News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 26th September 2007

Commencing

Millais is the first exhibition in London in over a century to examine the entire career of the greatest painter of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, who spearheaded the most radically modern artistic group in the history of English art. Traditionally, John Everett Millais has been presented as an establishment figure who swapped artistic innovation for commercial gain, but this exhibition examines Millais in the context of his whole career, from his beginnings as the youngest ever pupil at the Royal Academy to his late landscapes, revealing a complex and innovative artist whose work encompassed every genre.. It includes around 140 paintings and works on paper, from popular nostalgic fancy pictures such as 'Bubbles' through to 12 of his great Scottish landscapes - the largest grouping shown together since 1898. Displayed chronologically, the exhibition follows Millais's development from Old Master conventions through to 'primitivising' works such as 'Isabella', in which he deliberately rejected contrived compositional devices. It examines paintings from Millais's mature Pre-Raphaelite phase and also presents his pioneering role in the Aesthetic movement which focused on a new subjectless type of painting, based on mood above narrative and moral meaning. Highlights include 'Blow, blow thou winter wind', 'The Ransom', 'Christmas Eve', 'Sophie Gray' and 'Ophelia'. A series of portraits including 'Portrait of Henry Irving' shows how Millais negotiated a prominent position in British society. A recreation of his studio at Palace Gate - used from 1877 until his death in 1896 - conveys how his working environment helped to establish his social status.Tate Britain until 13th January.

WAS Benson: Genius Of The Arts & Crafts looks at the work of William Arthur Smith Benson, one of the most significant and forward looking of the Arts & Crafts designers. Benson played a central role in the creation of the Arts & Crafts movement and, in his commercial success, highlighted many of the most critical dilemmas of what was, in parts, a reactionary and idealistic movement. Benson came into contact in the 1880s with Sir Edward Burne-Jones, the Pre-Raphaelite painter, who had a great impact on his life. Burne-Jones encouraged Benson's interest to make things, and it is believed that Benson designed and made much of the romantic, chivalric armour, as well as models of ships and crowns, that feature in Burne-Jones's paintings. It was near the Burne-Jones's house that Benson set up his first workshop where he made and sold items. Frustrated by the unwillingness of the Royal Academy to exhibit items of craft in its Summer Exhibition, it was Benson's idea to set up 'The Combined Arts Exhibition Society', which later became the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society and gave a name to the movement it encapsulated. Benson's designs were ingenious, as well as beautiful, with double jacket dishes pre-dating Pyrex oven-to-tableware, reflecting social changes, with people cooking for their guests and serving them, and he formulated a thin lacquer applied to brass and copperware that sealed the surface and prevented tarnishing, as servants were no longer there to polish them. The exhibition explores the different aspects of Benson's work through a variety of elegant exhibits, a number of which are from private collections, and have therefore not been seen in public before. It is shown in the perfect setting at Blackwell, a house designed in the Arts & Crafts style by M H Baillie Scott. Blackwell, Bowness-on-Windermere until 4th November.

At Home: Portraits Of Artists From The Royal Academy Collection explores the rich variety of representations of artists in the Academy's collection, built up since its foundation in 1768. The works range from C R Leslie's tiny, intimate picture of his friend John Constable, via A G Walker's depictions of studio life, to grand formal images such as Giuseppe Ceracchi's bust of Reynolds, George Frederic Watts's portrait of Lord Leighton, and Charles West Cope's magnificent Victorian group, 'The Council of the Royal Academy', depicting eminent Royal Academicians selecting works for the Summer Exhibition of 1875. Alongside these are Thomas Gainsborough and John Bellany's revealing self-portraits, Joshua Reynolds's depiction of his theatrically dressed studio assistant Giuseppe Marchi, and an early portrait of Laura Knight by her husband-to-be, Harold Knight. The exhibition offers a fascinating glimpse of artists' public and private lives, aspirations and achievements, and holds up a mirror to the inner life of the Academy itself as a home from home for British artists over the last 250 years. Royal Academy of Arts until 27th November.

