News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 25th May 2005


Joshua Reynolds: The Creation Of Celebrity looks at Reynolds not just as a portraitist, but also an impresario and influential figure in society, rather than simply providing a general survey of his work. The exhibition brings together a selection of the greatest portraits by Reynolds, many of them depicting the most famous men and women of the eighteenth century, such as the writer Samuel Johnson, the actress Mrs Siddons, the political philosopher Edmund Burke, the actor David Garrick, the playwrights Oliver Goldsmith and Richard Brindlsey Sheridan, the politician Charles James Fox, the Prince of Wales and Omai, the Tahitian prince who charmed London society, as well as courtesans, aristocrats and military and naval heroes. Collectively, they represented the cream of British society of the era. But Reynolds did not simply paint these individuals, he befriended them, brought them into contact with one another, and shaped their public images - not to mention his own. Indeed, one room in the exhibition is dedicated to Reynolds self-portraits, twenty-seven different works painted over a period of nearly half a century, continually refining his image. As a result, during his lifetime Reynolds was among the most celebrated artists in western Europe, and became the first president of the Royal Academy. In addition to paintings, the exhibition includes prints, caricatures and sculpture, comprising around ninety works in all. Tate Britain until 18th September.

Rush, the world's biggest speed swing, standing 65ft tall, opens this week, the first of its kind outside of America. Reaching up to 75ft in the air, with speeds of up to 40mph, and maximum G-force of 4, it gives riders moments of weightlessness, and more G-force than a NASA astronaut experiences on launching into space. It arrives hot in the footsteps of Slammer, Europe's first sky-swat ride, the ultimate full throttle free-fall experience as its victims are catapulted 360° forward towards the ground from 105ft in the air. Also new this year is Stuntzmania, a return to the good old days of Coney Island stunt shows, including The Wheel of Death, The Dive of Death, (is there a theme here?) Terror Globe Motorbikes and Jackass Car Jumpers. They join the existing Samauri, a pod ride that lifts and rotates, creating G forces of plus 5 and minus 3, as well as a centrifugal force that spins 360°; Colossus, a 10 loop roller coaster with speeds of up to 70mph, and a force of 4Gs; Nemesis Inferno, one of the world's most disorientating, leg dangling suspended experiences; Tidal Wave, Europe's tallest water drop ride; the stomach-churning human egg whisk Vortex, which makes 15 high speed rotations per minute while swinging back and forth 65ft in the air; the gravity-defying 100ft drop Detonator; and X: No Way Out, the world's first dark backwards coaster. All together they provide the most unpleasant experience you can have outside an Islamic fundamentalist regime. Thorpe Park, Chertsey until 31st October.

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy Exhibition not only brings Douglas Adams's iconic story to life through over 200 costumes, creatures and props from the film, but also explores the science featured in his work, from teleportation and supercomputers, to parallel universes and the big bang. The exhibition takes visitors on a journey from Arthur Dent's kitchen to the far reaches of outer space and back. Shown in recreations of settings from the film, such as the Vogon ship‚ the Heart of Gold and the Planet Factory Showroom‚ highlights include: the actual Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy used in the film; the 8ft tall Vogon Captain Jeltz‚ designed and built by Henson's Creature Workshop - plus footage illustrating the Vogons in action; Marvin the Paranoid Android's life-size costume; Deep Thought, the ultimate computer‚ complete with terminals allowing visitors to ask the 'ultimate question'; concept artwork commissioned and created for the film; behind the scenes footage of Garth Jennings‚ Nick Goldsmith‚ Stephen Fry and Martin Freeman; and - beware - a reading of Vogon poetry. In exploring the science behind the story, the exhibition also reveals how other science fiction writers in the past, such as Jules Verne‚ HG Wells and Arthur C Clarke, inspired scientists and inventors. Don't forget your towel - and Don't Panic. Science Museum until 27th November.


Style And Splendour: Queen Maud Of Norway's Wardrobe 1896-1938 is a display of the wardrobe of the British Princess (daughter of Edward VII and Queen Alexandra) who became Queen Consort of the newly independent Norway in 1905. Queen Maud was renowned for her fashionable style, and her clothes document a revolutionary period of fashion history, from the elaborate decorative dress of the Victorian era, to the streamlined chic of the 1930s. This display includes some 50 outfits, ranging from her wedding trousseau of 1896 to the latest Worth designs purchased just months before her death in 1938. Queen Maud's wardrobe encompasses both her public and private lives, from coronation robes, sumptuous state gowns and elegant evening dresses for official occasions, to her riding habits, winter sportswear, and simple tailored suits for afternoons in the garden with her grandchildren. These are accompanied by a wide variety of gloves, hats, shoes and handbags that made the essential finishing touches to the ensembles. She engaged with contemporary fashion throughout her life, and commissioned the great couturiers of the day, notably the French houses of Worth and Morin-Blossier, and the British Redfern and Reville, as well as accomplished dressmakers such as Blancquaert and the Norwegian designer Sylvian. Her wardrobe illustrates the impeccable standards of couture dressmaking and tailoring of the period. Flawlessly beaded gowns, perfectly cut and hand-finished suits, beautifully embroidered and appliqued dresses all exemplify the superb workmanship of the era. Victoria & Albert Museum until 8th January.

