News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 23rd March 2011

Commencing

Watteau: The Drawings is the first major retrospective of drawings by the influential 18th century French artist. Drawing lay at the heart of Jean-Antoine Watteau's creative process. He prized his drawings and kept them in bound volumes which enabled him to refer to them when composing his paintings, as they were an essential source of inspiration for figure poses. Although Watteau worked in red chalk throughout his career, represented here by 'The Shipwreck' and 'Interior of a Draper's Shop', he is best known for his 'trois crayons' technique, the subtle manipulation and expert balancing of red, black and white. This exhibition of some 80 drawings demonstrates the breadth of Watteau's oeuvre and his lightness of touch, including 'fetes galantes', the genre he invented, which depicted social gatherings of elegant people in parkland settings. Watteau made drawings of figures in poses that were charming, ambiguous and natural. The subjects depicted in his drawings varied enormously from the joyous spirit of fantasy as depicted in 'Woman on a Swing, Seen from the Back', to his theatrical works inspired by the commedia dell'arte, 'Two studies of Mezzetin and a Pierrot', to the highly exotic, portrayed in works such as 'Seated Persian Wearing a Turban', and to the itinerant, 'Standing Savoyard'. Watteau is renowned as a painter, and although he executed drawings initially for their own sake, he reproduced many of his drawn figures in his paintings. The figure of a 'Woman on a Swing, Seen from the Back', features in his oil on canvas 'The Shepherds'. Watteau's influence was profound, pre-empting the spirit of the French Rococo and foreshadowing the work of the Impressionists in execution and treatment of colour. His work both as a draughtsman and as a painter influenced subsequent generations of French artists, notably Francois Boucher and Jean-Honore Fragonard. Royal Academy of Arts until 5th June.

Esprit et Verite: Watteau And His Circle is actually two exhibitions in one, celebrating Watteau, the artist who changed the course of French painting by introducing a particular kind of eroticism, and Jean de Jullienne, his publisher, and one of France's most significant art collectors. The relationship between Watteau and Jean de Jullienne represents a key moment in the development of French 18th century painting and patronage. The exhibition combines a display of 10 of the most important Watteau paintings in the world, spanning almost his entire career, including 'A Lady at her Toilet', 'Les Champs Elysees', 'Les charmes de la vie', Voulez-vous triompher des belles' and 'Sous un habit de Mezzetin', with significant masterworks of the 17th and 18th centuries drawn from the collection of Jean de Jullienne, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Wouwermans, Netscher, Bourdon, Greuze, Rosa and Vernet. Jean de Jullienne is famous for his role as editor of and dealer in Watteau's work, but a unique illustrated inventory of his collection from 1756, on public display here for the first time, demonstrates the breadth of his tastes. The Wallace Collection, Manchester Square, London W1, until 5th June.

Alice In Wonderland Treasures provides an opportunity to see rare first and second editions of the legendary Alice books, together with other Lewis Carroll associated artefacts and memorabilia. When Alice's Adventures In Wonderland was first published in 1865 the author Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) received a complaint about the quality of the printing from John Tenniel who had supplied the illustrations, so the first issue was withdrawn and a second one commissioned. As a result, copies of the first issue are extremely rare, but this exhibition includes a copy in the original red cloth binding. In addition, there are a number of editions of both Alice books, with illustrations by Arthur Rackham, Alice Ross, Charles Robinson and Gwynedd M Hudson, together with other works by Lewis Carrol. Further highlights include a presentation copy Alice's Adventures In Wonderland showing a poem written by the author for the actress Marion Terry; a first edition of Through The Looking-glass, And What Alice Found There signed by the original Alice, Alice Pleasance Hargreaves (nee Liddel); an 1893 advertisement apologising for the printing of the illustrations in the latest issue of Through The Looking-glass and requesting holders of copies to return them for exchange; a letter from Dodgson appealing against the inclusion of his name and pseudonym in Halkett and Laing's 'A dictionary of anonymous and pseudonymous literature of Great Britain'; and 'The Wonderland postage-stamp-case' and 'The game of logic', both invented by Dodgson. National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 2nd May.

Continuing

Grant Museum Of Zoology is the only remaining university zoological museum in London. After 8 months of packing, design, construction, unpacking, screwing skeletons together and reorganising 68,000 dead animals, it has started a new life in at a new location in an Edwardian former library. Founded in 1828 as a teaching collection, the museum retains an air of the avid Victorian collector, packed full of skeletons, mounted animals and specimens preserved in fluid. A number of the species featured are now endangered or extinct, including the Tasmanian Tiger or Thylacine, the Quagga, and the Dodo. Many of the exhibits were collected personally by Robert Edmond Grant, a professor who taught zoology to Charles Darwin. The collection includes a selection of spectacular glass models made by the Blaschka family in the late 1800s, specimens collected by Thomas Henry Huxley, and Victor Negus's bisected heads, which are both arresting and beautiful (and reminiscent of the work of the artist Damien Hirst). Whilst maintaining the unique atmosphere of its amazing crammed displays in its former location, this version of the Grant questions what a museum should be and starts discussions about issues in the life sciences today. With a large portion of its cases asking visitors how museums should run and how displays should be designed, there are interactive exhibits that inform how the museum will be rebuilt in a few years time. UCL Rockefeller Building, 21 University Street, London WC1, continuing.

