Private View held by Richard Andrews
Painting, Passion and Politics: Masterpieces From The Walpole Collection is an exhibition of paintings with an unusual history. Sir Robert Walpole, Britain's first Prime Minister, assembled one of the 18th century's most famous art collections for his estate at Houghton Hall in Norfolk. While in office, Walpole hung many of the pictures in 10 Downing Street. In 1778 his mercenary grandson caused a scandal by selling 204 works from the collection to Catherine the Great. This exhibition presents 34 of those paintings, most returning to England for the first time in over 200 years. Among these are works by 17th century Flemish, Dutch and Italian masters such as Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony Van Dyck, Frans Snyders, Guido Reni, Carlo Maratti and Salvator Rosa. In addition there are paintings by Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain, plus a work by Bartolome Murillo in its original frame designed for Houghton by William Kent. The paintings are accompanied by Renaissance sculpture, 18th century furniture and other materials acquired for Houghton Hall. Hermitage Rooms at Somerset House until 23rd February.
The British Empire & Commonwealth Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the rise and fall of the British Empire. It covers the period from the early voyages of exploration in the 16th century, through the height of Empire in the late 1800s, to the break up of Empire and the emergence of the Commonwealth in the second half of the 20th century. £8m of private funds has been spent on its creation, and the restoration of the Grade 1 listed Old Station building, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, in which it is housed. The sixteen galleries are broken down into three phases: Britain Builds An Empire, has a wide range of objects from around the world, including porcelain, silks and furs, and a reconstruction of a Regency merchant's home in Britain, showing the influence of world trade. The Rise Of Victoria's Empire, features a huge painting of the Delhi Durbar, plus rare footage of the 1902 Durbar, a 10ft Victorian Clock Tower representing the standardization by the British of weights, measures, currency and time in the Empire, a recreation of a 19th century Missionary Chapel, and a Trompe L'oeil depicting an Imperial exhibition. End Of Empire, includes rare film showing aspects of colonial life in Africa and India in the 20's and 30's, and an installation with personal reflections on life in the colonies and immigration to Britain. The British Empire & Commonwealth Museum, Bristol continuing.
The Crystal Palace - Reinventing The Chandelier is a collection of chandeliers commissioned from some of the world's most innovative designers by Swarovski, the Austrian crystal company. As the nights draw in the lights go on, and among this spectacular collection are: Blossom, a crystal replica of a bough of blossom created by the Dutch product designer Tord Boontje, and Glitterbox, a contemporary reworking of an Art Deco boxed chandelier made by the Austrian designer Georg Baldele. Also on display is Crystal Frock, a model of a full-skirted fairytale frock made in pale pink crystals by the Dutch designer Hella Jongerius. Design Museum until 5th January.
David Wilkie: Genre Painter celebrates the work of one of the most spectacularly successful British artists, who, despite being compared to Hogarth, and receiving the tribute of a painting by Turner commemorating his death, is now little known. Wilkie specialised in scenes of everyday, domestic life - genre painting - which were in some ways the equivalents of modern soap operas, being based on the little dramas of home life with which everyone could identify. The greatest years of Wilkie's popular acclaim were during the Napoleonic Wars, when he created images of the ordinary man and woman, which made an enormous emotional impact at a time of national crisis. His pictures were all the more effective by virtue of their psychological realism, telling a complex emotional story, by combining warm-hearted humour with more ambiguous small details. Wilkie was also the most technically gifted British painter of the Romantic period, with a striking ability to render the reality of things, and he drew comparisons to the Old Masters with his depictions of the human form. This is the first major survey in Britain of Wilkie's extraordinary achievements for over forty years, and includes many virtually unknown works from private collections. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 1st December.
In Splendid Isolation is a 'through the looking glass' experience, with new works by Helen Maurer and Sarah Woodfine which play with perception and illusion. Helen Maurer explores the properties of light and glass, using overhead projectors and fibre optics to create scenes. Everyday glass objects and layers of glass sheets are arranged on projectors and shelves, so that the light source casts or reflects an image onto a wall. Sarah Woodfine's meticulous pencil drawings of buildings play with perspective, slipping between two and three-dimensional realities. These include flat-pack models of Tudor-style barns and cottages, which are not fully functional and point toward an illogical place - a shadowy realm where apparitions reach out and unspeakable terrors lie behind their two dimensional walls. Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth until 19th October.
Japanese Prints During The Allied Occupation 1945-1952 shows how Japan recovered culturally after its disastrous defeat in the Pacific War in 1945. It examines how one school of printmakers, under the leadership of Onchi Koshiro, found themselves as artists among the spokesmen for a new search for the nation's heart in its aesthetic traditions. Connoisseurs among the occupying forces and administrators rapidly appreciated their work, and an important part of this process was the meeting of Onchi and his circle, together with another artist Munakata Shiko, and the American graphic artist Ernst Hacker. This exhibition is principally comprised of material collected by Hacker at that time, including prints, printed books, archives and contemporary photographs, which were recently acquired by the museum and are on public display for the first time. By 1952, when the Allied Occupation ended, Onchi and Munakata were being eagerly collected in the USA. The two are now recognised throughout the world as Japan's greatest 20th century print artists, but it was the Americans who introduced them to the world. This exhibition provides an opportunity not only to see their works, but also to appreciate Japanese society in the transitional period under the Allied Occupation. British Museum until 1st December.
