News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 22nd December 2010


The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner explores one of the best known English poems, written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. First published in 1798 The Rime of the Ancient Mariner tells the tale of a mariner's nightmarish journey to the ends of the Earth. The poem deals with the universal themes of sin, guilt, remorse and redemption and its insight into the human condition has provided inspiration for writers, artists and musicians for over 200 years. This exhibition, through manuscripts, printed books and sound recordings, examines the poem within the wider context of Coleridge's life, and explores his crucial role, along with that of his friend William Wordsworth, co-author of the Lyrical Ballads, (in which The Rime of the Ancient Mariner first appeared) as a founding member of the Romantic Movement in England. A man of remarkable intellect with an inquiring spirit, Samuel Taylor Coleridge was a literary critic, philosopher, writer, journalist and public lecturer. Deeply learned and widely read, Coleridge took an exalted view of his art, asserting that 'The Poet is the man made to solve the riddle of the Universe', who 'brings the whole soul of man into activity'. The display also looks at modern interpretations of the poem, and highlights the work of illustrators and writers who have been inspired by its vivid imagery. Highlights include the 1798 first edition of the Lyrical Ballads; and two of Coleridge's notebooks, one containing re-workings of the poem (lines 201-212, dated 1806), and the other with details of a walking tour of Cumbria in 1802, providing a fascinating record of his random thoughts and observations. The British Library, until 27th February.

Japanese Ghosts And Demons: Ukiyo-e Prints is a display of highly coloured 19th century woodblock prints. Belief in the supernatural is deep-rooted in Japanese folklore. According to Japan's native Shinto religion, gods reside everywhere - in the forests, the fields, the mountains and in the home. The arrival of Buddhism during the 6th century AD brought with it more supernatural beings, and many Chinese tales of spirits and monsters were also absorbed into Japanese tradition. Obake, the Japanese word for ghost, means 'something that is transformed'. There are many kinds of ghosts in Japan, including household objects that come to life, animals with supernatural powers, wicked demons and the vengeful spirits of cruelly-wronged women. These beings have long been represented in Japanese art and literature - depicted in paintings and prints, carved as netsuke belt toggles and dramatised for the Kabuki and Bunraku theatres. The ukiyo-e woodblock prints shown here all date from the mid-19th century, when artists competed to satisfy the public's appetite for images of the bizarre and macabre. Focusing on works by the renowned artists Utagawa Kuniyoshi and Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, and their contemporaries, giant spiders, dancing skeletons, winged goblins and hordes of ghostly warriors are among the spooky subjects depicted. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 27th February.

Norman Rockwell's America is the first ever exhibition in Britain of work by America's best known and best loved illustrator for over 6 decades of the 20th century. Astonishingly prolific, Norman Rockwell is best known for the 323 covers he created for the Saturday Evening Post, but he also painted countless other magazine illustrations and advertisements, capturing images of everyday American life with a humour and power of observation that spoke directly to the public, whose love for his work never wavered. These good natured, often very funny, occasionally sweetly sentimental images, picturing America as he wished it to be, rather than as it perhaps was, gave rise to an adjective, 'Rockwellesque', which in some critics' minds became something of a dirty word. But Rockwell's output was not all sugar and spice - he recorded political events, portrayed presidents, and on occasion painted searing images in support of the civil rights movement. Although Rockwell himself was happy to be described as 'an illustrator', his illustrations were executed with considerable technical skill in oils, and these original paintings have increased dramatically in value since his death in 1978, and recent years have seen a critical reassessment of the importance of his work. This exhibition provides a comprehensive look at Rockwell's career, including every single cover of the Saturday Evening Post, created between 1916 and 1963, along with some 30 original paintings, and illustrations for advertisements, magazines and books. Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, until 27th March.


