News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 24th December 2008

Commencing

Darwin is a celebration of the man and his revolutionary theory that changed that changed man's understanding of the world and his place within it. The exhibition retraces Darwin's life changing journey as a young man aboard the HMS Beagle on its 5 year voyage around the world. It contains the clues that helped him develop the idea of evolution by natural selection through notebooks, artefacts, rare personal belongings, and the fossils and zoological specimens he collected on his travels. The objects on display, coupled with illuminating text and films, reveal the patterns Darwin observed among animals that provided the evidence for the theory of evolution by natural selection, and led to the publication of On The Origin Of Species. These include live green iguanas and horned frogs from South America, together with mounted specimens of the animals and birds he saw on his journey, such as sloths, rheas, armadillos and mockingbirds. There is also a reconstruction of Darwin's study at Down House, where he refined his theory, which includes an original handwritten page from On The Origin Of Species, together with family photographs and love letters, and a box filled with shells and family keepsakes, which show a different side to the scientist, as a family man, husband and father of 10 children. The exhibition concludes with an exploration of modern evolutionary biology, and the importance of evolution in understanding how infectious disease causing organisms keep changing as we attempt to control their spread. Natural History Museum until 19th April.

The Glasgow Boys: Drawings And Watercolours is a selection of works by the informal grouping of artists who were inspired by progressive French painting, and produced some of the most decorative and adventurous painting in Scotland at the end of the 19th century. The group of around 20 artists became known as the 'Glasgow Boys', whose leading figures were James Guthrie, George Henry, E A Hornel, John Lavery, Arthur Melville, James Paterson and E A Walton, treated watercolour and pastel as mediums just as noble as paint. The works on display feature drawings and watercolours that mainly belong to the second half of the artists' careers, when their early interest in rustic realism had been replaced by a commitment to decorative and aesthetic effect, and a wider range of subject matter. Highlights include James Paterson's 'Moniaive' and James Guthrie's 'Winter', both of which show a desire to experiment in an almost abstract manner with the forms and shapes found in landscape; Arthur Melville's 'A Byway in Granada', in which he achieved its strong contrast between light and dark by dropping pure pigment onto untouched areas of the wet paper; and George Henry's 'A Japanese Pottery Seller' and 'Japanese Beauty', which mark a high point in his career. Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow, until 16th May.

Magnificence Of The Tzars: Ceremonial Men's Dress Of The Russian Imperial Court 1721 - 1917 is a display of rare and lavishly decorated costumes and uniforms worn by the Tsars and court officials of Imperial Russia, most of which have never been publicly exhibited before, either in Russia or abroad. These come from the Moscow Kremlin Museums, which together with the Armoury Chamber, form Russia's oldest national treasury, and their collections include the dress of the emperor and other participants in ceremonies at court. Over 40 ensembles include the extensive silver and gold embellished wardrobe of Peter II, ranging from brocade jackets to formal nightgowns made of satin and lined with fur, and the coronation uniforms of the succeeding seven Tzars, concluding with the 5m long ermine trimmed Imperial coronation mantle of Nicholas II, together with dress uniforms of court officials, coachmen, postilions and other servants. These spectacular garments show the work of the most eminent master craftsmen of the period, giving a taste of the legendary magnificence and luxury of the Imperial Russian Court. In addition, there are hats and boots, dress weapons worn at court, an enamelled gold snuff box, a jewelled gunpowder flask, a pocket telescope, a herald's staff, insignia, jewellery, illustrated books and portraits of the Tzars. Victoria & Albert Museum until 29th March.

Continuing

War And Medicine looks at the continually evolving relationship between warfare and medicine, beginning with the disasters of the Crimean War in the 1850s and continuing through to today's conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. As humankind has developed increasingly sophisticated weaponry with which to harm its enemies, medicine has had to adapt to cope with the volume and the changing nature of resulting casualties. The exhibition highlights the personal experiences of surgeons, soldiers, civilians, nurses, writers and artists, and looks at the impact of war on the 'home front' as well as on front line medicine, considering the long term implications for society of the traumas suffered and the lessons learned. Central to the exhibition is the uncomfortable and sometimes paradoxical relationship between war and medicine and the question of their influence upon each other. It embraces a wide range of subjects - from the pioneering plastic surgery techniques first developed during the First World War to treat disfiguring facial wounds, through to the recent controversies surrounding Gulf War Syndrome and the diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The display of over 200 exhibits - objects, artefacts, and recordings, as well as interpretative material, film and artworks - looks at some of the extraordinary difficulties faced by doctors, surgeons, administrators, nurses and their patients in war time. It also considers what has been learned from such extreme circumstances and the wider implications for society and public health in general. Wellcome Collection, London until 15th February.

