News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 22nd October 2008


Beside The Seaside: Snapshots Of British Coastal Life 1880 - 1950 brings together photographs, posters and seaside memorabilia to capture the essence of both working life and early tourism along the British coast. From dramatic rugged coastlines and idyllic fishing villages to sea bathing, promenades and donkey rides, the popularity of the seaside has led to its enduring status as a quintessential British experience. The exhibition both highlights the British seaside holiday, and explores a diversity of activities along the British coast. Following the advent of the railways in the mid 19th century, quiet coastal settlements and towns such as Eastbourne and Scarborough were transformed into thriving holiday destinations, where beaches, piers, promenades and hotels were developed to cater for a range of tastes and budgets. Photographs range from fashionable Edwardians relaxing under parasols by the sea, and crowds of visitors enjoying the sunny piers and bustling promenades of popular holiday resorts, to fisherman sorting through the day's catch, rows of fishing trawlers returned to port, and a cockle picker mid hunt. The exhibition draws heavily on images made by Francis Frith, a pioneering Victorian photographer, whose passion for photography and travel led to him found what eventually became the largest photographic publishing company in the world. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, until 19th April.

A Continuous Line: Ben Nicholson In England is a retrospective of one of the most radical British artists of the 20th century, and the leader of the modern movement in Britain between the wars. Most famous for his abstract paintings and reliefs of the 1930s, Nicholson began as a figurative painter and had a deep and enduring relationship with the English landscape. The exhibition reconsiders his position in British art history, offering a new understanding of the modern in art, particularly in relation to national and local identities. It concentrates on three periods and groups of work that have been neglected for many years: landscapes made in Cumberland and Cornwall in the late 1920s; landscapes, abstract paintings and reliefs made alongside each other in St. Ives during the Second World War; and the Cubist still lifes made between 1945 and 1958 (when he left Britain to live in Switzerland), which secured Nicholson's international reputation. The selection of some 80 key works included in the exhibition demonstrate his continuity of vision and approach, highlights those periods that have previously been marginalised, and reveals a view of Ben Nicholson quite different from the established one. Highlights include '1928 (Walton Wood Cottage No 2)', '1928 (Foothills, Cumberland', 'Cold Fell', '1932 (Crowned Head - The Queen), '1943-45 (St Ives, Cornwall)', 1945 (Still Life)', 'July 22-47 (Still Life - Odyssey 1), 'March 1949 (Trencrom)', '1935 (White Relief)' and '1940 (Plover's Egg Blue)'. De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea, until 4th January.

Kenneth Grahame: The Wind In The Willows illuminates the 30 year career of Kenneth Grahame at the Bank of England, and includes previously unseen and unpublished documents relating to his non-literary work. The display also examines the questions surrounding his sudden resignation from the Bank, possible influences on his writing, and the strange incident in 1903, which saw him shot at by an intruder. Among the items on display are Grahame's resignation letter, which identifies the mental pressures he cited as his reason for leaving, as well as letters from the Bank's doctor who gave a contradictory assessment of his mental health. Although Grahame's Bank career is little known, it is generally agreed that it influenced his writing, both directly, with the traits of his colleagues appearing in the characters he created, as well as through the atmosphere of life at the institution that imbues his work. Although The Wind In The Willows was published just 4 months after Grahame left the Bank, he did not write much more in the subsequent 24 years that he lived. The display also includes the official Bank House Lists from 1879 and 1908, recording Grahame's entry and exit, his starting salary and final pension details (he was entitled to a pension of £710 but was granted only £400 by the directors). Among the other exhibits is a letter in which the children of King George V thank Grahame for his kindness when they made a surprise visit to the Bank. Bank of England Museum, London, continuing.


Renaissance Faces: Van Eyck To Titian explores the dramatic rise of portraiture in the Renaissance, through the masters of northern and southern Europe. The exhibition provides a rare opportunity to view Renaissance portraiture in depth, comprising over 70 paintings, alongside important sculptures, drawings and medals, including masterpieces by among others, Raphael, Titian, Botticelli, Van Eyck, Holbein, Durer, Lotto, Pontormo and Bellini. In the 15th and 16th centuries, portraits played a vital role in every aspect of human life: childhood, politics, friendship, courtship, marriage, old age and death. This exhibition provides fresh insights into fundamental issues of likeness, memory and identity, while revealing a remarkable community of Renaissance personalities, from princes, envoys and merchants to clergymen, tradesmen and artists. Among the highlights are Holbein's 'The Ambassadors' and 'A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling', Titian's warrior portrait of the young Philip II, Anthonis Mor's 'The Court Jester Pejeron' and 'Portrait of Philip II in Armour', Durer's 'Self Portrait', Palma Vecchio's 'Portrait of a Young Woman', Tullio Lombardo's marble relief 'A Young Couple as Bacchus and Ariadne', Arcimboldo's 'Emperor Rudolph II', and Guido Mazzoni's painted bust 'Laughing Boy'. The exhibition underlines the degree of cross-cultural exchange active in Europe at this time, with Van Eyck, Titian and Memling in demand from north to south, so that the influence of their work carried far beyond the courts of their patrons. National Gallery until 18th January.