The Tiger In Asian Art examines the most enduring and powerful symbol of cultural identity for the people of Asia. For over 3,000 years the tiger has inspired countless legends, beliefs, poems and works of art across Asia, and it is the national animal of India, Malaysia, China and North and South Korea. The tiger is also one of the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac. The exhibition includes paintings, sculptures, textiles, photographs and other works of art, from historical to contemporary, many of which have never been seen in the West before, from a wide range of Asian countries and regions, including Tibet, Vietnam and Mongolia. It examines the cultural and spiritual significance of the tiger to these places, and the role that the creature plays to the human psyche, looking at it as a protector, spiritual power, material, hunted animal and declining figure. Among the highlights are contemporary Chinese artist Zhang Huang's 'Free Tiger Returns to the Mountain' series, employing a technique using ash gathered from incense burned at Shanghai temples; 17th century Japanese artist Hokusai's 'Tiger in a Snowstorm'; a 16th century Chinese Ming military banner depicting a tiger surrounded by flame and cloud motifs; a Jaipur hunting scene; and a 17th century Japanese tiger netsuke belt toggle sculpture. Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, London W1, until 12th February.

Shelley's Ghost: Reshaping The Image Of A Literary Family tells the story of one of the most renowned literary families in Britain: Percy Bysshe Shelley, his wife Mary Shelley, and Mary's parents, William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. The exhibition charts the history of a family blessed with genius but marred by tragedy, spanning three generations: from Godwin's and Wollstonecraft's months as lovers and their brief marriage between 1796 and 1797; through the 8 years Shelley and Mary spent together from their elopement in 1814 to Shelley's sudden death in 1822; to the lives of the Shelleys' only surviving child, Sir Percy Florence Shelley, and his wife Jane, Lady Shelley. The story is often tragic, but also one of remarkable creative achievement. It is told with letters, literary manuscripts, rare printed books and pamphlets, portraits and relics. Highlights include Shelley's notebooks with original versions of some of his greatest poems; Richard Rothwell's portrait of Mary Shelly; Shelly and Mary's elopement journal; a letter from John Keats; sketches of sailing boats by Shelly; Mary Shelly's dressing case, with original engraved silver topped bottles and boxes; Shelly's quill pen, pocket watch and chain, seals and spyglass; William Godwin's diary; a guitar given to Jane Williams by Shelly and the poem he sent with it; the family baby rattle, used by Shelly; a draft of Shelly's sonnet 'Ozymandias'; a ring containing John Keats's hair; a copy of Amelia Curran's portrait of Shelly; Harriet Shelly's suicide letter; Shelly's last letter to Mary; a draft of The Triumph of Life, Shelly's final poem; and the original manuscripts of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein', including the scene when the creature comes to life. Bodleian Library, Oxford, until 27th March.

Future Beauty: 30 Years Of Japanese Fashion is the first exhibition in Europe to comprehensively survey avant-garde Japanese fashion, from the early 1980s to now. Japanese designers made an enormous impact on world couture in the late 20th century. Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto redefined the very basis of fashion, challenged established Western notions of beauty, and turned fashion into art. The tight silhouettes of Western couture were jettisoned for new fluid shapes. Out went the magnificent ornament and extravagant techniques of the post-war tradition and in came a stark, monochrome palette and an entirely new decorative language - holes, rips, frays and tears - emerging from the stuff of fabric itself. This exhibition examines the work of these designers in relation to Japanese art, culture and costume history, and explores the distinctive sensibility of Japanese design and its sense of beauty embodied in clothing. It brings together over 100 garments, some never seen before in Britain, with specially commissioned photographs by Japanese artist and photographer Naoya Hatakeyama. There are focused presentations on each of the principle designers in the show, featuring a range of archive and recent works: Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake, Junya Watanabe, Jun Takahashi and Tao Kurihara, as well as Mintdesigns and a number of emerging designers such as Akira Naka, Anrealage, N e -Net, Sacai , Somarta, Mikio Sakabe, Matohu and Taro Horiuchi. Also included are catwalk collection films, and a wealth of rare books, catalogues and magazines, which highlight Yamamoto, Miyake and Kawakubo's collaborations with artists, photographers and designers. Barbican Art Gallery, London, until 6th February.