Heroes & Villains is a collaboration between the caricaturist Gerald Scarfe and the National Portrait Gallery. It juxtaposes the pen and ink drawings of contemporary and historical figures by the illustrator, animator and designer with portraits from the National Portrait Gallery's collection. Scarfe's distortions of well known figures reveal the wit and vision of an exceptional draughtsman. This is a general retrospective, with subjects as wide ranging as Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Oswald Mosley, Virginia Woolf, Winston Churchill, Graham Green, the Beatles, Margaret Thatcher and Diana, Princess of Wales. In the portraits the sitters are afforded dignity and grace, but then Scarfe tears into them with his customary savagery. Alongside Scarfe's work, there is a display of his historical influences, such as Hogarth and Gillray. In addition, visitors can delve into the world of caricature and portraiture through a range of hands on activities. Millennium Galleries Sheffield until 21st August.

C R Cockerell: The Professor's Dream is an exploration of Cockerell's contribution to British architecture in the early 19th century. Cockerell was one of the most talented British architects of his generation, best known for the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, and the National Monument on Calton Hill in Edinburgh, as well as an archaeologist and a teacher. Before he was 25 or had designed a single building, Cockerell was famous throughout Europe for his part in discovering two of the most important and complete groups of ancient Greek sculpture ever found, the Ægina Marbles and the Phigaleian Marbles. Diaries and other records of his travels played an important part in his work as Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy Schools from 1839 to 1859. This display of plans, sketches, drawings, diaries, reconstructions, watercolours and plaster casts, recording Cockerell's archaeological expeditions, designs and subsequent lecture manuscripts, chart his travels, and how the knowledge he gained, was passed on in the training of architects in Britain. The exhibition takes its title from a spectacular watercolour that illustrates his vision of 4,000 years of Western architecture. In this synoptic image Cockerell shows the fundamental principles of the art of building well passing mysteriously (like the spark of artistic genius between generations) from structure to structure in hereditary succession. Royal Academy of Arts until 25th September.

Castellani And Italian Archaeological Jewellery is the first exhibition to explore in depth the artistic and scholarly contributions to jewellery made by three generations of the Castellani family in 19th century Rome. From the establishment of his workshop in 1814, Pio Castellani's appreciation of the craftsmanship of ancient jewellery, and his desire to improve contemporary Italian craft and design, drove him to pursue the rediscovery of 'lost' arts in jewellery making. These were such ancient techniques as: granulation, the applying of granules of gold to an object's surface; micromosaics, tiny plaques created from hundreds of tesserae, minute pieces of gold, silver or coloured glass; and cameos, biblical and mythological scenes carved into semi-transparent gems such as sapphires and emeralds. Castellani jewellery was at first inspired by Etruscan and early Christian art then being unearthed around Rome, but later went on to embrace Egyptian, Medieval, Renaissance and other classical and historical styles. The Castellani shop by the Trevi Fountain became a compulsory stop on the European grand tour. This exhibition includes over 150 objects, gathered from collections around the world presenting the full range of richly decorated Castellani jewellery, including broaches, necklaces, scarabs, parure and diadems. The Gilbert Collection until 18th September.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, after nearly thirty years, has now fully embraced the great British maxim 'if wet in the church hall', with the opening of the Underground Gallery. The park comprises 500 acres of the landscaped grounds of Bretton Hall, designed in the 18th and 19th centuries, in which are displayed changing exhibitions of around 40 works by Henry Moore, Anthony Caro, Eduardo Chillida, Barbara Hepworth, Anthony Gormley and others. Four years ago, the Longside complex was created, when a series of barns were converted to gallery spaces by Bauman Lyons, to house the Arts Council's national collection of modern sculpture. Its temporary space is currently featuring Size Matters, an exhibition that plays with assumptions, illusions and expectation of appropriate scale, in sculpture, paintings and video. Longside was followed by a new building, designed by Fielden Clegg Bradley, which provides a new entrance, plus the inevitable visitor's centre. Now, from the same team of architects, comes the £3.5m 165ft long Underground Gallery, actually a terrace set into the hillside, like an 18th century ha ha, with one wall of glass. The opening show features a retrospective of William Turnbull's 60 year career, and the new space provides the opportunity to include in the display not just outdoor sculpture in bronze and stone, but also Turnbull's more delicate pieces, with paintings, drawings and prints displayed alongside. Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield until 9th October.

