News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 23rd June 2010


Chiswick House Gardens have reopened after a £12m restoration programme, which has recovered the original vistas and design, and repaired and restored the statuary and garden buildings. Spread over 65 acres, the gardens are a site of international importance as the birthplace of the English Landscape Movement. They were originally created by Lord Burlington and William Kent, who worked on them throughout the 1720's and 1730's, as a setting for Chiswick House, the first and one of the finest examples of neo-Palladian design in England. Highlights of the restoration are the planting of over 1,600 trees, including trees propagated from the original 18th century cedars of Lebanon; the opening up of historic views from the Classic Bridge; the complete restoration of the Grade 1 listed 19th century conservatory, which houses a rare and internationally important collection of camellias; the planting of native trees and shrubs in the Northern Wilderness; and the restoration of the Walled Gardens. Outstanding features of the garden include: The Cascade, an Italian renaissance-style waterfall designed by Burlington and Kent dating from around 1738; Exedra, a lawn lined by alternating cypresses and stone urns closed by a semicircular dark yew hedge, forming a backdrop to ancient Roman and 18th century sculpture; The Raised Terrace, planted with sweet shrubs including roses and honeysuckle, which offers celebrated views of the Villa; and The Italian Garden, designed by Lewis Kennedy and laid out in 1814, an example of the 19th century experiments in colour theory. Chiswick House And Gardens, London W4, continuing.

China: Journey To The East offers a picture of one of the world's most important and influential civilisations. The exhibition of over 100 objects explores 3,000 years of Chinese history and culture through 5 themes: Technology, Leisure, Food, Festivals and Language and Writing. It presents key enduring Chinese inventions such as the abacus (the world's first calculator), the compass, cast iron, paper, printing, paper money, the crossbow, the umbrella, acupuncture, gunpowder and silk and porcelain manufacture. Objects provide insight into the three main Chinese belief systems: Daoism, Buddhism and Confucianism, and shed light on the colourful Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), and the important Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. The exhibition investigates China's writing system, and its development as an art form through objects that range from a writing brush and ink box from the Ming Dynasty, to a jade seal with a dragon carved in the top from 1764, and include oracle bones, a pillow wishing peace and a tile with instructions on how to behave. 2,000 years of play in China is reflected in models of figures playing board games from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 221) through to shadow puppets from the 20th century. In China food and drink traditionally play a vital role in ritual, belief and superstition, and exhibits include ritual wine and food vessels, Ming model funerary foods, rice cultivation and tea cultivation images, chopsticks, rice bowls, jam tarts from a cemetery in the desert, and drunken figures of famous people such as the poet Li Bo. York Art Gallery until 8th September.

Beauty And Power: Renaissance And Baroque Bronzes From The Peter Marino Collection features 30 French and Italian sculptures dating from 1550 to 1750. The collection includes masterpieces by some of the greatest sculptors of their age. The works on view show the gamut of human experience, from 'Samson and the Philistine', attributed to Baccio Bandinelli, to Antonio Montauti's seductive 'Diana'. Highlights of the exhibition include: the French sculptor Corneille van Cleve's masterpiece 'Bacchus and Ariadne'; two figurative groups by the Florentine sculptor Giovanni Battista Foggini, 'Apollo and Marsyas' and 'David and Goliath'; Ferdinando Tacca's 'Hercules and Iole'; Robert Le Lorrain's 'Andromeda'; and a pair of High Baroque vases, decorated with scenes from Roman history. The bronzes presented here illustrate the lively interchange of artists and ideas between Florence, Paris and Rome. They say much about the cultural preoccupations of their age, from the eternal fascination with the ancient world, to more modern concerns, such as contemporary theatre and the legacy of great modern sculptors. Wallace Collection, London, until 25th July.


The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is with us again, as it has been every year since 1769 - the usual collection of the good, the bad and the ugly - from amateurs to RA's, proving that popular taste and critical approval find no meeting point. Around 1,250 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from around 11,000 submissions, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. Over £70,000 is given out to artists included in the exhibition through 10 prizes. This year the show has been masterminded by Stephen Chambers and David Chipperfield with the theme Raw. Highlights include new works by Antoni Tapies, Ed Ruscha, Michael Craig-Martin, Gillian Ayres, Sean Scully, David Hockney and Tracey Emin; plus artists' books featured for the first time. The star work is probably David Mach's 'Silver Streak', a 10ft tall gorilla made of coat hangers. There is also a memorial gallery dedicated to showing the works of the late Craigie Aitchison, Jim Cadbury-Brown, John Craxton, Freddy Gore, Donald Hamilton Fraser, Flavia Irwin and Michael Kidner, plus 3 leaping hare sculptures by Barry Flanagan in the courtyard. The Royal Academy of Arts until 22nd August.