Continuing

The Art Of Lee Miller celebrates the life and career of one of the most original and creative photographic artists of the 20th century. It brings together the greatest images of and by Lee Miller, and features works never before exhibited or published, including satirical drawings and some of the most disturbing photographs ever taken. It also explores Miller's other talents as model, Surrealist muse and journalist, charting her unconventional and eventful life, whose path was one of 'poacher turned gamekeeper turned conservationist'. A legendary beauty and fashion model, Miller became an acclaimed photographer, first of fashion, and then on the battlefield. Her relationships with Surrealist artist and photographer Man Ray, and painter and collector Roland Penrose, placed her at the heart of 20th century artistic and literary circles, and in a career spanning more than three decades, she came into contact with an astonishing range of people, including Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst and Jean Cocteau. With over 140 works, including drawings, a rare collage, film extracts and magazine pages, the exhibition represents the entire range of Miller's activities. Among her most outstanding photographs on view the avant-garde 'Exploding Hand'; the shocking 'Severed Breast', exhibited for the first time; 'Women with Fire Masks', capturing life during the Blitz; the posthumous war portraits 'Burgermeister of Leipzig's Daughter Suicided' and 'Dead SS Guard in Canal'; and Alfred H Barr Jr, the first director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, feeding the pigs at her family home in Sussex from the 'Working Guests' series. Victoria & Albert Museum until 6th January.

Animated Adventures is the opening show at the Lightbox gallery and museum designed by Marks Barfield Architects, creators of the London Eye. The exhibition takes visitors behind the scenes at Aardman Animation, the British company that created Wallace and Gromit, and has produced award winning television commercials and series, as well as full length features including Creature Comforts, Chicken Run and Shaun the Sheep. The exhibition features an introduction to the history of British animation, and also explains how Aardman began, and the work that has inspired its animators. The display then shows how the animators turn their original ideas into finished films, from storyboards to set design, and reveals industry secrets, exploring everything from set design to CGI technology. Among the highlights are the original sets from the film Wallace and Gromit, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and exclusive original behind the scenes material from the new television series Shaun the Sheep. Various 'interactives' allow visitors to try adding sound effects to film, create title credits, make a mini movie, learn to draw Gromit, and create their own models to take home.

Story Of The Lightbox narrates the design and construction process of the unusual building, documenting its evolution from original architectural ideas and drawings, through construction to its completion.

The Lightbox, Chobham Road, Woking, Surrey, Animated Adventures until 13th January ~ Story Of The Lightbox until 29th October.

Making History: Antiquaries In Britain 1707 - 2007 explores the work and achievements of the Fellowship of the Society of Antiquaries of London from its foundation in the early 18th century to the present day. The exhibition examines key stages in the creation of Britain's historical narrative from the earliest archeological discoveries. It comprises around 190 exhibits, featuring works of art, antiquities, books and manuscripts of unique historical importance. Among the highlights are a processional cross of Richard III and his defeated Yorkist army recovered from the battlefield of Bosworth; an early copy of the Magna Carta; the inventory of Henry VIII's posessions at the time of his death; the earliest known medieval manuscript illustrations of Stonehenge, recently discovered; the 'Winchester Domesday', one of the most detailed descriptions of any European town of the middle ages; the earliest known portraits of two Saxon kings, discovered 'forming the wainscot of a small closet' at Basyton House in 1813; a 450,000 year old flint hand-axe; the 13th century illuminated 'Lindsey Psalter'; and 'The Roll Chronicle', a mediaval genealogical tree proving the descent of Henry IV from Adam and Eve. There are drawings and paintings of historic sites and monuments by artists such as Constable, Turner, Girtin, Byrne-Jones and Blake, and a selection from the Society's collection of early English royal portraits from Henry VI to Mary Tudor, displayed together in public for the first time. Royal Academy of Arts until 2nd December.