Titanic Honour And Glory features many rare and previously unseen artefacts from both passengers and crew who travelled on the fateful maiden voyage of the White Star liner in April 1912. The exhibition brings to life some of their stories and the sights that they encountered, contrasting the ultimate luxury planned for their time on board the new ship, and the horror of what they encountered. It has been put together from the collection of Sean Szmalc and Margot Corson, who have collected artefacts from R.M.S Titanic for the past 20 years. Among the items featured are china dinner plates and a silver sugar dish from the First Class dining room; a Steiff bear that belonged to William Moyes, senior sixth engineer, as a good luck charm; a pocket watch that stopped as it entered the freezing water at 2.28am 96 years ago; and a solid silver cup, presented to the Captain, Edward John Smith, marking 25 years service to the White Star Line, together with plans, brochures, photographs and drawings of its cabins and public rooms. The exhibition also includes rare materials and ephemera from the Titanic's often forgotten sister ships, Olympic and Britannic, including oak paneling, china, glassware, cutlery and silverware. Accompanying the genuine artefacts are props and costumes used in the film Titanic, including the 'Heart of the Ocean' necklace. Milestones Museum, Churchill Way West, Basingstoke, Hampshire, until 25th February.

The Art Of The Poster: A Century Of Design is a retrospective celebrating the outstanding poster design that has been a constant part of London's public transport network. The show explores not only the aesthetics of the posters, but their cultural references, and their ability to change the way people thought about the underground. Featuring leading artists of their day, and many previously unseen artworks, the exhibition explores how the first graphic poster commission for London Underground in 1908 led to the company becoming a pioneering patron of poster art, a legacy that continues today. Taking a chronological and thematic approach, the display includes over 60 original artworks, supported by photographs, letters, concept sketches and artist's materials. The artists and designers whose work is featured include John Hassall, Edward Bawden, Dora Batty, Edward McKnight Kauffer, John Nash, Edward Wadsworth, William Roberts, Abram Games, Howard Hodgkin and Alan Fletcher. The range of styles in their work reflects the changes of artistic fashion through the century. The exhibition reveals stories behind some of the works on display, such as why a painting by John Nash was never published; how John Bellany's misunderstood Chinatown has been reinterpreted by today's Chinese community; and why a controversial poster by Edward Wadsworth in the 1930s was withdrawn from public display. Alongside the original artworks there are reprints of 20 historic posters. London Transport Museum until 31st March.

Saul Steinberg: Illuminations is a retrospective featuring drawings, collages and sculptural assemblages by the American artist whose work filled the pages and covers of The New Yorker for six decades. Saul Steinberg originally studied as an architect, before turning to cartoons and illustration, and he also worked as a propagandist, a fabric and card designer, a muralist, a fashion and advertising artist, a stage designer and a creator of image-filled books. This exhibition, featuring over 100 items, covers the whole range of his work, from high art to low, from murals to magazines, from caricature to cartography, including some of the 1,200 covers and editorial illustrations he created for the New Yorker. Steinberg invented a new form of 'conceptual cartooning', or cartooning-about-cartooning, and his images became a byword for visual sophistication, associated with New York. Among the highlights are: 'The Line' - a strip drawing 33ft long, following the mutations of a continuous, straight, horizontal line, which becomes, in turn, a washing line, the top of a bridge, the wainscot of a room, the edge of a table, the water surface of a swimming pool seen in cross section, and the horizons of several kinds of landscape, before ending up as a plain line being drawn by a hand; 'Techniques at a Party' - showing a gathering of 18 guests, each realised in a different manner: very solid, very feint, very messy, pointillist, Picassoid - each portraying the guest's party personality; and most famously, 'View of the World from Ninth Avenue' - a subjective map, showing the New Yorkers parochial awareness of the rest of the planet: 10th Avenue is full of detail, but beyond the Hudson river things start to foreshorten abruptly. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 15th February.

Ancient Egypt Gallery is a new gallery that examines the world of the Pharaohs and the culture that built the Pyramids and the Sphinx. It houses some 1,500 exhibits that follow the development of the kingdom from the time of Menes, the first King of Egypt, who reigned in around 3000 BC, through to Queen Cleopatra, in around 30 BC, and the Greek and Roman periods. There is a full scale tomb reconstruction, based on a 4,000 year old burial place. Unsurprisingly, the display offers a detailed examination of the burial process, and the preservation techniques used on corpses, with artefacts including the coffin of Pediamunnebnesuttauwy, a Wab priest of the god Amun; the mummy said to have inspired H Rider Haggard's classic fantasy adventure She; a set of canopic jars belonging to Wahhor, the son of Ptahhotep (in which his internal organs were buried); a belt worn by the last great Pharaoh, Rameses III; a Scarab ring inscribed with head of Hathor, uraei, cartouche of Tuthmosis III; together with a collection of spells, mummified cats, hawks and crocodiles put in coffins to protect the bodies and souls of the dead from bad spirits. Other exhibits include a wooden therapeutic shoulder harp; a mummified hand; fragments of tomb carvings; a child mummy; and papyri recording the trials of people accused of tomb robbing. There is also an interactive exhibit that allows visitors to 'unwrap' a mummy. World Museum Liverpool, continuing.