A Collector's Eye: Cranach To Pissarro provides an opportunity for the public to see paintings from a private collection spanning 15th century devotional images to 19th century French Impressionist landscapes. As well as being an exhibition of great breadth and depth of style and time periods, it is also a story of how a collection grows and develops, and how the taste of the collector changes and diversifies. The Schorr Collection was assembled by private collector David J Lewis. It has been built up over the last 35 years and now numbers over 400 paintings. Among the 64 paintings in the exhibition are Lucas Cranach's 'Lamentation over dead Christ', El Greco's 'St John the Evangelist', Rubens's 'Battle of the Amazons' and 'Allegory of the River God Maranon', Guidi Reni's 'The Evangelist St Mark', Salvador Rosa's 'A Philosopher', Delacroix's 'Portrait of King Philip IV of Spain', Camille Pissarro's 'Pommiers dans une prairie', and Sisley's 'Autour de la foret, matinee de juillet' and 'Port-Marly sous la neige'. The exhibition pays tribute to the visual and intellectual curiosity of a collector whose acquisitions now form one of the largest collections of Old Master paintings amassed in England since the Second World War. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, until 15th May.

Laurie Anderson, Trisha Brown, Gordon Matta-Clark: Pioneers Of The Downtown Scene, New York 1970s examines the experimental and often daring approaches taken by three leading figures in the rough-and-ready arts scene that developed in downtown Manhattan during the 1970s. Performance artist and musician Laurie Anderson, choreographer Trisha Brown and artist Gordon Matta-Clark were friends and active participants in the New York art community, working fluidly between visual art and performance, and the city provided a powerful context for their work. On the verge of bankruptcy in the 1970s, the disappearance of manufacturing and other major industries and the withdrawal of public services were turning the New York into a centre of widespread unemployment and lawlessness. Artists responded by taking over derelict spaces to make and exhibit their work, by using the city itself as the medium or setting for their work, by creating opportunities to engage directly with the public out of doors, and by building a vibrant arts community. The exhibition brings together around 160 works by Anderson, Brown and Matta-Clark, many rarely seen before, with some presented for the first time outside New York. Featuring sculptures, drawings, photographs, films, documentation of live performances and mixed media works, posters and other ephemera, the exhibition focuses on the intersections between their practices and explores their mutual concerns - performance, the body, the urban environment and found spaces, and an emphasis on process and experimentation. Barbican Art Gallery, London, until 22nd May.

Afghanistan: Crossroads Of The Ancient World features some of the most important archaeological discoveries from ancient Afghanistan, with precious and unique pieces on loan from the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul, which currently undergoing reconstruction. The geographical position, overland connections and history ensured that Afghanistan, at the centre of the Silk Road, enjoyed close relations with its neighbours in Central Asia, Iran, India and China, as well as more distant cultures stretching as far as the Mediterranean. The exhibition features over 200 stunning objects, ranging from Classical sculptures, polychrome ivory inlays originally attached to imported Indian furniture, enamelled Roman glass and polished stone tableware brought from Egypt, to delicate inlaid gold personal ornaments worn by the nomadic elite. Together they showcase the trading and cultural connections of Afghanistan and how it benefited from being at the crossroads of the ancient world. All of these objects were found between 1937 and 1978 and were feared to have been lost following the Soviet invasion in 1979, the civil war which followed, and the rule of the Taliban. The earliest objects in the exhibition are part of a treasure found at the site of Tepe Fullol, which dates to 2000 BC, representing the oldest gold objects found in Afghanistan, showing how it was already connected by trade with urban civilisations in ancient Iran and Iraq. The later finds come from three additional sites, dating between the 3rd century BC and 1st century AD. These are Ai Khanum, a Hellenistic Greek city on the Oxus river and on the modern border with Tajikistan; Begram, a capital of the local Kushan dynasty, whose rule extended from Afghanistan into India; and Tillya Tepe, (Hill of Gold), the find spot of an elite nomadic cemetery. British Museum until 3rd July.

Land Ladies: Women And Farming In England, 1900 - 1945 reveals the often overlooked story of women in British farming in the first half of the 20th century. Scientific innovation, technological change, and mechanisation in the late Victorian period have helped to create the impression that farming was a 'manly' business, but women have always worked in farming. This exhibition examines the work undertaken by women in the fields, farmhouses, and farmyards of England from 1900 until the end of the Second World War. The focus is on the different branches of agricultural production where women were employed, including dairying, poultry, and horticulture, as well as examining the growth of education and training for women in these areas. It shows how organisations such as the Women's Farm and Garden Association and the Women's Institute helped to promote farm work for women and protect the rights of those women who worked on the land. The exhibition comprises an array of objects from original Women's Land Army uniforms to domestic butter and cheese-making appliances, industrial produce machinery to basketry, and WI banners to egg transport boxes, together with an extensive photographic archive, showing the reality of farming: dirty, unglamorous and very hard work. The Museum Of English Rural Life, University of Reading, until 19th April.

