News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 26th August 2009


Outbreak 1939 examines events surrounding Britain's declaration of war on Germany at 11.15am on 3rd September 1939, and looks at how the country mobilised. Seventy years after the announcement that signified the start of the Second World War and changed the lives of millions, this exhibition explores how being a nation at war shaped the lives of ordinary men and women, as well as those who were actively involved in the political negotiations and their aftermath. Historical material and personal memorabilia illustrate the build up to war, an hour by hour countdown of events on 3rd September, and the early months of the conflict. Among the items on display are the jacket worn by King George VI when he broadcast to the nation; a wedding dress worn for a hastily rearranged ceremony when the outbreak of the war appeared imminent; a purse and coin belonging to an 11 year old boy who survived the sinking of the SS Athenia, the first British merchant vessel to be destroyed by a German U Boat; the medal awarded to Thomas Priday, the first British soldier to be killed in action; the German machine gun taken as a souvenir by fighter ace 'Cobber' Kain from the first aircraft he shot down; a teddy bear belonging to a little girl evacuated from London; and posters informing (and cajoling) the public of what was expected of them. Despite only limited military action during the early months of on the home front, a nationwide blackout was introduced on the 1st September, barrage balloons were launched and air raid precautions taken, the carrying of gas masks and identity cards became compulsory, and plans to evacuate civilians from towns and cities were put into action, so that millions of children's lives changed forever. Imperial War Museum until 6th September 2010

Endless Forms: Charles Darwin, Natural Science And The Visual Arts reveals the impact of Charles Darwin's theories on artists of the late 19th century. The exhibition explores both Darwin's interest in the visual arts, and the vast range of artistic responses to his revolutionary ideas, through a diverse selection of exhibits from around the world. It is arranged in a sequence of thematic sections, which together highlight the significance of visual traditions for Darwin, and the often surprising ways in which his theories inspired artists. The display brings together nearly 200 objects, including paintings, drawings, watercolours, prints, photographs, sculptures, caricatures, illustrated books and a range of natural history specimens. Some of the paintings are by famous artists, such as J M W Turner, Frederick Church, Edwin Landseer, Monet, Degas and Cezanne, while other spectacular works are by lesser known artists such as John Gould, Bruno Liljefors, Felicien Rops and American landscapists. Art works are seen in juxtaposition with scientific material of all sorts, from geological maps and botanical teaching diagrams, to fossils, minerals, and ornithological specimens. They reveal the many interactions between natural science and art during this period. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, until 4th October.

Da Vinci Inventions: Leonardo And His Machines explores in detail Leonardo Da Vinci's relationship with technology. The exhibition consists of almost 50 full scale, half scale and smaller interactive models of machines for flight, engineering and motion designed by Leonardo. These models have been created over a 10 year period by a team of Italian artisans working in Rome, who have collaborated with historians and academics to construct the machines based on a close study of Leonardo's notebooks and drawings, utilising only materials and techniques known in Renaissance Italy. The challenges they faced included having to understand Florentine dialect, the interpretation and analysis of Leonardo's drawings, reading mirrored writing to decipher his notes, and recognising the mistakes in his drawings and information deliberately put in to mislead. The models are shown alongside the drawings on which they are based, one of Leonado's original notebooks, known as a codex, and a display charting his life and career. Among the models on display are: The Autotraction Car, an articulation crossbow mechanism for propulsion; The Flying Machine, a dynamic device that uses all the parts of the body for its propulsion; and The Tank, an example of Leonardo's genius as a military engineer. The Lightbox, Woking, until 1st November.


Waste Not Want Not revisits earlier hard times, during the Second World War, when Britain had to economise on raw materials, save on energy and salvage scarce commodities, encouraged by a powerful propaganda machine. Sound familiar? Whether the message was to grow your own vegetables, make do and mend, or recycle paper, uppermost in everyone's mind was the need to be sparing in the use of meager resources. This exhibition of over 300 items reveals what sparsely furnished grocer's shelves looked like during the time of rationing, with recycled cardboard packaging printed solely in black replacing tins with multicoloured labels; the advertisements that promoted them; and the government's exhortations to do it yourself, use again or do without, such as 'Dig For Victory', and 'Switch Off That Light - Less Light More Planes'.

Packaging: A Sustainable Future looks at the current demonisation of packaging, and how, from being an apparently innocuous and functional part of a product, it has been transformed into a controversial component of the marketing process - one which is increasingly required to justify its existence. The exhibition explains the importance of packaging, how it has developed over the years, and how manufacturers, retailers and designers are now rethinking and revolutionising the way products are presented, adopting a more environmentally friendly approach.

The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, 2 Colville Mews, Lonsdale Road, Notting Hill, London W11, until 29th November.