Psychoanalysis: The Unconscious In Everyday Life explores the workings of the unconscious mind, and the contribution of psychoanalysis to the understanding of the mind and culture. The exhibition aims to examine the broad contemporary relevance of psychoanalysis in a way that is accessible to a wide audience. It focuses on a key concept of psychoanalysis: how the unconscious can be interpreted through everyday experiences, and in artefacts, both historical and contemporary. This is done through a range of modern and historical objects, contemporary artworks and digital animation. Notable objects include: a selection of Sigmund Freud's personal collection of Ancient Greek and Roman antiquities, which surrounded the psychoanalyst in his consulting room; body casts of masks, feet, eyes and phalluses from the museum's collection that are not usually on public view; a selection of drawings from one of the most famous case studies by Melanie Klein, the pioneer of child analysis, which have never been on public display before; an array of everyday things old and new, whose hidden associations and unconscious meanings are unravelled by the voices of leading psychoanalysts; and artworks by contemporary artists Arnold Dreyblatt, Mona Hatoum, Joseph Kosuth, Grayson Perry,Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Carlo Zanni, Sonny Sanjay Vadgama, Kristian de la Riva, Amelie von Harrach and Damian Le Sueur, which take inspiration from psychoanalytical ideas. Science Museum until 15th April.

The Young Vermeer presents a unique opportunity to explore the development of one of the world's most celebrated artists. Despite the regard in which he is held, there are only 36 of Johannes Vermeer's paintings in existence. This exhibition reunites 3 of his early works, created between 1653 and 1656, from galleries around the world. They suggest a tantalising experimental phase in Vermeer's early career, as he explored classical and biblical subjects, and also reveal his fascination with light and colour. 'Diana and her Nymphs' is a serene and intimate painting, showing the mythological goddess Diana and her companions in a wooded landscape. It is thought to have been created soon after Vermeer had entered the painters' guild. 'Christ in the House of Martha and Mary', dating from slightly later, is the largest of Vermeer's surviving works. The subject is taken from St Luke's gospel, and can perhaps be linked to Vermeer's conversion to Catholicism. 'The Procuress' is a brothel scene, which marks two significant shifts in Vermeer's work: his move towards painting 'genre scenes', which show figures in everyday activities, and the development towards his mature style, rendering shapes in smooth and colourful hues of light and shade. The 3 paintings on show in this exhibition offer an insight into Vermeer's formative period, as they are strikingly different from his later works, which concentrate almost exclusively on domestic interiors. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 13th March.

Dior Illustrated: Rene Gruau And The Line Of Beauty is a celebration of the renowned illustrator who created some of the most iconic fashion images of the 20th century. This exhibition showcases over 40 artworks by Rene Gruau from the 1940s and 1950s, including original illustrations for Christian Dior Parfums, vintage perfume bottles, sketches, posters and magazines. It also features a selection of Dior Haute Couture dresses chosen by John Galliano, including a dress designed by Galliano himself in homage to Gruau. During his career Rene Gruau illustrated for Balmain, Balenciaga, Lanvin and Givenchy, essentially altering the way luxury fashion was advertised. Gruau's bold lines and fluid style were perfectly in tune with the spirit of Dior, capturing the energy, elegance and audacity of the brand. His illustrations also tell of a special understanding Gruau had of Christian Dior himself, born of a close friendship between the two men that lasted for almost 40 years. Gruau was very unusual because he loved working with advertising, which was very uncommon at the time. He influenced the graphic style of a whole generation of fashion illustrators, and the exhibition also features specially commissioned pieces from the British based illustrators Jasper Goodall, Daisy Fletcher, Erin Petson, Richard Kilroy and Sarah Arnett, whose works draws inspiration from the collaboration between Gruau and the House of Dior. Somerset House, The Strand, London, until 9th January.


