News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 25th April 2007

Commencing

Behind The Scenes: The Hidden Life Of Georgian Theatre 1737-1784 offers an insight into the theatrical world of the 18th century, which played a crucial role in the society of Georgian London. It aims to illuminate the theatre's most intimate, notorious and hidden spaces, taking visitors behind the scenes, into areas such as the Green Room and performers dressing rooms. More specifically it explores the lives of Samuel Johnson (of dictionary fame) and the actor manager David Garrick, two of the London theatre world's most influential characters. It covers the period from their arrival in London to Johnson's death, shortly after his meeting with Sarah Siddons, the most famous performer of her age, as commemorated in Frith's painting. Among the items on display are Garrick's powder puff and dressing room mirror, and Johnson's contract for the preparation of his 1765 edition of Shakespeare's plays, along with tickets, playbills and other memorabilia. The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive series of Georgian theatre related events, including tours, lectures, performances and workshops. The house itself, where Johnson lived and worked as he compiled the dictionary, has been restored to its original condition, and houses an extensive permanent collection of Johnsonia, which includes furniture, miniatures, prints and paintings. Dr Johnson's House, Gough Square, London, until 18th September.

Henry Moore: Moore And Mythology examines two rare excursions into the world of classical mythology by the committed modernist. The Rescue, based on Homer's Odyssey, was a melodrama for radio conceived by Edward Sackville-West, with an orchestral score by Benjamin Britten. When the play was published, it was accompanied by Moore's illustrations. This exhibition brings together for the first time a large proportion of the sketchbook Moore used when working on The Rescue, as well as the final published illustrations. These drawings show Moore's close attention to Sackville-West's text, often taking their colour and form directly from his words, while their composition recall Moore's shelter drawings of the same era, emphasising the common humanity of these classic stories. Moore then received another literary commission, to illustrate Promethee, Andre Gide's translation of Goethe's Prometheus, a dramatic fragment taken from Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound. The exhibition also brings together sketches surrounding this project and the resulting lithographs. In these drawings Moore shapes a new vision of Prometheus as a noble human figure rather than the tormented victim often portrayed. Moore worked in the French tradition of the livre d'artiste, going so far as to design illuminated lettering for the title page and elsewhere. The exhibition then explores the lasting effects these projects had on Moore's later sculpture, sketches and lithographs. Henry Moore Foundation, Perry Green, Much Haddam until 23rd September.

Between Worlds: Voyagers To Britain 1700 - 1850 tells the stories of travellers to Britain who caused much excitement, interest and curiosity in the London social circles of their times. The visitors came from places with which Britain had a colonial relationship, including North America, the South Pacific, India and Africa. Each had different reasons for making their journeys, and received markedly varied receptions on arrival. Those featured include the 'Four Indian Kings' of North America, who came to England to offer their assistance against the French in the battle for North America in 1710; William Sessarakoo, a wealthy prince from a West African slave trading family; Mai of the South Pacific, who travelled with Captain Cook and was the object of fascination and curiosity as an exotic spectacle in society drawing rooms; Michael Alphonsus Shen Fu-Tsung, 'The Chinese Convert', who became well known in court circles and helped to catalogue the Chinese manuscripts in the Bodleian library; Raja Rammohun Roy, the Hindu advocate of Unitarianism; Sara Baartman, a member of the Khoisan, South Africa's indigenous first people; Sake Dean Mahomed, 'Shampooing Surgeon' to the Prince of Wales; Joseph Brant, the most influential American Indian leader in Britain during the American Revolutionary War; and Maharaja Dalip Singh, a tragic Sikh prince. Their experiences - and their impact on British society - are brought to life through paintings, objects, drawings and documents. National Portrait Gallery until 17th June.

Continuing

London's Burning: The Great Fire Of London 1666 takes the most famous disaster in London's history and tells its story through the voices of those who lived through it. Focusing on eye witness accounts, it reveals the personal side of the tragedy: Samuel Pepys rescuing his bags of gold at 4am in his nightshirt; Elizabeth Peacock and her three children being left with 'not so much as a stool to sit upon', and the boys of Westminster School helping to fight the fire. The exhibition also explores why a fire that claimed less than 10 lives, scarred London as surely as the Great Plague the year before, which claimed 100,000. A video installation allows visitors to experience how a bustling city, full of merchants, traders and craft workers, collapsed into ruins, and hear from Londoners left to pick through the debris of their lives. A wide range of contemporary objects bear testimony to the strength of the fire, and the desperate and futile efforts made to quell the blaze, such as an oven matching the likely culprit for the fire's origin in Pudding Lane, the hopelessly ineffectual fire fighting equipment of the day, and archaeological finds from a building which stood two doors from the origin of the fire. The exhibition also shows how London responded to the fire and rebuilt itself, including the recriminations, scapegoating and summary justices, the plans for new beginnings, designed by Christopher Wren and others (many cast aside by financial imperatives), the artistic responses to the Great Fire, and the legislative procedures that were its legacy. Museum of London continuing.