Soho Nights is the second part of a project documenting the vibrant character of London's Soho from the 1930s to the 1950s, and the first exhibition to be staged in the Photographers' Gallery's new location. This exhibition explores Soho after dark, and the energy and excitement found at its various theatres and coffee bars. Contrasting formal dancing venues and the spontaneity of the jive scene, it draws on the archives of the legendary magazine Picture Post, and the film maker Ken Russell's series of photos from the Cat's Whiskers Coffee Bar - which was always so packed that hand gestures replaced conventional dancing, leading to the birth of the hand jive. The exhibition includes vintage prints, original copies of Picture Post and specially enlarged printed contact sheets. Editorial stories such as 'The Making of a Glamour Girl' and 'Excitement in the Making' capture the pace and excitement of night time Soho. Picture Post was one of the most successful magazines to be published in the UK, from its launch on 1st October 1938 to its last issue on 1st June 1957. It attracted the best photographers, and captured the dynamism and vitality of Britain by focusing on the lives of ordinary people. Its emphasis on popular entertainment and the rise of youth culture meant that the clubs and cafes in Soho were fashionable and popular subjects. Photographers' Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies Street, London W1, until 8th February.

Concluding

Cold War Modern: Design 1945 - 1970 is the first exhibition to examine contemporary design, architecture, film and popular culture on both sides of the Iron Curtain during the Cold War era. The decades after the Second World War saw an intense rivalry between the world's two superpowers: the Soviet Union and America. They engaged in aggressive contests to build their own spheres of influence, and vying to outdo one another, each deployed displays of modern living, signs of progress and images of future utopias. Art, architecture and design were drawn into this Cold War competition to demonstrate a superior vision of modernity. The exhibition brings together over 300 exhibits from around the world, with highlights including: a Sputnik and an Apollo Mission space suit; vehicles such as a P70 Coupe car (predecessor of the plastic Trabant), a Messerschmidt KR200 micro-car and Vespa motor scooter; films that shaped popular imagination such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dr Strangelove and Goldfinger, with designs by Ken Adam; furniture made from new materials such as Eero Aarnio's Globe Chair, and the Garden Egg Chair by Peter Ghyczy; futuristic fashion by Paco Rabanne and Pierre Cardin; imagined architecture schemes for cities and dwellings by Le Corbusier, Richard Buckminster Fuller and Archigram, including a reconstruction of 'Oasis No 7', an inflatable environment by Haus-Rucker-Co; and works by Pablo Picasso, Richard Hamilton, Robert Rauschenberg, Lucio Fontana and Gerhard Richter, illustrating how artists responded to the dominant political and social ideas of the time. Victoria & Albert Museum until 11th January.

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.

Turmoil And Tranquillity: The Sea Through The Eyes Of Dutch And Flemish Masters 1550 - 1700 focuses on the emerging genre of maritime art in the Low Countries, during the 17th century. The exhibition of some 70 paintings examines the emergence of the seascape as an independent painting style, with works by early Flemish masters including followers of Jan Brueghel the Elder and Joachim Patinir, Cornelis van Wieringen and Andries van Eertvelt. It displays highly dramatic seascapes and depictions of storms and shipwrecks, which characterised Dutch seascapes of the period. The use of allegory, with examples depicting ships as symbols for the soul, is traced in paintings such as the 'Wreck of the Amsterdam' by an anonymous Flemish artist and Adam Willaerts's 'Jonah and the Whale'. The interplay between paintings of tranquil coastal waters and the assertion of a Dutch national identity is explored through the work of Jan Porcellis, Simon de Vlieger, Ludolf Backhuysen and Jacob van Ruisdael. Depictions of Mediterranean and Scandinavian scenes and other foreign shores, are examined through works by Hendrick van Minderhout, Simon de Vlieger, Gasper van Wittel (called 'Vanvitelli') and Pieter Mulier the Younger, 'the Cavaliere Tempesta'. The demand for paintings recording battles at sea and illustrious naval heroes is illustrated with works by Abraham Storck and the Willem van de Veldes, who moved to London, and for 20 years had their studio in the home of this exhibition. The Queen's House, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich until 11th January.