News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 27th July 2011


The State Rooms Of Buckingham Palace, the 19 rooms that are used to receive and entertain guests of State on ceremonial and official occasions, have once again been thrown open to visitors. They are furnished with some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, Poussin, Canaletto and Claude; sculpture by Canova and Chantrey; Sevres porcelain; and some of the finest English and French furniture in the world. This year the special display is Royal Faberge, bringing together over 100 masterpieces by the Russian jeweller Carl Faberge, from Imperial Easter Eggs and dazzling jewel-encrusted boxes to miniature carvings of favourite royal pets, including cigarette cases, photograph frames and desk clocks, some never seen in public before. It reveals how the world's finest collection of work by the great Russian goldsmith and jeweller has been created by six successive generations of the British Royal Family. As a bonus, the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress, veil, shoes and Halo Tiara are featured in an additional display. Visitors can also enjoy a walk in the 39 acre garden with its 19th century lake, which provides a haven for wild life in the centre of London, including 30 different species of birds, and more than 350 different wild flowers, and offers views of the Garden Front of the Palace. Buckingham Palace until 30th September.

Twombly And Poussin: Arcadian Painters is a unique exploration of the contemporary and classical, looking at these two figures side by side for the first time. Although contemporary artist Cy Twombly and 17th century classical painter Nicolas Poussin are separated by three centuries, the artists nonetheless share remarkable similarities. Indeed, Twombly once said he would have liked to have been Poussin in another time. The connections between them are highlighted through the key themes of Arcadia and the pastoral, Venus and Eros, anxiety and theatricality and mythological figures, which are central to both artists' work. Highlights include Twombly's 'Hero and Leandro (to Christopher Marlowe)' and 'Quattro Stagioni: Autunno'; and Poussin's 'The Arcadian Shepherds', 'Rinaldo and Armida', 'The Triumph of Pan' and 'Seven Sacraments', a series exploring the meaning of the Christian sacraments from Baptism to Penance, which represent a high point in Western European art. The show also includes the premiere of 'Edwin Parker', art film-maker Tacita Dean's 16mm portrait of Twombly working in his studio in Lexington, Virginia. Dulwich Picture Gallery, College Road, London SE21, until 25th September.

Eyewitness: Hungarian Photography In The 20th Centuryi is dedicated to the birth of modern photography. Brassai, Robert Capa, Andre Kertesz, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Martin Munkacsi left their homeland Hungary to make their names in Europe and the USA, profoundly influencing the course of modern photography. Over 200 photographs from 1914 to 1989 show how they were at the forefront of stylistic developments, and reveal their achievements in the context of the rich photographic tradition of Hungary. These photographers brought about important changes in photojournalism, documentary, art and fashion photography. By following their paths through Germany, France and the USA, the exhibition explores their distinct approaches, signalling key aspects of modern photography. Brassai vividly brought to life the nocturnal characters and potent atmosphere of Paris at night; Robert Capa invented war photography, documenting the Spanish Civil War, the D-Day landings and other events of the Second World War; Andre Kertesz, using a hand-held camera, captured lyrical impressions of the ephemeral moments of everyday urban life in Paris; Lsszlo Moholy-Nagy was a pioneer of photograms, photomontage and visual theory, using unconventional perspectives; and Martin Munkacsi revolutionised fashion photography by taking photographs of models and celebrities outdoors, investing his photographs with dynamism and vitality. The exhibition also celebrates the diversity of the photographic milieu in Hungary, from the early 20th century professional and club photography of Rudolf Balogh, Karoly Escher and Jozsef Pecsi, to the more recent documentary and art photography of Peter Korniss and Gabor Kerekes. Royal Academy of Arts until 2nd October.


High Arctic is the first exhibition in a new £35m wing, which comprises an special exhibitions gallery, a permanent gallery that introduces the story of Britain and the sea; a state of the art library and archive; a restaurant and cafe featuring terraces with views over Greenwich; and a new main entrance from Greenwich Park. The exhibition conveys the scale, beauty and fragility of the unique Arctic environment through an immersive installation that encourages us to question our relationship with the world around us. In September 2010 Matt Clark travelled to the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, which lies between mainland Norway and the North Pole, aboard The Noorderlicht, a 100 year old Dutch schooner. During the voyage he came into contact with scientists, poets, musicians and polar bears, and saw vast tundra, monochromatic rainbows and huge chunks of ice falling from calving glaciers. Conceived as a response to the expedition, the installation uses a combination of sound, light and sculptural forms to create an abstracted arctic landscape. Ultraviolet torches unlock hidden elements, and constantly shifting patterns of graphics and text that react to visitors approaching, as a soundscape weaving in the voices of arctic explorers across the centuries flows through the gallery. An archipelago of thousands of columns fills the space, each representing a real glacier in Svalbard, while an artificial horizon borders the gallery as a seamless canvas of light, shifting in intensity and colour. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, until January.