The Discovery Of Spain explores the fascination for Spanish art and culture in 19th and early 20th century Britain. The exhibition of some 130 paintings, drawings, prints and photographs, charts a period in which Spanish culture flourished, despite - or perhaps partly as a result of - extreme political upheaval, from the peninsular war of 1807-14, to the Spanish civil war of 1936-39. Outstanding examples of Spanish art, including Goya's 'The Duke of Wellington' and 'Disasters of War'; Velazquez's 'A Spanish Gentleman' and 'An Old Woman Cooking Eggs'; El Greco's 'The Tears of St Peter' and 'Woman in a Fur Wrap'; Murillo's 'Flower Seller'; Zurbaran's 'St Francis in Meditation'; and Picasso's 'Weeping Woman' form the centerpiece for the exhibition. They are shown together with paintings by major British artists who were captivated by the experience of travelling through Spain, including David Wilkie's 'The Defence of Saragossa'; William Nicholson's 'Plaza del Toros, Malaga'; John Phillip's 'La Gloria': A Spanish Wake'; Arthur Melville's 'The Orange Market, Saragossa' and 'A Spanish Sunday, Going to the Bullfight'; There are also works by artists who were influenced by Spanish painters, such as John Everett Millais's 'Souvenir of Velazquez'; John Singer Sargent's 'Portrait of W Graham Robertson'; and James McNeill Whistler's 'Brown and Gold (Self-Portrait)'. National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh until 11th October.

Dover Castle has just reopened its Great Tower Keep after a £2.45m restoration of the interior to what it would have looked like when it was built in the 12th century. It is the largest historically researched medieval re-creation ever attempted in Britain. Based on 2 years of study, a group of 141 weavers, seamstresses, embroiderers, turners, carpenters, cabinet makers, blacksmiths, glass blowers, potters, silversmiths and armourers has invested thousands of hours to recreate 80 pieces of furniture, including a royal throne, 21 oak doors, 150 yards of wall hangings, dozens of embroidered textiles, including a royal standard, 47 cushions and over 1,000 other objects, from kitchenware, garments and goblets, to swords, crossbows and shields. All these items are used to furnish the interiors of the King's Hall, the King's Chamber, the Guest Hall, the Guest Chamber, the privy kitchen and the armoury, capturing their original appearance. The biggest single artefact is a 180ft long mural style wall hanging, depicting the Norman Conquest. Recent research has revealed that Dover's Keep was originally built not primarily as a fortification, but as a spectacular royal palace where foreign rulers and dignitaries could stay, representing an unequivocal and majestic emblem of Henry II's authority and wealth. To add to the atmosphere, Pepper's Ghost (projections of moving figures), costumed re-enactors and audio visual presentations help to evoke 12th century court life. Dover Castle, continuing.

The Sound And The Fury: The Power Of Public Speaking dips into the National Sound Archive, which is home to every conceivable variety of human speech, from spoken poetry, prose and drama, through transcribed and quoted speeches in the in the press, to the oral testimony of ordinary people from all walks of life. This exhibition offers a historical review of the art and the power of public speaking in all its forms, with audio drawn from over a century of recorded sound, accompanied by images from the national newspaper collection. The essence of the art of oratory is the art of persuasion, of converting an audience to a strongly held personal belief, and the recordings and images presented here document every shade of the political and social spectrum, from Florence Nightingale, Gladstone and Lloyd George in the earliest years of recorded sound, to some of the most iconic, intriguing and amusing speeches of recent decades. Impassioned social protest is a recurring theme, with Allen Ginsberg addressing a crowd on the plight of imprisoned White Panthers leader John Sinclair; American comedian Dick Gregory speaking at Kent State University, where National Guardsmen had shot and killed four student protesters; and Matthew Parris speaking on gay rights at Cambridge University Union. From more recent years there is Salman Rushdie, speaking at the ICA on the day his book had been publicly burned in Bradford and withdrawn from its shops by WH Smith; and the writers Tom Stoppard and Martin Amis standing up for Rushdie at the Stationers Hall in London. The British Library until 31st December.

New Radicals: From Sickert To Freud charts the period from the late 19th to mid 20th centuries, when British art, while under the influence of developments across Europe (Impressionism, Post-impressionism and Surrealism) produced some peculiarly inventive, and at times eccentric, artists, and tells the stories behind some exceptional works of art. The sickly yet sensuous canvases of the Camden Town Group set the scene as painters such as Walter Sickert and Harold Gilman attempted to adapt the post impressionist penchant for sun drenched landscapes to the smog bound streets of north London. Comparably Ivon Hitchens's gestural semi-abstracts and David Bomberg's landscapes have a particularly English rainy day aura. The exhibition also examines the work of a variety of distinct and individual artists whose work stood apart from their contemporaries, including Cecil Collins, L S Lowry and Lucian Freud. Key works that show the new artistic direction in the early part of the 20th century include Walter Sickert's 'Bathers, Dieppe' and Harold Gilman's iconic portrait 'Mrs Mounter'. Modernist works include Paul Nash's 'Telecommunications' and 'Landscape of the Moon's Last Phase'. Amongst works that point towards a highly distinct and individual approach are Christopher Wood's 'French Cyclists', Cecil Collins's 'A Song', L S Lowry's 'The Fever Van' and Stanley Spencer's 'Villas at Cookham'. Walker Art Gallert, Liverpool, until 20th September.

