Private View held by Richard Andrews
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.
Turner To Samuel Palmer: British Watercolours 1800 - 1850 considers the high point of the watercolour medium in the first half of the 19th century, when the technical, intellectual and social conditions made it a major art form. Principal figures, such as JMW Turner, John Sell Cotman and Peter de Wint, are shown alongside lesser known names who are rarely exhibited, like John Glover and George Campion. While landscape forms an ongoing theme, this display also shows the watercolour medium being adopted for portraiture and figuration. The age of Victorian travellers is represented, and a section brings together artists who pursued an intense visionary approach towards nature, including William Blake and Samuel Palmer. Birmingham Art Gallery until 2nd May.
Chopin: The Romantic Refugee examines the ways in which Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin's music displays his Polish patriotism, in the context of the political sympathies for Poland that were current in France and England during his lifetime. Born 200 years ago, Chopin was a child prodigy whose brilliance as a pianist quickly spread beyond his native Poland, and a tour of Europe cemented his reputation as a composer of startlingly original piano music. Poland was variously partitioned between Russia, Prussia and Austria in the late 18th century, and in 1831 the Kingdom of Poland, established at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, fell under Russian rule. Chopin's nationalist sympathies prevented him from returning to Warsaw after his tour of Europe, and he spent the rest of his life in exile, mainly in Paris, where he associated with the leading writers, artists and composers. The exhibition comprises original manuscripts of several of his most famous compositions, portraits, letters and historic documents. Among the highlights are 6 original music manuscripts in Chopin's hand, including the A major Polonaise, and his late masterpiece, the Barcarolle; a signed copy of Adam Mickiewicz's national epic Ksiegi narodu polskiego; 2 portraits of Chopin, on show in public for the first time; Chopin's death mask, and a plaster cast of his left hand; and rare historic recordings, including the Funeral march played in 1903 by Raoul Pugno, who had studied with Chopin's pupil Georges Mathias, and recordings of Chopin's songs by the Polish soprano Marcella Sembrich. British Library until 16th May.
Henry Moore reveals the range and quality of work by the British artist who was at the forefront of progressive 20th century sculpture. Bringing together the most comprehensive selection of Henry Moore's works for a generation, the exhibition presents over 150 of his significant works, including stone sculptures, wood carvings, bronzes and drawings, with the largest number his reclining figures ever to be brought together. Moore first emerged as an artist in the wake of the First World War, in which he served on the Western Front. This exhibition emphasises the impact on his work of its historical and intellectual contexts: the trauma of war, the advent of psychoanalysis and new ideas of sexuality, and the influence of primitive art and surrealism. The show explores the defining subjects of Moore's work, including the reclining figure, showing its development over the course of his career, including threatening and sexualised works, which suggest the influence of Freud and psychoanalytical theories, such as 'Reclining Figure'; the iconic mother and child, ranging from the nurturing bond of 'Mother and Child' to 'Suckling Child'; abstract compositions such as 'Composition'; the influence of world cultures through his primitive masks and works such as 'Girl with Clasped Hands'; and seminal drawings of London during the Blitz, the depictions of rows of sleeping figures lying huddled in claustrophobic tunnels, capturing a sense of profound humanitarian anguish and the fragility of the human body, which helped to build the popular perception of the Blitz. Tate Britain until 8th August.
Gallery Of Costume has reopened after a 2 year, £1.3m refurbishment, which included the creation of new gallery space, a lecture room and education workshop, and restoration work to the Grade II listed Georgian building. The collection comprises more than 20,000 pieces, covering clothes, shoes and accessories, including some incredibly rare, historical items. It charts the history of clothes for men, women and children, from 17th century work-wear, to the designs of modern fashion icons, including Vivienne Westwood, Zandra Rhodes, Gianni Versace, Philip Treacy and Alexander McQueen. Many of the clothes represent high fashion of the day, while other, much rarer items represent the basic but equally interesting dress of working people, such as the clogs and shawls of Lancashire weavers. The gallery's latest acquisition, a fuchsia pink Givenchy couture dress designed for and worn by Audrey Hepburn in 1967, is on display for the first time, alongside one-offs by fashion houses such as Hardy Amies, Balenciaga, Chanel, Courreges, Worth, and Yves Saint Laurent. The gallery now has space for temporary exhibitions, the first of which is Suffragettes To Supermodels, celebrating a century of fashion from 1910 to the present day. Platt Hall Museum, Rusholme, Manchester, Suffragettes To Supermodels until 4th September.