Constructed - 40 Years Of The UEA Collection presents highlights from the University of East Anglia's collection of Abstract and Constructivist Art, Architecture and Design. The collection, which was founded in response to the modernity of the University's architecture, now numbers some 400 objects, including sculpture, painting, graphics and design, together with architectural models, stage sets and furniture. The earliest group of works in the exhibition date from between 1910 and 1930, and include a Le Corbusier chair and architectural model, a painting by Sonia Delaunay, the Pravda Tower model by the Vesnin brothers, Rietveld chairs, a charcoal drawing by David Bomberg and 2D works by Wassily Kandinsky and Lazlo Moholy-Nagy. The next group features the work of emigre artists who came to England during the Second World War, and includes a room setting with Isokon furniture, and pieces designed by Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius. The third group, The British Constructionists, includes work by artists such as Victor Pasmore, Mary and Kenneth Martin, Peter Lowe, Gillian Wise and Anthony Hill, together with European artists such as Jesus Raphael Soto and Francois Morellet, and features 3D constructions, sculptures, reliefs and works on canvas that use a strong simple palette of colours, clean lines and geometric shapes. Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, until 14th December.

The Booker At 40 celebrates the 40th anniversary of the leading literary award, The Booker and Man Booker Prize, with the first public display of an extensive archive. It includes every book that has won since 1969, as well as a wide selection of shortlisted titles. The display demonstrates how the design of book jackets has changed in 40 years, also reflected in ephemera such as posters and other promotional materials. Since 1991 each winning and shortlisted writer has received a unique bound book made by members of the British Society of Designer Bookbinders, a selection of which have been loaned by the authors. A special feature of the exhibition is the original Booker trophy, created by the artist Jan Pienkowski, which was given to the winner in the first four years of the prize. In 1973 a new, smaller version of the trophy was created by Patricia Turner, who scaled it down from an original height of 25in to 10in. In a special section of the display dedicated to collecting, the literary agent and book collector Peter Straus reveals his passion for signed limited first editions and proof copies, memorabilia, and the many different editions of winning and shortlisted books, which have been published around the world. Victoria & Albert Museum until 17th May.

Cartoons And Coronets: The Genius Of Osbert Lancaster marks the centenary of the satirist, illustrator, theatre designer and cartoonist. Osbert Lancaster was one of the most famous artistic personalities of his day, and a flamboyant member of the London literary circle. This exhibition celebrates his range as an artist and as a chronicler of style and fashion. It draws on an unparalleled archive of original designs, illustrations, works on paper, sketchbooks and photographs, none of which have ever been previously exhibited. Highlights include original illustrations of architectural styles published in Pillar To Post and Homes Sweet Homes, where he coined definitions such as 'Stockbrokers' Tudor', 'Pont Street Dutch' and 'Vogue Regency', which subsequently entered the language; illustrations for novels, including those of Nancy Mitford, P G Wodehouse and Simon Raven, and book jackets for Anthony Powell's A Dance To The Music Of Time; set and costume designs for Sadler's Wells, Covent Garden and Glyndebourne; designs for murals, including those in the Crown Hotel in Blandford Forum and the Zuleika murals in the Randolph Hotel in Oxford; and portraits of John Piper, Freya Stark, Benjamin Britten, Max Beerbohm and Evelyn Waugh. Lancaster became a household name through his long career creating cartoons for the Daily Express, where he invented the form of the 'pocket cartoon', occupying a single column. Examples here reflect the trials and tribulations of the Littlehampton Family, featuring Maudie, her husband Willie, Canon Fontwater, Father O'Bubblegum and Mrs Rajagojollibarmi. The Wallace Collection, London until 11th January.

The Body Carnival is an examination of the modified body in all its forms, focusing on the practises of tattooing, piercing, corsetry and cosmetic surgery. Presented from an insider's perspective by Joolz Denby, writer, artist, 'cultural revolutionary' and tattooist, it is a highly personal vision. Exhibits include Anthony Bennett's life size sculptures of the 'Pierced Angel' and 'The Great Omi'; photographs of examples extreme tattoos and piercings shot from odd angles by Ashley and Ian Beesley; the inner workings of a tattoo studio revealed in the presentation 'Bijou Tatu'; and an examination of the practice of corseting, which charts its progress from genteel underwear to flamboyant outerwear, with examples by Viviene Westwood and Alexander McQueen. For all its sympathetic intention and protestations of a serious reflection of contemporary fashion, it is really the modern equivalent of a Victorian travelling fair sideshow - only The Elephant Man is missing. Not for the squeamish. Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford until 30th November.