The First Emperor: China's Terracotta Army features the largest group of objects relating to the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty ever to be loaned abroad by the Museum of the Terracotta Army and the Cultural Relics Bureau of Shaanxi Province in Xi'an, China. The exhibition is the first to be housed in the original Reading Room at the heart of the British Museum. The majority of the 120 objects come from the tomb of Qin Shihuangdi, the First Emperor, a tomb complex that is unparalleled in terms of its extent and magnificence. Arguably the most famous archaeological site in the world, it was discovered by chance by villagers in 1974, and excavation has been ongoing at the site since that date. The exhibition features around 20 complete terracotta warrior figures of different ranks - an extraordinary feat of mass-production, as each figure was given an individual personality, although they were not intended to be portraits. In addition, there is a replica figure, decorated in the original brightly painted colours. Displayed alongside these iconic figures are examples of significant recent finds, which have very rarely been seen outside of China. Terracotta acrobats, bureaucrats, musicians and bronze birds have been discovered on the site, designed to administer to or entertain the Emperor in his afterlife. They are of crucial importance to the understanding of his attempts to control the world even in death. The exhibition demonstrates the historical and archaeological context of these famous objects, as well as detailing the most recent research and excavation. It also presents a reassessment of the First Emperor himself, the man who created China as a political entity. British Museum until 6th April.

The Stanley Spencer Gallery has reopened after a refurbishment programme that has seen the introduction of a mezzanine floor, which has significantly increased the display space. It is the only gallery in Britain devoted exclusively to an artist in the village where he was born and spent much of his life. Cookham and its surrounding area remained a source of inspiration throughout Stanley Spencer's life, and formed the setting for numerous idiosyncratic biblical and figure paintings, as well as landscapes. The gallery occupies the former Victorian Methodist Chapel where Spencer was taken to worship as a child. It contains a permanent collection of his work, together with letters, documents, memorabilia, and the pram in which Spencer wheeled his equipment when painting landscapes. The reopening show features highlights from the collection of major works by Spencer, including the newly acquired portrait of Eric Williams of Wooden Horse fame, 'View from Cookham Bridge' and a pencil drawing 'Ecstasy in a Wesleyan Chapel'. Other highlights include 'The Betrayal', 'The Last Supper', 'St. Veronica Unmasking Christ', 'Christ Overturning the Money Changers' Table', 'Christ preaching at Cookham Regatta', 'Listening from Punts', 'Beatitudes of Love: Contemplation', 'Sarah Tubb and the Heavenly Visitors', 'Neighbours', 'The Month of March: Dressmaking, 'The Fairy on the Waterlily leaf', studies for the Sandham Memorial Chapel at Burghclere and drawings for the 'Shipbuilding on the Clyde' series. The Stanley Spencer Gallery, Cookham, Berkshire, continuing.

Henry Moore At Kew is the largest collection of Henry Moore's work ever to be displayed in one place, and includes a combination of pieces that have never been brought together before, some which have never been seen in London. 28 large scale sculptures can be seen throughout Kew's 300 acres of formal gardens, glasshouses, lakes and natural landscape, as they change through the seasons. The exhibition highlights the inspiration that Moore took from nature, and his enjoyment of seeing his works in a landscape setting. From 1958 Moore began creating works of sculpture on a very large scale that broke the confines of the traditional gallery space, and demanded to be seen in the open. Also, Moore always wanted his sculpture to be free standing, capable of being seen in the round. Here, some works are displayed in groups, while others are completely isolated in the landscape. The sculptures range from his more realistic figures to wholly abstract pieces, including 'Large Reclining Figure' made of polystyrene and white resin, 'Mother and Child: Blocked Seat', 'Draped Reclining Mother and Baby', 'The Wall', 'Double Oval', 'Hill Arches' and 'Locking Piece'. The exhibition is supported by events and activities, including an exhibition explaining how Moore worked, with 12 maquettes (some of the works on view), 'found objects' that were the inspiration for much of his sculpture, and illustrate how his influences evolved into art, together with a selection of his tools, plus The Art Of Henry Moore film, guided tours and lectures. Kew Gardens, until 30th March.