Census & Society: Why Everyone Counts explores how the census has influenced views of society, and how it has in turn been shaped by the values and priorities surrounding its implementation. From the first modern attempt to introduce a census to England in 1753, the idea has generated interest and strong emotion. The census has always been an occasion for satire, subversion and resistance. The exhibition looks at some of these controversies, and some of the ways in which the census has been used as an opportunity in wider political campaigns. It describes the people and works surrounding early calls for a more detailed population count, including the first edition of Thomas Malthus's Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798, and John Graunt's Natural and Political Observations, written some hundred years earlier. The reporting of census results provided new challenges in statistical representation, and encouraged new ways of thinking about the public presentation of data, resulting in examples of 19th century innovation such as Augustus Petermann's population density map, one of the earliest of its kind. The exhibition includes examples of data from censuses alongside materials which illustrate how life in Britain is changing, and the issues of most concern in the fields of families and households, health, employment and migration. It features photographs, maps, charts, public information broadcasts and cartoons, alongside insights from the census data itself. British Library until 29th May.

Concluding

Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices is the first ever exhibition exploring the English language from Anglo-Saxon runes to modern day rap. Driven by developments in religion, politics, technology, economics and culture, English today is spoken by a third of the world's population. This is a unique opportunity to see and hear its evolution from a language spoken on a small island to a global language spoken by 1.8bn people. From Chaucer's Canterbury Tales to Papua New Guinea Pidgin, the exhibition examines where the language is now, where it has come from and where it is heading. It is a 1,500 year history told through the literary canon, looking beneath the tip of the linguistic iceberg at comics, adverts, text messages, posters, newspapers, trading records and dialect recordings that make up the bulk of the English language. The new varieties of the language appearing in world literature and on the internet show that this story is by no means over. Among the 130 items on display are: the earliest surviving copy of the poem Beowulf; the 11th century Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye, the first printed book in English, translated and printed by William Caxton; Captain John Smith's A True Relation, a contemporary description of the first permanent English colony in America; Thomas Hoccleve's The Regiment of Princes poem written for the future king Henry V; an original 17th century King James or 'Authorised Version' Bible; the Victorian Modern Flash Dictionary, which listed popular slang; the original Riot Act; BBC Broadcast English, codifying the correct pronunciation for use on radio in 1929; and Charles C Bombaugh's 1867 poem 'Essay to Miss Catharine Jay', which includes the phrase 'I wrote 2 U B 4'. British Library until 3rd April.

Shining Lights: The Story Of Scotland's Lighthouses tells of the people who designed, built and operated the country's lighthouses, lighting a safe passage for mariners. Encompassing more than 6,200 miles in length and in excess of 760 islands, the jagged Scottish coastline is one of the most dangerous in the world. This exhibition traces the development of lighthouse technology, shows what life was like for the lighthouse keepers, who kept the lights shining for passing mariners, and reflects on the continuing importance of lighthouses today. It features many objects unseen for decades, including spectacular giant optics, lighthouse models, beacons, photographs, paintings, engravings, films, books, and charts dating from as far back as the 17th century. A series of interactive exhibits explain the development of lighthouse technology up to the present day. The exhibition also has a section marking the 200th anniversary of the lighting of the Bell Rock, near Arbroath, the world's oldest surviving rock lighthouse. Designed by Robert Stevenson, the building of the lighthouse was an astonishing feat of engineering that marked the coming of age of the Stevenson family's connection with Scottish lighthouses. Almost all of Scotland's 208 lighthouses were developed, designed and built by a member of this engineering dynasty, whose talents contributed significantly to scientific and technological development across the world. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 3rd April.

Under Attack: London, Coventry, Dresden examines the effects of the aerial bombing raids, known in Britain as the Blitz, that defined the experience of many European cities during the Second World War. It commemorates the 70th anniversary of the start of the Blitz in England and the 65th anniversary of the Dresden Firestorm bombing. This exhibition illustrates the struggle to keep the cities of London, Coventry and Dresden moving during the war. It focuses on the role that public transport played in helping to create a sense of identity and normality. In particular, it seeks to explore the areas of commonality, as well as difference, and convey the shared experience of people from all walks of life - irrespective of nationality. The exhibition looks at some of the myths and reality of the wartime experience, and reviews the changing nature of popular memory in relation to the Blitz and the Firestorm. Displays show how each city prepared for war and the contrasting role of their transport systems. In London and Coventry, public transport was used to evacuate children and others out of the city, whilst in Dresden, the city itself was regarded as a shelter with transport bringing refugees into the centre. In London thousands of the people who remained took shelter by sleeping on the platforms of tube stations every night. The public transport system in London played a significant part in the liberation of women, as they became a major part of the workforce, replacing men who had gone into the services. Posters and photographs, magazines and newspapers bring the period alive, particularly Walter Spradbery's poster 'The Proud City' showing St Paul's cathedral standing defiant amid the rubble, which was reprinted 27,000 times and in several languages. London Transport Museum until 31st March.