Over The Rainbow: Selected Works By Peter Blake is an update on the recently knighted (and unbelievably 70 year old) grandfather of British pop art. Since his retrospective at the National Gallery six years ago, Blake apparently considers himself in semi retirement, producing only small shows which he calls 'encores'. This particular encore, which is the first exhibition of his own material Blake has curated outside London, focuses on printed works. His images are fuelled by a love affair with the ephemera of consumer culture from the 19th century to the present day. Blake is best known for the brightly coloured works he created during the 1960s, which conjure up the vitality and excitement of Carnaby Street and Swinging London. The silkscreen prints, which mix newer work with the familiar, include his celebrations of the Fab Four, and his series of images of bikini clad 1960s fantasy girl Bobbie The Babe. There is also the first wood engraving he created after leaving college. Harley Gallery, Worksop 01909 501700 until 13th October.
The Rolling Stones By Gered Mankowitz is the first exhibition of the most famous collection of photographs of the Stones, documenting arguably their most important musical period, onstage, backstage and at home from 1965 to 1967. Gered Mankowitz was only eighteen when his work so impressed the Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham that he was invited to become their official/unofficial photographer. Mankowitz joined them for their successful and important autumn 1965 tour of America, and over the next three years had unlimited access, shooting them at recording sessions, in their homes, and during their performances on stage and television. The results formed not only an archive of the lives of the iconic group of the period, but also provided covers and other shots for their albums. To those who grew up with the Stones in the 60s and 70s, it will be a trip down memory lane, to those who grew up in the 80s and 90s it will be an insight into the heyday of the most enduring rock 'n' roll band, which has just embarked on what may be its final tour. Proud Camden Moss, 10 Greenland Street, NW1 020 7482 3867 until mid November.
An Area Of Outstanding Unnatural Beauty is the latest project of Artangel, the arts agency best known for the Rachel Whiteread's inside out concrete house in Mile End. This one is provides "an alternative information bureau" in a similarly run down part of London - King's Cross. Local artist Richard Wentworth has put together a collection of curios amassed over his 25 years in the area, "a cartographic archive of tracks and traces, maps and meanders", which creates a rather different picture from the seedy transient image with which it is usually associated. It encapsulates King's Cross at a point of resolution, with the vast tracts of land that have been under the threat (or promise) of redevelopment for the entire quarter century finally seeing the bulldozers moving in. The Victorian domestic scale and its bohemian existence (not to mention the famous gasometers) are now being replaced by the Channel Tunnel link and a massive housing development. Located in a former plumber's merchants, the installation will play host to weekly salon evenings celebrating its disorderly past, including a table tennis competition with a prize of a trip to King's Cross in Sydney. Further information can be found on the Artangel web site via the link from the Others Organisations section of ExhibitionsNet. General Plumbing Supplies, York Way N1 until 4th November.
Mackintosh In France is an unusual exhibition of watercolours by the architect, designer and polymath Charles Rennie Mackintosh. These were created in the final years of his life, which he spent in the South of France. Dividing his time between the coast at Port Vendres and the Pyrenean mountains, he devoted himself to painting, producing a series of over 40 landscapes. These works record the man made and natural landscapes of the area, distilled through an architect and designer's eye. The Mackintosh House Gallery at The Hunterian Glasgow until 12th October.
Gio Ponti - A World celebrates the achievements of one of the most influential European architects and designers of 20th century. A painter, poet, writer and teacher, as well as an architect and designer, Ponti led Italy's post war design renaissance. He also founded and edited the much respected architecture magazine Domus. Sixty years of work in thirteen countries spanned the extravagant Villa Planchart in Caracas (known as the Butterfly House) to the La Pavoni espresso machine that came to symbolise La Dolce Vita in the 1950s. Along the way, it took in stage sets and costumes for La Scala Milan; the Casino at San Remo, decorated with enormous playing car motifs; Murano glassware; the elegant Superleggera Chair, which is still in production after 40 years; Taranto Cathedral, conceived as 'a sail'; the interiors of four liners; and the recently newsworthy Pirelli Tower, dubbed 'Europe's first true skyscraper' in Milan. Ponti was influential not just because he was so prolific, but because much of his work was in collaboration with other artists, designers and craftsmen. Design Museum until 6th October.
Shuttleworth Air Displays attempt to fly all of the airworthy aeroplanes and drive all of the vehicles in this fantastic collection. Among these are the world's oldest airworthy aeroplane, the 1909 Bleriot XI; original World War One aircraft, the 1916 Sopwith Triplane and 1918 Bristol Fighter F2B; exact replicas of the 1910 Bristol Boxkite and 1917 Bristol M1C; and famous aircraft from World War Two, the 1940 DH82A Tiger Moth, 1941 Hurricane and 1942 Spitfire. The Collection is housed in eight hangars on an old fashioned all grass aerodrome, and includes an aeroplane engineering workshop giving close up views of restoration and maintenance; a garage displaying the veteran and vintage cars - several of which have regularly completed the London to Brighton run, motorcycles, a Penny Farthing amongst other bicycles, and commercial vehicles such as the Clayton & Shuttleworth steam traction engine; and a separate coach room for horse drawn carriages. The Shuttleworth Collection, Old Warden, Biggleswade - Air Display on 6th October - The Collection is open throughout the year.