Stanley Spencer And The English Garden focuses on the garden views and rustic landscapes of the 1920s, 30s and 40s by the eccentric, quintessentially English artist. Stanley Spencer's garden pictures, which have often been overlooked by critics in favour of his more visionary subjects, are not just beautiful oils, but reflect the same passion as his nudes and biblical paintings. Spencer's virtuoso treatment of this highly accessible and enormously attractive subject demonstrates his immense feeling for, and understanding of, the way the English landscape and the traditional English garden were changing during the first half of the 20th century. They register and reflect his concern that contemporary building development was redefining or even eradicating familiar environments, as towns encroached on the countryside. The paintings also chart Spencer's personal vision of the garden as a 'private heaven'. Among the highlights are 'Ferry Hotel Lawn, Cookham', 'Wisteria at Englefield', 'Landscape, Cookham Dene', 'Cottages at Burghclere', 'Cookham Rise: Cottages', 'Greenhouse and Garden' and 'Wisteria, Cookham'. The paintings are accompanied by a number of photographs from the Spencer archive showing the working and home life of artist. Compron Verney, Warwickshire, until 25th September.

The Worlds Of Mervyn Peake examines the creative output of the novelist, poet, playwright and illustrator through the worlds he inhabited, both real and imagined. Mervyn Peake was a prolific and astonishingly original writer and artist, who touched at one time or another on almost every literary form. The exhibition brings together a wealth of material from the Mervyn Peake archive, with previously unknown works, including the manuscript of the soon to be published fourth Titus book 'Titus Awakes', completed by Peake's wife Maeve Gilmore after his death; and the complete first scene of his sci-fi play 'Isle Escape', in which a couple escape to a tropical island to wait out a world war that they later discover failed to take place. Other highlights include Gormenghast notebooks, illustrated with character drawings of the Prunesquallors, Flay and Barquentine; Peake's original drawings for 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' and 'Through the Looking Glass'; a letter home to his wife from Germany in 1945, where he attended the war crimes trial of Peter Back and visited Bergen-Belsen as war correspondent for The Leader magazine; a storyboard for an animated television programme 'Just a Line', in which an ordinary little line transforms into pirates, princesses and other strange sights as it journeys across the screen; 'The White Chief of the Umzimbooboo Kaffirs', the earliest surviving story by Peake, written when he was 11 years old on his return from China, where he had spent the first part of his life; and correspondence from Dylan Thomas, Graham Greene and C S Lewis. British Library until 18th September.

Treasures Of Heaven: Saints, Relic And Devotion In Medieval Europe explores the spiritual and artistic significance of Christian relics and reliquaries in medieval Europe. Featuring some of the finest sacred treasures of the medieval age, the exhibition provides an opportunity to view over 150 objects from more than 40 institutions, many of which have not been seen in the Britain before, brought together for the first time. Sacred items related to Christ or the saints were first used during the early medieval period as a focus for prayer and veneration by Christians throughout Europe. Relics were usually human body parts, or material items sanctified through their contact with holy persons or places. This exhibition features a very broad range of the kinds of relics which were venerated, including 3 thorns thought to be from the Crown of Thorns, the breast milk of the Virgin Mary, and the Mandylion of Edessa, one of the earliest known likenesses of Jesus. The objects on display range from small portable reliquaries in the form of jewellery, such as a pendant reliquary housing a single holy thorn, to large containers opulently adorned with gems, silver and gold. The beauty of a reliquary was intended to reflect the spiritual value of what it contained, and so reliquaries were made of the highest quality, often crafted in precious metals by extremely skilled goldsmiths. Exceptional examples include the 12th century bust reliquary of St Baudime from St Nectaire in the Auvergne, which once contained a vial of the saint's blood; the bejewelled Holy Thorn reliquary, set amid an enamelled representation of the Last Judgement; and the splendid gold arm reliquary of St George, which has been housed in the Treasury of St Mark's in Venice since the Sack of Constantinople. A variety of objects such as manuscripts, prints and pilgrim badges are exhibited alongside the relics and reliquaries themselves, adding depth and context to the exhibition's examination of this critical aspect of European history. British Museum until 9th October.

Radical Bloomsbury: The Art Of Duncan Grant And Vanessa Bell, 1905 - 1925 looks at a significant contribution to the development of 20th century British painting, exploring the relationship between the Bloomsbury artists and avant-garde art. The unconventional household established by the painters Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant was often depicted in their paintings, and their house itself is a distillation of what has come to be known as the 'Bloomsbury style'. The exhibition demonstrates how these Bloomsbury painters were among the earliest British artists to look at new developments in European art, such as French Post-Impressionist practices, and the importance of their role in modernising British art. Grant was one of very few British artists who knew Picasso and Matisse in their early days, and Bell was an international pioneer of abstract painting. Around 80 paintings and drawings are on show, together with painted room panels and screens and some textiles, which embody the new social, emotional and sexual attitudes of what became known as the Bloomsbury Group. The exhibition also provides the cultural and social context within which Grant and Bell worked. For example, Grant spent almost the first 10 years of his life in India and Burma, and this backdrop of a still Imperial world is explored, through photographs and watercolours of Indian scenes by other European artists. Brighton Museum & Art Gallery until 9th October.

