the first helicopter to be commissioned by the Royal Navy in 1949 - a Westland Dragonfly; the Sea King helicopter flown by Prince Andrew during the Falklands conflict; and a Sea Harrier that shot down an Argentine Sky Hawk in the same campaign; together with a Westland Lynx helicopter, a Supermarine Walrus sea-plane, a Fairey Firefly, and a Sopwith Pup. The museum, which houses Europe's largest collection of naval aircraft, also provides an opportunity for visitors to get a feel for what it would be like to be onboard the flight deck of the HMS Ark Royal, with an entire gallery that recreates the experience, while other galleries concentrate on aircraft from the Second World War, and experimental aircraft, including the first British built Concorde. Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton, Somerset, until 31st December.

Cecil Beaton: Portraits is a major retrospective of work by one of the most celebrated photographers of the 20th century. Cecil Beaton, who was renowned for his images of elegance, glamour and style, was also a writer, artist, designer, actor, caricaturist, illustrator and diarist, talents which are reflected in the exhibition. It is divided into four sections capturing 50 years of fashion, art and celebrity: The Early Years: London To Hollywood - 1920s and 1930s, with photographs of Hollywood stars such as Marlene Dietrich and Fred Astaire, artists including John (Rex) Whistler, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, and writers such as Edith Sitwell; The Years Between: The War And Post-War Arts - 1940s, featuring Greta Garbo, Vivian Leigh and Laurence Olivier, as well as Princess Elizabeth and Winston Churchill; The Strenuous Years: Picturing The Arts - 1950s, with portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, Francis Bacon, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Lucian Freud and Marilyn Monroe; and Partying And The Partying Years: Apotheosis And Retrospection - 1960s and 1970s, including images of Audrey Hepburn, Prince Charles, Harold Pinter, Katherine Hepburn, Mick Jagger, Barbara Streisand and Elizabeth Taylor. Walker Gallery Liverpool until 31st August.

Medals Of Dishonour is the first ever exhibition to examine the intriguing but relatively unappreciated tradition of the medal as an indicator of dishonour. It features examples from the past 400 years that denounce their subjects, and reveals the long and rich tradition of this largely unexplored type of medal. The historic medals are hugely revealing about the political and cultural opinions that were prevalent in the times in which they were made, as are accompanying modern works, which are the creations of current artists such as Steve Bell, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Ellen Gallagher, Richard Hamilton, William Kentridge, Michael Landy, Langlands and Bell, Cornelia Parker, Grayson Perry and Felicity Powell. The first part of the exhibition focuses on satirical and political historical medals, ranging from the sombre and the bizarre to the scatological and the humorous, which are placed in context through the use of contemporary prints and drawings. These include a medal by a Dutch artist attacking France and its king, created in response to the financial scandals that occurred in Europe in the 1720s, featuring a humiliating image of Louis XIV ejecting the contents of his stomach and bowels; and a German anti-war medal from 1915, showing a figure of Death seated on a cannon, happily smoking, while a city is in flames in the background. The second part of the exhibition features medals specially commissioned for the exhibition from contemporary artists, dealing with a wide range of current issues, from the war in Iraq and consumerism, to ASBOs and the credit crunch. British Museum until 27th September.

Robert Adam's Landscape Fantasies: Watercolours And Drawings reveals an undiscovered side to the work of one of the leading figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, who was also one of the most innovative architects and interior designers in Britain in the 18th century. This exhibition is dedicated to Robert Adam's picturesque landscapes, which were made towards the end of his life, purely for his own relaxation and enjoyment. These assured sketches and watercolours depict majestic landscapes - some real, some imagined - but all flawlessly composed. They feature magnificent castles perched perilously on towering mountain tops, and steep cliff faces surrounded by gushing waterfalls, rivers and gorges. Adam's atmospheric landscapes are spectacularly lit, with dark heavy skies and long brooding shadows. Though mostly imaginary, these Romantic views often take as their reference points the sublime landscape and alluring architecture of Adam's native Scotland. This selection of over 30 watercolours includes among its real views, Adam's spectacular rendition of Cullen Castle. A number of early drawings by his sketching partners Paul Sandby and John Clerk of Eldin are also on display. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 2nd August.

Images From The Past: Rome In The Photography Of Peter Paul Mackey 1890 - 1901 offers a unique opportunity to see what the eternal city actually looked like at the turn of the 20th century. These photographs of Rome, on public display for the first time, offer a fascinating portrait of the city in transition. On the one hand, it appears still immersed in the countryside, more rural than urban, with vineyards and market gardens, and even artichoke cultivation on the Aventine. On the other, it is shown to be a city unexpectedly industrial, with smoking chimneys on the skyline, and factories filling the Circus Maximus - subsequently demolished. Little is known of the English Dominican Father, Peter Paul Mackey, who arrived in Rome in 1881 to work on the Leonine edition of the works of St Thomas Aquinas, and remained in the city until his death in 1935. Elected an Associate of the British School at Rome in 1906, he presented the School with a set of over 2,000 prints and negatives of his photographs, accompanied by a detailed hand written catalogue. Although most of these are sadly now lost, those remaining, on display here, provide a remarkable record of a turning point in Rome's history. Sir John Soane's Museum, London, until 12th September.


Haunted Manchester is an exhibition dedicated to Manchester's haunted buildings and the ghosts that lie within them. Manchester is a historic city, with some of the oldest and most unique buildings in the country, many of which are said to contain reports and sightings of ghostly activity and other strange phenomena. With 80 specially commissioned photographs, this exhibition shows these remarkable buildings, and their frightening and often poignant stories of long dead inhabitants. The images featured include Manchester's most haunted bus, the nightclub that used to be a church hall, the sad and doomed love affair between May and Herbert at The Palace Theatre in 1891, and the headless hound said to stalk the grounds of Manchester Cathedral. Urbis, Manchester, until 2nd August.

London And Beyond: Paintings By Trevor Chamberlain features new and recent work by Trevor Chamberlain. Concentrating mostly on marine subjects, town scenes and landscapes painted en plain air, in both oils and watercolours, Chamberlain seeks to create an impression of nature and the spirit and atmosphere of a particular place, rather than a precise representation. This exhibition of more than 100 evocative and light filled oil paintings and watercolours includes a range of London subjects, including 'Sparkling Day, Hammersmith', 'Ice Cream Marble Hill', 'Damp Day, Victoria Embankment Gardens', 'Stiff Breeze, Off Greenwich', Rotherhithe Waterfront' and 'Bright Day, Richmond-on-Thames'. Alongside there are views from as far afield as Armenia, India and Iran, as, since his first painting trip abroad to Venice in 1970, he has painted in every continent, except Australia.. Guildhall Art Gallery, London, until 26th July.

Maggie! Maggie! Maggie! marks the 30th anniversary of the election of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister. Kenneth Baker, who served in her cabinet from 1985 until 1990, and Steve Bell, the Guardian's chief cartoonist, have selected some of their favourite cartoons of Britain's first woman Prime Minister, her colleagues, her critics and her adversaries. The exhibition shows how she has been both loved and loathed by politicians, the press and the public. The selection of nearly 100 cartoons by 35 cartoonists from across the political spectrum, includes works by Steve Bell, Michael Cummings, Stanley Franklin, Nicholas Garland, Les Gibbard, Charles Griffin, Jak, Peter Kennard, Gerald Scarfe, Posy Simmonds and Ralph Steadman. The exhibition chronicles Margaret Thatcher's rise to power, the Falklands war, the miners' strike, privatisation, the poll tax, Europe, her eventual downfall, and her long term impact on both the Conservative and Labour parties. The Cartoon Museum, London, until 26th July.