Concluding

Memories, Moments And Other Curiosities is a collection of sculpture and 'cabinets of curiosities' by Nicola Dale, Claire Douglass, Liz Frolich, Simon Le Ruez and Kelly McCallum, based on personal experience, disintegration and domestic spaces, expressed in different ways, reflecting their individual approaches. Nicola Dale illustrates the proposition that 'our view of history changes depending on our position' by cutting long leafed flowers from the pages of the populist history book 'The People's Century' to create a memorial wreath. Claire Douglass's mixed media works refer to comparisons between her memories of growing up in Britain with friends from different ethnic backgrounds. Liz Frolich's works echo that of an archaeologist and collector of curios, juxtaposing objects and materials that come together to tell a story. Simon Le Ruez makes delicately disquieting sculptures that use materials subversively, to create physical and psychological tensions. Kelly McCallum is interested in how things age, and how they decay or are preserved, creating works that combine Victorian taxidermy with insects and precious metals. Saltburn Galllery, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, until 7th October.

Heath Robinson's Helpful Solutions is a selection of cartoons by William Heath Robinson, highlighting his daft but genial solutions for the world in wartime and peacetime - the largest to be staged for 15 years. It includes over 100 original drawings and sketches by the brilliant illustrator and inventor of imaginary machines, who is one of the few artists whose name has entered the Oxford English Dictionary, to signify 'any absurdly ingenious and impracticable device'. This exhibition displays many of the quirky solutions that Heath Robinson developed to assist his earnest cast of characters. A top-hatted gentleman in his long-johns carries out a precarious rescue of a damsel in distress, an engine driver stops to assist a stranded eel, a new method is devised for stuffing a turkey, a novel system proposed for testing mattresses, a device for resuscitating stale railway scones for redistribution at the station buffets, and 'The multimovement tabby silencer', which automatically throws water at serenading cats. No matter how perilous or tricky the problem, Heath Robinson, the King of contraptions, could be sure to offer a helpful solution, and a wholly 'home made' and totally British one: lashed-up and bodged-together in a shed at the bottom of the garden, using bits and pieces, odds and ends and this and that - invariably powered by pulley-systems constructed from lengths of knotted string of the kind grandfathers used to keep in old Oxo tins "In case they came in useful". As a bonus, as well as the drawings, the exhibition also features two three dimensional Heath Robinson machines. The Cartoon Museum, London until 7th October.

Warhol: A Celebration Of Life… And Death presents a broad sweep of Andy Warhol's work from the early 1950s to 1986 in a wide range of media - painting, sculpture, drawing, collage, film, photography and installation. It is the most comprehensive retrospective of Warhol's work being staged in Britain to commorate the 20th anniversary of his death. The show includes examples of all of his most iconic works, such as 'Campbell's Soup Can', 'Brillo Box', 'Heinz Box', 'Marilyn', 'Elvis', 'Baseball', 'Coca-Cola', 'Do-It-Yourself' and 'Dance Diagram', but it also spotlights aspects of Warhol's art that are not so well known. Special displays are dedicated to 'Marilyn, Liz, Jackie and Elvis', 'Portraits of the 1970s and 1980s', 'Consumer Products', 'Death and Disaster', 'Skulls', 'Stitched Photographs', and 'War, Death and Religion'. Among the highlights are 'Silver Clouds', a room of floating silver-coloured helium balloons; the 'Skull' series of screenprints made in the same way as his earlier celebrity portraits; a number of Time Capsules; the slowed down 'Screen Tests', in which visitors to the Facory simply had a camera turned on them; and 'White Burning Car III' from the 'Death and Disaster' series, one of which set a new record for Warhol at auction when it was sold for $71.7m at Christies in New York earlier this year. National Gallery Complex, Edinburgh until 7th October.