Paul Sandby RA (1731 - 1809): Picturing Britain celebrates one of the Royal Academy of Arts' Foundation Members, regarded as the 'father of English watercolour'. The innovations and subject matter that Paul Sandby introduced into the practice of watercolour painting in Britain had a profound influence on artists of successive generations, including Thomas Girtin and JMW Turner. However, from the mid 19th century, Sandby's work slipped into obscurity. This exhibition of some 80 works highlights the range and variety of his techniques and subject matter, from exquisite watercolour depictions of the British countryside, from Surrey to Scotland by way of Wales, to print series of street vendors, which capture everyday life in 18th century London with Hogarthian wit. Through his extensive tours, initially as a military draughtsman and later as a professional artist, Sandby pioneered landscape painting. He both sought new sites and portrayed familiar ones with a fresh eye, capturing the diverse nature of the landscape of his day, and provides an important record of a country experiencing rapid social, economic and political change. The exhibition focuses on the finest examples of Sandby's work from a career which spanned 50 years, including the majestic landscape 'The Rainbow', and the depiction of 'Part of Wenlock Abbey in Shropshire', together with works which demonstrate the exceptional range of his creative output, from maps of North Britain (one of which is over 3m in length), to paintings, prints and his set of 12 London Cries, including the curiously titled 'My Pretty Little Gimy Tarters'. Royal Academy of Arts until 13th June.
Painting History: Delaroche And Lady Jane Grey examines Paul Delaroche's 'The Execution of Lady Jane Grey' in the context of his historical paintings, particularly the scenes from English history, which made his reputation. The exhibition features 7 of Delaroche's major paintings, including 'The Princes in the Tower', 'Young Christian Martyr', 'Strafford on his way to Execution' and 'Cromwell and Charles I'. Displayed alongside, are Delaroche's preparatory drawings for Lady Jane, and comparative paintings and prints by his contemporaries, including Eugene Lami, Claude Jacquand and François-Marius Granet. In post-revolutionary France, artists began to combine monarchist sympathies with a Romantic interest in English literature and history, and like many of his peers, Delaroche was preoccupied with the themes of usurpation and martyrdom. The exhibition also considers Delaroche's historical paintings in light of his close relationship with the theatre. From the 1820s, there was an increasing tendency in French theatre to draw on pictorial forms, and for plays to be divided into so-called 'tableaux' as well as acts. This had a profound influence on Delaroche, who was also keenly receptive to the spatial possibilities offered by stage craft. Meanwhile, his work lent itself to dramatic recreation, and on several occasions, his paintings were represented on the stage.
A Masterpiece Recovered: Delaroche's Charles I Insulted, an accompanying exhibit, is Delaroche's recently recovered monumental painting 'Charles I Insulted by Cromwell's Soldiers', on display for the first time in recent history. The work was damaged by shrapnel during the Blitz, after which it was rolled up and evacuated to Scotland, where it has remained in storage. Presently in the process of conservation, the painting retains its war wounds, but Delaroche's scene remains entirely legible and has lost none of its emotive intensity. National Gallery until 23rd May.
Amber: Treasures From Poland offers a unique opportunity to see some fascinating and beautiful artefacts from the Polish national collection of works in amber. This exhibition introduces amber from prehistory to natural history, looking at how people related to amber from the Stone Age onwards, and at the techniques and skill of the craftsmen who created some of the finest examples of amber art ever seen. From the earliest times, the southern shores of the Baltic Sea have been associated with the gathering, trading and working of amber. It is a natural substance found in many varieties of colours and forms, which has been used by man since the ice sheets retreated 10,000 years ago. Amber is used around the world for medical or spiritual wellbeing, for adornment or decoration, and for scientific reasons. Most exhibits in this show are from Malbork Castle, which houses the national collection of Baltic amber artefacts, comprising some 2,000 items. Also included are works from the Gdansk Amber Museum, as well as a collection of insects trapped in amber and some historical amber artefacts from the resident collection. Highlights include the famous Gierłowska lizard, the recently discovered piece of amber containing an almost complete lizard; the 17th century Michael Redlin Casket, constructed of oval plates with eglomise'e technique engravings of ocean scenes; a 17th century home altar, with a relief illustrating the Last Supper; and the 18th century Poniatowski cabinet, containing engraved scenes and inscriptions relating to the most significant events from the life of Stanislaw August. Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow, until 17th April.