The Glass Delusion takes its name from a form of depression where sufferers imagined themselves to be made of glass, and hence brittle and fragile. The syndrome evokes a psychological separation between reality and imagination, between strength and vulnerability. Glass has the ability to combine opposites and it is this duality that is the inspiration for this exhibition. Contemporary art, artefacts and scientific objects have been brought together to tell the story of human attempts to reconcile the physical and mental worlds. These include: Susan Hiller's video installation 'From Here to Eternity', which comprises a pair of projections on to canvas that trace the pathway of a moving point through a maze; Beryl Sokoloff's 'My Mirrored Hope' immortalising Clarence Schmidt's 'House of Mirrors', a labyrinthine house assembled from wooden window frames, mirrors and found objects; Charles Babbage's scribbling notebook, expressing his first thoughts on Artificial Intelligence; Alan Bennett's 'Klein Bottles', which have no edges, outside or inside but are a single continuous surface; and a new commission by American artist Matt Mullican exploring the visual manifestations of the relationship between information and perception. National Glass Centre, Sunderland, until 3rd October.

Skin considers the changing importance of the largest and probably most overlooked human organ, from anatomical thought in the 16th century through to contemporary artistic exploration. The exhibition focuses on the historical transformation of both the scientific understanding and cultural significance of human skin, plotting it as beliefs, facts and popular mindsets have all evolved. Covering four themes: Objects, Marks, Impressions and Afterlives, it begins by looking at the skin as a frontier between the inside and the outside of the body, which early anatomists saw as having little value, and sought to flay to reveal the workings of the body beneath. It then moves to look at the skin as a living document, with tattoos, scars, wrinkles or various pathologies. Finally, the skin is considered as a sensory organ of touch and as a delicate threshold between life and death. The display incorporates early medical drawings, 19th century paintings, anatomical models and cultural artefacts juxtaposed with sculpture, photography and film works, by artists including Damien Hirst, Helen Chadwick and Wim Delvoye. It is complemented by the 'Skin Lab', which features artistic responses to developments in plastic surgery, scar treatments and synthetic skin technologies, including newly commissioned works by the artists Rhian Solomon and Gemma Anderson. Wellcome Collection, London until 26th September

Rude Britannia: British Comic Art examines the role of humour in British visual culture, from the 1600s to the present day. Through a diversity of art forms, including painting, drawing, sculpture, the comic, film and photography, visual humour is explored in many dimensions. The exhibition is presented and interpreted by some of the country's best known cartoonists and comedy writers, including Steve Bell, Harry Hill, Gerald Scarfe, and the team at Viz Magazine. Drawing on material far beyond the traditional realm of visual satire, the display brings together art, installations and performances, with works by contemporary artists such as Angus Fairhurst contrasted with key historical pieces by James Gillray, Thomas Rowlandson and George Cruikshank. Radio, film and new media play a part in the show, reflecting how technological developments have consistently reinvigorated the genre and engaged new audiences. The exhibition reveals the wide variety of ways in which Britain's thriving tradition of comic art has taken shape, and the links between comic practices of the past and present: Donald McGill's saucy seaside postcards are shown alongside works by Aubrey Beardsley and Sarah Lucas, in a section devoted to all things bawdy; Britain's love of the absurd and the visionary is represented by such diverse material as Edward Lear's illustrations, Spike Milligan's cartoons and David Shrigley's sculpture; and politics, social commentary and morality are each explored, from Hogarth's satires of Georgian society to Gerald Scarfe's caricatures of the Thatcher government. Tate Britain until 5th September.

Silent Witnesses: Graphic Novels Without Words brings together the work of internationally recognised artists and illustrators from around the world working in graphic novel form. Spanning publications from the early 20th century to the present day, the works contained in the display are distinct in that all use the capacity of images alone to communicate narrative, functioning entirely without the use of text. The exhibition thus examines the underlying structure and mechanics of developing a graphic novel, exposing it as a unique art form. It looks at the novel in the true sense, as an extended sequence conveying a narrative. The show includes preparation and working drawings, writings, flat plans, sketch books, character studies and associated works, alongside complete book works, to reveal the various developmental stages in creating a graphic novel. The exhibition combines works from a wide range of cultural contexts, from modern popular works, with scratchboard images by Eric Drooker produced for his novel 'Flood', to woodcuts by Frans Masereel for his 1925 work 'Die Stadt', to original drawings by Sara Varon for her books 'Sweater Weather', 'Robo and Hund' and 'Chicken and Cat'. Also in the show is a large scale flat-print version of 'A-Z' by Lars Arrhenius, a novel produced on the A-Z map of London. Other artists featured include: Hendrik Dorgathen, Max Ernst, Matt Forsythe, Alexandra Higlett, Laurence Hyde, Jason, Andrzej Klimowski, Peter Kuper, Chris Lanier, Otto Nuckel, Shaun Tan, Zoe Taylor, Lynd Ward and Jim Woodring. The Collection, Lincoln, until 30th August.