Bathing Beauties explores the role that good architecture can play in economic and cultural regeneration. The exhibition evolved from a competition, which inspired 240 international architects, artists and designers to compete for commissions to build their beach hut designs along the Lincolnshire coast. The display comprises over 100 of the most exciting models from this competition, including structures based on ideas of global warming and mind travel; huts incorporating wind turbines, saunas and viewing platforms; and occasional oblique nods to sandcastles and stripy windbreaks. While the beach hut is perceived as a treasured feature of our coastal landscape, as quintessentially British as fish and chips and the knotted handkerchief, in reality they are usually little more than a painted shed. This exhibition is a collection of dreams of what they might be. Striking, unconventional and surprising, many of the models celebrate the idea of happening upon something by chance when strolling along the beach, whilst others are bold and imaginative exercises in the use of space, light and line. There is a specially commissioned film providing some background to the work on display, and a full scale copper-clad revolving beach hut in the form of a clamshell called Oyster Pleasance, designed by A-Models in collaboration with Will Alsop. Alongside the exhibition, is a display of objects, including costumes and souvenirs, which explore the history of seaside holidays in Cumbria. Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle, until 20th September.


Raphael To Renoir: Master Drawings From The Collection Of Jean Bonna is the only showing in Britain of an exceptional selection of 120 European master drawings, watercolours and pastels by many of the greatest names in Western art. They come from the distinguished private collection formed over the past 20 years by Jean Bonna. The exhibition offers the rare opportunity to view outstanding examples of European drawings spanning some 500 years, showing the unbroken line of drawing from the Italian Renaissance to late 19th century France. Central to the discipline of drawing throughout this time was the study of the human figure. The principal strength of the collection lies in the Italian and French schools, including artists such as Raphael, Carpaccio, Andrea del Sarto, Guercino, Rembrandt, Claude Lorrain, Canaletto, Watteau, Fragonard, Goya, Francois Clouet, Parmigianino, Federico Barocci, Boucher, Jacopo Vignali, and, from the 19th century, Ingres, Degas, Manet, Renoir, Cezanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Seurat and Redon. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 6th September.

Enchanted Worlds explores a world of magic, mystery and fairytales, with artworks dating from the 1780s to the contemporary. Delving into tales of fantastical worlds, it discovers some very strange creatures, in painting, sculpture, photography, film, animation, puppetry, print and illustration, from some of the world's most revered artists of the genre. The exhibition looks at the fairy phenomenon in British art from the early influence of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, to the popularisation of fairy stories throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, including art work inspired by the classic fairytales Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltskin, Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. Whilst much of the work is strikingly beautiful, there is more than simple whimsy at play, as the art is layered with cautionary tales and dark humour. Among the featured artists are Richard Dadd, Jean Cocteau, Lotte Reininger, David Hockney, Quentin Blake, Paula Rego, Jan Pienkowski, William Heath Robinson and Mabel Lucie Attwell. In addition, visitors have an opportunity to examine the enigmatic Cottingley Fairy photographs up close, and decide whether they are real or not. There is also a display of rare first edition fairy tale books illustrated by artists such as Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac and Mervyn Peake. Harris Art Gallery, Preston, until 5th September.

Edvard Munch: Prints is the most substantial display of prints by the Norwegian painter to be exhibited in Britain in a generation. Featuring 40 of the finest prints from throughout Edvard Munch's career, the works have been specially chosen to illustrate his development as a graphic artist, as well as the important themes of his art. Munch responded early to Impressionism, and developed an individual and highly influential focus on the internal workings of the human mind. His great images - most famously 'The Scream' - treat the psychological traumas that were being described for the first time by his contemporary Sigmund Freud. Munch's international success was in large part due to his prints. Among the highlights, in addition to 'The Scream', are 'The Sick Child', with which he first aroused international attention; the woodcut 'Woman's Head against the Shore'; the controversial lithograph 'Madonna'; the atmospheric woodcut 'Melancholy'; the striking 'Self-portrait' lithograph; the woodcut 'The Girls on the Bridge'; the lithograph 'Separation II'; the late woodcut 'Moonlight by the Sea'; 'the lithograph Vampire'; and 'Ashes', from his 'Frieze of Life', which has sections devoted to love, anxiety and death. Hunterian Museum, Glasgow, until 5th September.