War, Plague And Fire is a new gallery telling the story of London from the accession of Elizabeth I, through the ravages of the English Civil Wars, to the cataclysmic disasters of the Great Plague of 1665, and the Great Fire of 1666. During this turbulent period, London expanded beyond the bounds of the Roman city wall and, through the enterprise of trading companies, began its transformation into a world class city. Displays of artifacts and documents bring alive the key events of the period: the Civil War and the execution of King Charles I; the Great Plague, which killed around 100,000 Londoners; and the Great Fire, which destroyed a third of London in just 5 days. Highlights include: a detailed model of the Rose Theatre, where Shakespeare performed; a collection of delftware pottery; two printing plates of the Copperplate map - London's earliest known map; the tunic believed to have been worn by Charles I at his beheading, complete with blood stains; Oliver Cromwell's death mask; a collection of Jacobean jewels; documents and objects from the Great Plague; evocative paintings of the Great Fire; various objects melted by the heat of the Fire, including a glass window and a pottery jar; and back on display after three years refurbishment, with new fibre optics, visual and sound effects, the Great Fire Experience, the 96 old model that is one of the museum's most loved exhibits. Museum of London, continuing.
Identity: Eight Rooms, Nine Lives looks at how science has attempted to determine human identity, and how we ceaselessly try to determine our own sense of self. The exhibition explores contributions made by diverse individuals spanning the worlds of science, the arts, and history, who have provided a fuller understanding of what distinguishes each one of us, as well as a set of challenging questions about our own sense of our individuality. It is framed around eight rooms, each showcasing the life and work of an individual or individuals whose lives or achievements have influenced our thinking about human identity. The individuals are: Sir Alec Jeffreys, a British geneticist who developed the technique of DNA profiling; April Ashley, one of the first people in Britain to undergo gender reassignment; Claude Cahun, who created a remarkable series of photographic self-portraits during the 1920s and 1930s; Fiona Shaw, the actress who roles have included Shakespeare's Richard II; Sir Francis Galton, who is credited with the invention of fingerprinting; Franz Joseph Gall, a 19th century pioneer of phrenology; The Hinch Family, who have had twins in their family for three generations; and Samuel Pepys, whose detailed private diary is one of the most important primary sources for the English Restoration period. Wellcome Collection, London, until 7th April.
Warriors Of The Plains: 200 Years Of Native North American Honour And Ritual explores the world of Native North American warfare and ritual. The exhibition focuses on the material culture of Native North American Indians of the Plains between 1800 and the present, and the importance of the objects in a social and ceremonial context. Men of these tribes were expected to join a 'warrior society', a social, political and ritual group that engaged in warfare and organised ceremonial life. The societies played a prominent role in battles, offering members the opportunity to gain honours through individual acts of bravery such stealing horses, capturing women, and taking scalps during war raids, but also had a rich ritual life that was marked by a strong sense of spirituality. In their ceremonies society members made use of objects such as pipes, rattles and headdresses, as these were significant to their shared ideas of ritual and honour. The exhibition includes examples of feather headdresses, shields, moccasins, painted hides, scalps, pipes, tomahawks, traditional and contemporary costumes, and ceremonial face painting. Although many of these items seem initially familiar from popular culture, the exhibition uncovers the deeper ritual significance of these iconic objects. The legacy of the warrior societies is also examined, revealing how crucial they are in the maintenance of tribal identity among Plains Indians today. British Museum until 5th April.
Sargent, Sickert, Spencer focuses on three of the most original painters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although at first glance the lives and careers of John Singer Sargent, Walter Sickert and Stanley Spencer appear disparate, this exhibition shows that their lives and careers intersected in a number of ways. Comprising over 70 works, from landscapes and portraiture, to interiors and nudes, and including little seen sketches and studies, the show examines what divided these painters stylistically, and what united them artistically. The exhibition explores a number of themes: Artists On The Move: with images of locations as diverse as Sargent's Jerusalem, Corfu, Sicily and Majorca, Sickert's Paris, Dieppe and London and Spencer's Sarajevo, with particular focus upon Sargent and Sickert's views of Venice; War Zones, with depictions of soldiers and military life by Sargent and Spencer, and their friends and associates, including Henry Tonks and Muirhead Bone; Music, Music Halls And Theatres, surveying Sickert's images of music and performance, in Paris, London and Dieppe; Landscapes, from Sargent's 'Olives in Corfu' to Spencer's 'Landscape in North Wales'; Interiors And The Nude, with their frequently unsettling depictions of nude female models, such as Sickert's 'Mornington Crescent Nude' and Spencer's 'Self-Portrait with Patricia Preece'; and God And Love, examining Spencer's overarching themes, in such visionary works as 'Love Among the Nations' and 'Love on the Moor'. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, until 5th April.