The Deep plunges visitors into the abyss, 11,000 metres down in the ocean, revealing a weird and wonderful deep sea environment. Combining specially created imagery, real specimens - some on display for the first time - and life size interactive installations, the exhibition takes visitors on an immersive voyage to the planet's final frontier. With bizarre creatures that have adapted to their harsh world in unique ways, it reveals the extraordinary yet fragile biodiversity that exists in the deep oceans, and the work of scientists who are helping to preserve this important ecosystem. Highlights include: over 50 real deep sea creatures, preserved for scientific research; a sperm whale skeleton, together with the creatures that can live on a whale carcass for up to 50 years; a replica of a bathysphere steel ball used to go down to the depths by the first deep sea explorers in the 1930s, just 1.5m across, alongside a life size walk in model of a contemporary submersible; delicate glass models of sea creatures made in the late 1800s by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka; a Japanese spider crab, with a leg span of 4m; a 'mermaid' - actually created from a modified guitar fish; a giant squid and a sperm whale in simulated battle, suspended from the gallery ceiling; a viperfish, with fangs so big they cannot fit in its mouth and slide up the front of its face; and historic specimens and reports from the first major oceanography expedition, made by the Royal Navy ship HMS Challenger in 1872. Natural History Museum until 5th September.


Horace Walpole And Strawberry Hill examines the collection and interiors of Britain's finest example of Georgian Gothic Revival architecture. The exhibition brings together more than 250 works owned by Horace Walpole in his house Strawberry Hill, not seen together since 1842, when they were auctioned by his heir. It shows the breadth and significance of Walpole's collections, ranging from paintings by Joshua Reynolds and Van Dyck, to his unrivalled collection of portrait miniatures, from a pair of gloves that Walpole believed belonged to King James I to an Aztec mirror used by the Elizabethan magician and astrologer Dr Dee. Walpole was one of the most important English collectors of the 18th century, and one of the best known commentators on the social, political and cultural life of his time. He built Strawberry Hill as a summer villa beside the Thames at Twickenham between 1747 and 1790, and designed the interiors together with architects including Robert Adam. The house provided the setting for his collection encompassing paintings, ceramics, glass, silverware, sculpture, furniture, portrait miniatures, arms and armour, historical relics, and rare books and manuscripts. The exhibition recreates several rooms from the house in detail, including the 'Holbein Chamber', a bedchamber designed by Walpole to evoke the court of Henry VIII, with drawings by Holbein on display alongside copies by George Vertue of the Holbein portrait drawings in the Royal Collection; and 'The Armoury', a Gothic interior filled with an array of arms, such as the golden parade armour believed to have been made for King Francis I of France. Other highlights include ceramics and glassware, including Renaissance maiolica, porcelain by Sevres and creamware by Wedgwood. Victoria & Albert Museum until 4th July.

Quilts 1700 - 2010 explores 300 years of British quilt making in the first major exhibition of its kind in this country. It comprises more than 65 quilts from a cot cover made in the 1690s to recent examples by leading contemporary artists including Tracey Emin and Grayson Perry, as well as special commissions by Sue Stockwell, Caren Garfen and Jo Budd. The extraordinary variety of quilts range from the highly decorative and opulent, such as the Bishop's Court Quilt, once believed to have been created by a Duke for a visit from King Charles II in 1670, to modest homemade bed covers, all testifying to the creativity and imagination of the makers. Where appropriate the quilts are displayed on bed mounts as they were originally designed to be seen, including a unique set of 1730 patchwork bed hangings. Highlights include a silk and ribbon cot quilt from Deal Castle, with portraits of the children who slept beneath it and the maker's diary written in code, revealing political intrigue and family life in the 18th century; a cotton coverlet depicting George III Reviewing the Troops, where the maker, an unknown young woman, has inserted her portrait into several of the military scenes; the 1829 Elisabeth Chapman coverlet, commemorating Wellington's Victory at Vittoria, once believed to be a marriage token, but now revealed to be an epitaph connected to a macabre Georgian tale; and the Rajah quilt, made in 1841 by women convicts aboard the HMS Rajah as they were being transported to Van Dieman's Land. There are also prints and paintings, including one by Hogarth, as well as additional contextual material such as personal diaries and keepsakes relating to the quilts and their makers. Victoria & Albert Museum until 4th July.

Curious: The Craft Of Microscopy showcases the photography of Susanna Edwards, providing an opportunity to view objects that are rarely or never seen by the public. Using 9 different microscopes dating back to the 18th century, Susanna Edwards has photographed a collection of Victorian slides to create a series of natural images. Each photograph, taken as the eye would see through a microscope, documents how developments in microscopy have changed the way we see the world.

The show features large scale photographic prints alongside the actual historic slides and the instruments used to capture them. The oldest is a 1730s Culpeper microscope, and the most recent, an Axioskop from 1994. The slides contain a range of natural materials gathered for their aesthetic, scientific and educational qualities, including a cat lung, an insect egg and a salamander foot. The exhibition allows visitors to see real examples of the development of the light microscope over the past 300 years, and reveals the crucial importance microscopes have played in the advancement of medical knowledge, and the understanding of health and disease.

Ivory: Treasures From The Odontological Collection comprises a selection of ivory specimens from terrestrial and marine mammals that have teeth or tusks large enough to be classed as 'ivory', ranging from the extinct woolly mammoth to the elusive narwhal. Also included are a selection of historical medical instruments and dentures fashioned from ivory.

Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons, London, until 3rd July.