The Revolution Continues: New Chinese Art is the inaugural exhibition in the third incarnation of the Saatchi Gallery, designed by architects AHMM, comprising 70,000 sq ft of space, divided into 15 galleries, over 3 floors, in the grand classical Georgian Duke of York's regiment headquarters building on the King's Road in Chelsea. As before, the aim is to bring contemporary art to the widest audience possible, with its commercial purpose underlined by a corporate partnership with the contemporary art auction house Phillips de Pury & Company. The exhibition brings together the work of 24 of China's leading artists in a cutting edge survey of recent painting, sculpture and installation. The range is typical new art eclectic, including: Liu Wei's model city made from sewn together dog chews; Zhang Huan's enormous head manufactured from incense ash, and a stuffed donkey attempting coition with Shanghai's tallest building; Sun Yuan and Peng Yu's super-realist sculptures of 13 world leaders careening about in motorised wheelchairs like dodgem cars; Zhang Dali's group of figures hanging upside down from the ceiling; Xiang Jing's huge naked girl sitting on a giant stool; and Shi Xinning's painting of Chairman Mao meeting the Queen Mother. All the work comes from Saatchi's collection of about 2,500 pieces. The gallery also includes a dedicated space featuring a rotating selection of work by Saatchi Online artists for both exhibition and sale. The Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York's HQ, King's Road SW3.


Jack The Ripper And The East End examines the infamous Whitechapel murders of 1888, and explores their legacy of myths and legends. Bringing together in public for the first time the surviving original documents from the police investigation, including files, witness reports, photographs and hoax letters, the exhibition maps the world which witnessed the murders and was transformed by them. It follows the crimes and the investigation as they unfolded, and reveals the lives of the victims, witnesses, suspects and police, and the labyrinthine world they inhabited. Artefacts, including Charles Booth's meticulously drawn poverty maps, and oral history recordings from those who grew up in the East End at the time of the murders, throw a light on the slums of Whitechapel and on the grim lives of their inhabitants. The exhibition also explores how the murders were a catalyst for change, creating public revulsion at the desperate state of life in the shadows of the world's richest city, and how both the media and the police were forced into innovation. It illustrates the strategies of detection, and the processes of running and reporting a major police enquiry, reflecting the fierce competition between newspapers to produce the most sensational descriptions of the murders, and lay claim to the latest theories and suspects. Forensic science was not yet available to help identify the murderer, and a range of pseudo-sciences, philosophies and superstitions, including spiritualism, as well as accepted ideas of human nature and morality, shaped the police investigation. Museum In Docklands, West India Quay E14, until 2nd November.

Hotel is a record of photographer Steve Schofield's exploration of the way the British choose to spend their holiday and leisure time. In particular, he looks at how the choice of the themed experience allows people to blur the boundaries between fantasy and reality, for what is a momentary break from their weekly routines. By photographing the workers in these 'hyper real experiences' Schofield conveys the sense of waiting, not only for the arrival of the guests, but also for the delivery of the promise of an experience that in reality cannot truly be delivered. Schofield travelled to traditional working class resorts such as Blackpool, Southend on Sea and Brighton, visiting all kinds of hotels, from Elvis, Beatles and Pop Culture themed venues, where the past is recreated with a fake 'King', or a plasma screen pumping out black and white performances by the Fab Four, to a Victorian experience, where the workers are dressed in period costume, suggesting total subservience. His richly detailed photographs reveal a sub-cultural world beneath the mask of polite British society. Derby Art Gallery until 2nd November.

The Science Of Survival: Your Planet Needs You! offers a glimpse of the world in 2050, and explores how mankind can survive on a changing planet. This hands on, thought provoking, interactive exhibition, examines how the way we live will change over the next few decades, in response to climate change and diminishing global resources, looking at options for a sustainable future. As visitors journey through the exhibition they are led by four characters who invite their help in solving problems in a city in the year 2050. In five interactive areas - Drinking, Eating, Enjoying, Moving and Building - it looks at why the future will be different, and what we can do about it today. Visitors examine current global issues and explore some possible technological responses, such as catching fog vapour to make fresh water, using nanotechnology to produce food, and building trains that run on biofuel. All the decisions made along the way are included in the Future City at the end of the exhibition, reflecting different choices based on different priorities, and the major effects these will have on the world of tomorrow. Visitors then see how well they survived, and discover the choices made by other people, revealing that while the way mankind lives will inevitably change, positive choices made today could radically affect what the future will be. Science Museum until 2nd November.