Andy Goldsworthy, brings together an unprecedented range of work by the 'ecological sculptor', from hand held and works on paper, to site specific outdoor pieces. Revealing the breadth and direction of Goldsworthy's most recent work, the exhibition features new permanent outdoor commissions, and new indoor stone, tree and clay installations, together with sheep paintings and blood drawings. The works are given context by photographic archive material, sketchbooks and key works from his career. By charting significant and developing themes, the exhibition provides an opportunity to reassess Goldsworthy's range, and the scale and complexity of his work. These themes encompass holes and portals, walking and journeying, documentation, the manipulation of nature and time, agricultural structuring and layering of the landscape, and the performance of the body. Among the new pieces are 'Leaf Stalk Room', comprised of horse chestnut leaf stalks collected from the park; 'Hidden Trees', dry-stone walls in a ha-ha pierced by tree trunks; 'Stone Room' made from Yorkshire sandstone; and 'Stacked Oak', made from interlocking branches of trees felled locally. The unique gallery, with both indoor and outdoor spaces, provides a journey of discovery that suggests ideas fundimental and central to Goldsworthy's artistic quest. Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, until 6th January.

The Art Of Italy In The Royal Collection: Renaissance And Baroque is the first exhibition of Italian art from royal palaces and residences across Britain for over 40 years. It brings together 90 paintings and 85 drawings, most of them masterpieces, and many on public view for the first time. The exhibition celebrates the artistic legacy of Charles I and Charles II, whose taste so profoundly influenced the character of the Royal Collection. Described by the painter Peter Paul Rubens as 'the greatest amateur of paintings among the princes of the world', Charles I built up a collection of Italian masters to rival that of any European court of the period. Although the collection was sold during the Commonwealth, a significant number of paintings were reclaimed or bought back by Charles II after the Restoration. Research for this exhibition has resulted in a number of important re-attributions. Among these, two paintings previously thought to be versions of lost works by Caravaggio, 'The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew' and 'A Boy Peeling Fruit', are now generally recognised by experts as the original works. Among the other highlights are Bronzino's 'Portrait of a Lady in Green', Tintoretto's 'Esther Before Ahasuerus' and 'The Muses', Bellini's 'Portrait of a Young Man', Fetti's 'David with the Head of Goliath', Romano's 'Portrait of Margherita Palaeologa', Garofalo's 'Holy Family', and Lotto's 'Portrait of Andrea Odoni'. The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace until 20th January.

A New World: England's First View Of America features the only surviving original visual records of 16th century America, over 70 drawings, on display together for the first time in 40 years. John White, a gentleman and artist, sailed with the earliest expeditions to Virginia, and produced a series of watercolours that precisely documented the lives and culture of the North Carolina Algonquian Indians, how they farmed and hunted, and the local flora and fauna. White was sent to produce visual records and maps of what Walter Raleigh found on his voyages of exploration, in order to encourage further investment, and colonist settlers, for a permanent English 'plantation' in the New World. His drawings were vitally important in forming the way that Europe viewed America and its inhabitants. They now provide a glimpse of the land and indigenous people as they encountered Europeans for the first time. The exhibition considers the lasting impact John White's watercolours had on the Old World's impression of America. His legacy continued for over 250 years after his death, thanks to the reproduction and adaptation of his work by later artists, a selection of which are included. The exhibition also features Elizabethan portraits, and maritime and scientific instruments, alongside historic maps, books, prints and other objects that relate to Elizabethan navigation, and help to capture the sense of the golden age of exploration. British Museum until 17th June.

Poets In The Landscape: The Romantic Spirit In British Art, celebrates the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Blake by exploring the creative links between poetry, the pastoral vision and British art, from the 1770s to the 1950s. The exhibition opens with George Romney's portrait of William Hayley, patron and friend to Romantic artists and poets, including Blake (who began his illustrated book 'Milton: A Poem' while working for Hayley), William Cowper, John Flaxman, George Romney, Charlotte Smith and Joseph Wright of Derby. Blake's influence on the pastoral imagery of Samuel Palmer during the 1820s is uncovered in the second part of the exhibition. Blake and Palmer's legacy is then reflected in the 1920s 'Etching Revival' period, when artists Paul Drury, F L Griggs, Robin Tanner and Graham Sutherland created poetic and nostalgic images of the English countryside in response to the horrors of the First World War. The final part of the exhibition moves to the 1940s, when artists John Piper, John Craxton, John Minton, Ceri Richards, Julian Trevelyan and Keith Vaughan found refuge from a war torn England in poetry and in a rural and idealised British landscape. Their search for a 'paradise lost' was epitomised by Palmeresque depictions of sleeping poets in bucolic landscapes, and the melancholy images included in the literary publications Penguin New Writing, Horizon and Poetry London, became a platform for the art and poetry of the period. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 10th June.