Diaghilev And The Golden Age Of The Ballets Russes 1909 - 1929 explores the world of the influential artistic director and the most exciting dance company of the 20th century, who combined dance, music and art in bold ways to create 'total theatre'. Diaghilev's dedication to pushing boundaries, and collaborating with the best designers, choreographers and artists, transformed dance, reawakening interest in ballet across Europe and America. The exhibition includes more than 300 objects, including giant backcloths, original costumes, set designs, props, posters, programmes, photographs, art, film and sound, which bring the energy of the Ballets Russes' performances to life. Among the highlights are: Picasso's huge front cloth for 'Le Train Bleu', dedicated and signed, as well as a costume he designed for 'Parade'; the costume for Modest Mussorgsky's 'Boris Godonov' worn by Feodor Chaliapin; the turban for 'Le Pavillon d'Armide' and the gold and pearl tunic from 'Le Festin', worn by Vaslav Nijinsky, alongside sculptures of him by Auguste Rodin and by Una Troubridge; 9 costumes designed by Nicolas Roerich for 'The Rite Of Spring', which caused a riot in the aisles at its first performance in Paris; Nijinsky's notation for 'L'Apres-midi d'un faune', on display for the first time as it was intended to be read, and the musical score for Stravinsky's 'Pulcinella'; the designs for the original production of 'The Firebird', including the actual backcloth; and costumes by artist collaborators Leon Bakst, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Jean Cocteau, Joan Miro and Marie Laurencin. A specially created film features composer Howard Goodall explaining the development of music that accompanied the Ballets Russes. Victoria & Albert Museum until 9th January.

Epic Of The Persian Kings: The Art Of Ferdowsi's Shahnameh brings together nearly 100 paintings from lavishly illustrated manuscripts spanning 800 years. The exhibition explores the monumental artistic legacy of one of the world's greatest literary epics: the 1000 year old Persian 'Book of Kings', or Shahnameh. It is an epic narrative poem telling the 'Iranian version' of the history of the world, mixing royal history with the mythical and supernatural, from the creation of the world and the first men through to the fall of the Persian Empire in the 7th century AD. Twice as long as the Iliad and Odyssey put together, and only finished after 35 years, it is the longest recorded poem ever written by a single author. Completed by the poet Ferdowsi in 1010 AD, it is an icon of Persian culture, inspiring some of the world's most exquisite manuscripts, bringing its warring kings, heroes, dragons and demons to life. Embellished with gold, lapis lazuli and other precious pigments, these manuscripts juxtapose fantastical portrayals of terrifying demons and monstrous creatures with astonishingly expressive depictions of human emotion, from scenes of tender affection to fiercely violent struggles, set against backdrops of beautifully detailed landscapes, and peopled by crowds of onlookers, who spill over the pages and peep at the scenes contained within. As well as these manuscripts, the exhibition brings together ceramics, metalwork and painting on silk, whose imagery was inspired by the poem's amalgam of history, myth and legend, from frieze tiles to ornate bowls, and even an Iranian saddle of the type depicted under horsemen throughout the manuscripts. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, until 9th January.

Christmas Past: 400 Years Of Seasonal Traditions In English Homes looks at the meanings and origins of our Christmas and New Year customs, including the holly and the ivy, mistletoe and kissing boughs, decorations, trees, fire and candlelight, carol singing and the Yule log. Also featured are traditional foods and drink, with wassailing, parties, mulled wine, cakes and puddings. Twelve period living rooms decorated in authentic festive styles from 1600 to 2000 reflect our changing social habits, and show how Christmas as we now know it has evolved, from feasting, dancing and kissing under the mistletoe to playing parlour games, hanging up stockings, sending cards, decorating the tree and throwing cocktail parties. There is an accompanying programme of events focusing on 20th and 21st century festivities, highlighting the main developments and changes in the domestic celebration of Christmas, with the switch from home crafted to shop bought decorations and food, the increasing popularity of Santa Claus, and the growing prominence of children, plus decoration, card making and other craft workshops, candle lit entertainment, talks, carols and other Christmas music, right through to the burning of holly and ivy on Twelfth Night, with seasonal food and drink available. The museum is located in fourteen almshouses built in 1715 by the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers. Geffrye Museum, Shoreditch, London, until 5th January.