Thomas Struth: Photographs 1978 - 2010 provides a rare opportunity to view the German photographer's large-scale images of people and structures from all over the world. Thomas Struth travels widely and brings his intense and precise vision to subjects as diverse as visitors looking at famous works of art in the world's great museums, family portraits and the dense undergrowth of the Asian jungle. The exhibition comprises over 70 works that reveal the important role Struth has played in redefining fine art photography. It includes his iconic museum series of lifesize photographs showing tourists admiring Michelangelo's 'David' statue in Florence, and pupils chatting in front of Velazquez's 'Las Meninas' at the Prado in Madrid. The works show the awe that art can inspire on people's faces, without revealing the object they are looking at. Several photographs depict a range of places in which people invest faith and belief, from French Gothic cathedrals, to the El Capitan rock in Yosemite National Park in California, and high-tech research laboratories pushing the boundaries of science. Struth once compared the space shuttle programme to the construction of medieval cathedrals, reflecting on "the extremes of human effort, conviction, organisation and perhaps also hubris". This interest in human construction also encompasses huge-scale panoramic photographs of sites of shipyards, oil rigs and sprawling cities in Asia, structures which make our modern way of life possible, but at the same time dwarf people in their scale and ambition. The most recent images of sites at the cutting edge of technology include an almost 4m wide panorama of the space shuttle undergoing repair at the Kennedy Space Centre on Cape Canaveral. The exhibition also includes the dense jungles and forests from Struth's Paradise series, which are a detailed presentation of nature, with no human presence, in contrast to his other works about culture and systems of belief. Whitechapel Gallery, London, until 16th September.


The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is with us again, as it has been every year since 1769 - the usual collection of the good, the bad and the ugly - from amateurs to RA's, proving that popular taste and critical approval find no meeting point. Around 1,250 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from around 12,000 submissions, from 27 countries, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. The majority of works are for sale, offering visitors an opportunity to purchase original artwork by both high profile and up and coming artists. Over £70,000 is given out to artists included in the exhibition through 10 prizes. This year the show has been masterminded by Christopher Le Brun and Michael Craig-Martin, with Piers Gough and Alan Stanton overseeing the architecture section. There is no overall theme, but Gallery 3 is in the style of a 'salon hang' exploiting the grandeur of the Academy's principal room, with paintings of all sizes hung from the dado rail to the picture rail. Works on display include a large canvas by the Danish painter Per Kirkeby and Keith Tyson's apocalyptic painting 'Deep Impact'. One room features works by newly elected and established Royal Academicians, including Tacita Dean, Gary Hume, Allen Jones, Cornelia Parker, Jenny Saville and Alison Wilding. The Central Hall hosts a celebration of photography, including an image by Cindy Sherman. There is also a memorial gallery dedicated to showing the works of Ben Levene. Outside, the courtyard features the first public display of Jeff Koons's 'Coloring Book'. The Royal Academy of Arts until 15th August.

Ravilious In Essex features works painted by the watercolourist, illustrator and designer during the time he lived in Essex in the 1930s. Eric Ravilious had a particular talent for taking a relatively humdrum (if eccentric) subject, and making it an object of wonder. Rusting machinery, old trams, telegraph poles, iron fences, broken down cars and discarded farm equipment were all his favourites. Ravilious perfectly captured the timelessness of English village and rural life in the decade before the Second World War. This exhibition offers an opportunity to survey his development as a watercolourist, with paintings from his time in Great Bardfield: 'The Attic Bedroom' and 'Two Women in a Garden', Castle Hedingham: two different views of 'Hull's Mill' and 'Village Street', and Ironbridge: 'Ironbridge at Ewenbridge'. Other works include 'Butcher's Shop' and 'Tree Trunk and Wheel Barrow'. The paintings are accompanied by Ravilious's wood engravings, including book covers and other materials that have not been seen in half a century. There are even the wood blocks themselves, still ink-black and showing the signs of use. In addition, there is an opportunity to compare the designs Ravilious created for Wedgwood with the engravings and watercolours. Fry Art Gallery, Castle Street, Saffron Walden, Essex, until 12th August.

Street Cries: Depictions Of London's Poor considers how the urban poor and underprivileged were reflected in art from the 17th to the 19th century. The exhibition comprises significant paintings, prints and drawings by artists including Edward Penny, Marcellus Laroon, Phoebus Levin, Gustave Dore, Theodore Gericault, Thomas Rowlandson and Paul Sandby. The prints and drawings illustrate street vendors and London's urban poor, including travelling carpenters and cane-weavers, prostitutes and criminals. Some of these images present an idealised vision of the poor, while others are amongst the first works of art to attempt a more realistic view of London's underprivileged inhabitants - although these tended to be commercial flops. This is a fascinating exhibition that combines social history and the development of illustration and printmaking. The collection poses questions about how society in these periods was organised, the motives of those making, selling and buying the prints, and the status and identity of the people portrayed. The exhibition explores these issues and offers a chance to see some real gems that are rarely displayed for conservation reasons: delicate watercolours depicting gritty London subject matter. Museum of London until 31st July.