James 'Athenian' Stuart is the first comprehensive retrospective of the the work of the pioneer of Neo-Classicism, best known for designing Spencer House in St James's Park, and the Royal Hospital Greenwich. It reveals Stuart as an architect, artist and taste maker, and sets his work in the context of 18th century design culture. The creation of the 'Greek Style' and its impact on British design in the late 18th century is largely due to Stuart's landmark publication Antiquities of Athens. This influential book was the first accurate record of Classical Greek architecture, and served as a principal source book for architects and designers well into the 19th century. The exhibition displays Stuart's talents across the visual arts, from paintings to garden monuments, and from interior decorative schemes to medals. Over 200 items on view include rarely seen sketchbooks, paintings, ornamental objects, furniture, architectural designs and specially commissioned photographs of his interiors. Among the highlights are a copy of the book Antiquities of Athens; the Wentworth Woodhouse tripod perfume burner, the first made in metal since ancient times, which became a standard part of the Neo-Classical repertoire; a plate warmer for Kedleston Hall, one of the most ambitious gilt-metal objects of its time; the setee with a curved back, designed specifically to fit into the curved apse of the Painted Room at Spencer House; designs for the decoration of the end walls in a state room at Kedleston Hall; and a portrait medallion of James Stuart made by Josiah Wedgewood. Victoria & Albert Musreum until 24th June.

Concluding

Guercino: Paper To Mind celebrates the work of one of the most significant Italian artists of the Baroque period, Giovanni Francesco Barbieri nicknamed Guercino ("squinter") after a childhood incident left him cross-eyed. A prolific and fluent draughtsman, who was known as 'the Rembrandt of the South', he was hailed for his inventive approach to subject matter, his deftness of touch and his ability to capture drama and movement. This exhibition reflects the Guercino's remarkable technical and compositional ability, as well as his wide ranging choice of subject matter. The works featured include a large study of a male nude, an imaginary landscape, a caricature, a number of informal scenes from everyday life, and exploratory studies for large painted compositions. His sympathy for a variety of human situations is particularly apparent in such humorously observed scenes as 'Interior of a baker's shop'. A prominent feature of Guercino's drawing technique is his varied use of drawing media and techniques. Thus, a goose feather pen dipped in ink enabled him to record his ideas on paper quickly and easily in 'Cupid restraining Mars', characterised by its spontaneity and energy; while in 'A child seen from behind', rubbed red chalk conveys the feel of a baby's dimpled skin; and in 'Two women drying their hair', loosely applied brown wash is used to describe the cascading wet hair drying in front of the open fire. Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, Somerset House until 13th May.

London Before And After The Great Fire: Etchings by Wenceslaus Holler 1607-1677 features work by the artist to whom we owe much of our knowledge about London's appearance before the Great Fire. Wenceslaus Hollar was a prolific artist of buildings and street scenes, who also excelled at drawing maps, panoramas, portraits and costume. This display comprises over 40 of his etchings, including his four large panoramas of Westminster, the City, Greenwich, and the ruins of the 1666 fire - all masterpieces. Hollar's Great Map of London was sadly never completed, but the only surviving sheet, showing Covent Garden and the Strand, is an unrivalled example of a mid 17th century 'map-view', where every building is shown in bird's-eye perspective. He delighted in intricate detail as well as the big picture: close inspection of his London etchings reveals beggars in the streets of Bankside, archers in the fields of Clerkenwell, and men clambering on to platforms to view a Tower Hill execution. Holler's work provides a unique and invaluable record of London during times of catastrophe, and great political and social change. Guildhall Library Print Room, Aldermanbury, London EC2, until 12th May.

Ortonesque: Joe Orton 1933 - 1967 commemorates the 40th anniversary of the death of the playwright Joe Orton, whose outrageously savage and funny take on life's darker issues led to the coining of the adjective 'ortonesque'. The exhibition takes a chronological look at his life and times, including his life in Leicester (where he was born) and London, his relationship with Kenneth Halliwell, the time spent in prison and on the dole, his alter ego 'Edna Welthorpe', his holidays in Morocco, his plays, novels and diaries, and finally, his death and legacy. The exhibition of original items and memorabilia, many of which have never been on public display before, includes the 1967 Evening Standard Award for the play 'Loot', his Morocco diaries, the fur coat that Orton's agent, Peggy Ramsay, bought him (used in the 1987 biographic film Prick Up Your Ears), the Adler typewriter that he used for many years, several of the vandalised Islington Library book covers, and the suitcase he used to visit Morocco and Libya with Kenneth Halliwell, together with literary and personal papers, comprising scripts, photographs, posters, programmes, scrapbooks, letters and manuscripts. New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester, until 7th May.