Andreas Slominski is the first solo exhibition in London by the German artist who always shapes the works on view to the location in which they are seen. A notorious prankster, he likes to create an air of artfully manipulated mystery with his work, which is rooted in irrationality and spontaneity, with a dash of Dadaist humour. In his reaction against a world geared to streamlined efficiency and simplicity, Slominski consciously aims for maximum complexity, and uses deliberately labour intensive methods in the engineering of his pieces. He examines everyday activities, and creates preposterous inventions for carrying them out, derived from a fanatical attention to detail (hardly German at all). The other frequent component of Slominski's installations are his custom made traps and decoys, which are diverse in scale and form, depending on the prey for which they are intended - mice, birds, dogs, foxes, leopards or deer. Simultaneously sculptural and functioning objects with potential for brutality, they would work, but that is not the primary reason for their construction, as Slominski aims to ensnare onlookers through their curiosity. A unique opportunity to see objects, interventions and schemes that Slominski has devised specifically for this presentation, and experience the element of surprise that he continually delivers. Serpentine Gallery until 12th June.


Avant-Garde Graphics 1918-1934 gives an insight into the development of modern visual communication and design during the inter-war years. It was a moment of radical inventiveness in the history of art and culture in Europe, and the advance of the machine age brought with it mass production and a new sense of internationalism. This 'heroic' period of modernity found a particularly forceful expression in graphic design and photomontage, with new techniques enabling a fusion of typography, painting and photography for artistic, commercial and political ends. The Futurists were pioneers in this field, exploiting the visual dimension of the written word to dramatic effect. Drawn from one of the world's greatest collections of 20th century graphics - that of Merrill C Berman - this exhibition chronicles the evolution of the movement in works by artists related to the Dutch De Stijl group, French Dadaists, the German Bauhaus, Italian Futurists and the Constructivists of Russia and Central Europe. It comprises over 120 posters by artists including Jean Arp, Herbert Bayer, Willi Baumeister, Theo van Doesburg, John Heartfield, Hannah Hoch, El Lissitzky, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Alexandr Rodchenko, Oskar Schlemmer, Kurt Schwitters and Piet Zwart. Estoric Collection, London until 5th June.

John Virtue London Paintings is an exhibition of the paintings created by Virtue during his two year residency as the National Gallery's Associate Artist, when he was given a studio in which to make new work that somehow connects to the existing collection. Virtue described the process thus: "My day consists of getting up early, drawing from the South Bank of the Thames, drawing from the roof of Somerset House, and finally drawing from the roof of the National Gallery. Then I work on the images here (in the studio) from drawings that I'm making every day." There are eleven paintings in all, four representing the London cityscape looking towards St Paul's Cathedral; four of the city from the roof of Somerset House; and three from the roof of the National Gallery looking towards Trafalgar Square and Nelson's Column. Executed solely in black and white, (sometimes using his hands and J cloths as well as brushes to distribute the paint) they are monumental works, the largest of which is over 22ft across. National Gallery until 5th June.

John Virtue London Drawings comprises over 150 of Virtue's preparatory drawings for the paintings, which he describes as "the compost from which painting develops". The display collates the drawings in three groups of multiple images. Shown in close proximity to one another, the studies build up a picture of how Virtue prepares for a painting, and charts his creative process. One of the paintings - an image of Somerset House measuring 8ft by12ft - is at the heart of the exhibition, and offers a compelling comparison with the drawings.

Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, Somerset House until 5th June.

Ferdinand Columbus: Renaissance Collector is a partial reconstruction of the print collection of Ferdinand, son of Christopher Columbus, the earliest and certainly the largest Renaissance collection known to historians. Throughout his adult life, Ferdinand travelled continuously through Europe, mainly on missions for the Spanish court, during which he went on detours to buy books and prints. The prints themselves were dispersed long ago, but an inventory preserved in Seville from the time of his death describes 3,200 engravings, woodcuts and maps, in addition to a library of 15,000 volumes. This exhibition presents around 150 prints by all the most important Renaissance printmakers. They include works from Italy by Antonio Polllaiuolo, Marcantonio Raimondi and Giovanni Battista Palumba; from Germany by Albrecht Durer, Israhel van Meckenem, Albrect Altdorfer, Hans Baldung, Lucas Cranach the Elder and Hans Weiditz; from Switzerland by Niklaus Manuel Deutsch and Urs Graf; and from the Low Countries by Lucas van Leyden, Jan Wellens de Cock and Jost de Negker. Many of the prints on display are great rarities (some survive in only one impression) and some, such as maps, are large format prints that have rarely been exhibited. One such highlight is a stencil coloured genealogical tree of the House of Charles V by Robert Peril that is 24ft long. British Museum until 5th June.