News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 28th November 2001


Christmas Past: 400 Years Of Seasonal Traditions In English Homes looks at the meanings and origins of our Christmas and New Year customs, including the holly and the ivy, mistletoe and kissing boughs, decorations, trees, fire and candlelight, carol singing and the Yule log. Also featured are traditional foods and drink, with wassailing, parties, mulled wine, cakes and puddings. Twelve period living rooms decorated in authentic festive styles from 1600 to 2000 reflect our changing social habits, and show how Christmas as we now know it has evolved. There is an accompanying programme of decoration, card making and other craft workshops, candle lit entertainment, talks, carols and other Christmas music, right through to the burning of holly and ivy on Twelfth Night, with seasonal food and drink available. The museum is located in fourteen almshouses built in 1715 by the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers. Geffrye Museum until 6th January.

Making Spirits Bright is a changing programme of events indoors and out though the Christmas and New Year period. The gardens are illuminated to provide magical walks among seasonal plants - and not just holly, ivy and mistletoe, but frankincense and myrrh - plus a steam engine, a Victorian carousel and free explorer rides and guided tours. Inside, in the glasshouses, restaurants and museums, the entertainment includes performances by choirs, brass bands and a piper, an exhibition of flower paintings and prints, demonstrations of seasonal cooking and flower arranging, and storytelling, plus food and drink, and appearances by Father Christmas. There are free evening openings in December and free entry in the New Year for visitors bringing their trees for recycling. Royal Botanic Gardens Kew until 6th January.

Lantern-lit Tours feature guides in full period costume who give visitors a taste of the atmosphere of a historic palace after dark. They bring to life the events that took place, together with the personalities involved, and the intrigue and gossip of court life, during a period of almost two hundred years, when this royal residence on the Thames was at the centre of court life, politics and national history. The tour includes the King's Apartments, designed by Sir Christopher Wren for William III, the King's Private Dining Room, the Orangery, the King's Great Bedchamber, the Haunted Gallery and the Great Hall, where digital imaging allows visitors to see part of the 16th century tapestries in their original colours. Tours, which may be unsuitable for young children, and require booking in advance, are on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 6.30pm, 7.00pm and 7.30pm. Hampton Court Palace until 16th December.


British Galleries 1500 - 1900, have been transformed, producing the most comprehensive display of British design and art anywhere in the world, with over 3000 exhibits on view. The £31m lottery funded project is the V&A's largest for over half a century. The fifteen galleries, occupying 10% of the entire floor space of the museum, tell the story of British design from the Tudor to the Victorian periods, with an unrivalled collection of furniture, textiles, dress, ceramics, glass, silver, prints, painting and sculpture. They contain some of Britain's most significant cultural treasures, including Henry VIII's writing desk, James II's wedding suit and the Great Bed of Ware. Every major name in the history of British design is represented, including Grinling Gibbons, Robert Adam, William Morris and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, as well as manufacturers such as Wedgwood, Doulton and Liberty. The galleries combine modern displays and five restored period rooms, together with the latest technology to enable visitors to identify the characteristic shapes or motifs of different styles, explore a painting, or date a design. There are also video and audio programmes, including music and commentaries on selected objects, and facsimile books and artefacts to touch and handle. Victoria & Albert Museum continuing.

Braco Dimitrijevic: Triptychos Post Historicus is a collaboration between the Ikon Gallery and The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, presenting the first exhibition of work in Britain since 1985 by one of Europe's most influential contemporary artists. His pieces juxtapose items from all aspects of human experience, combining works of art, natural phenomena and manufactured objects - previously at the Tate, a Modigliani, a pumpkin and a wardrobe. Here, Dimitrijevic makes a number of new works based on loans of paintings from both collections, including Vincent Van Gogh, Frans Hals, Luca Signorelli, Edouard Manet and Domenico Beccafumi. As an example, Evaristo Baschenis still life of musical instruments, is augmented by three cellos spiked in the floor in front of it, along with some fruit. Easy to dismiss as 'an ultimate makeover programme', in fact these are actually quality pieces that genuinely bring a fresh insight into familiar works. The Art Bus provides free transport between the venues on selected weekends throughout the exhibition. The Barber Institute and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham until 20th January.

Handel House Museum is the culmination of a decade's work to restore the house where Handel lived for 35 years, together with the upper floors of the adjoining house, and open it as London's first composer museum. This is the house in which Messiah, Music For The Royal Fireworks, Israel In Egypt, George II Coronation Anthem and most of the organ concertos were written. The decoration scheme has been recreated as authentically as possible, Handel being the first owner in 1723, and the contents are based on an inventory taken shortly after his death there in 1759. The collection brings together original manuscripts and letters, early published editions of his works, portraits and sculpture, together with furniture and furnishings, and two specially built harpsichords, which will be played for visitors. Three original fireplaces from Tom's Coffee House in Covent Garden, where many of Handel's works received their first public performances, have been installed in the main rooms. There is also a space for temporary exhibitions, the first of which charts the refurbishment of the building. Handel House Museum, London continuing.

The Fine Art Of Photography celebrates the Scottish National Photography Collection, which contains around 27,000 images, many with a Scottish connection, covering the 150 year period from the beginnings of the medium to the present day. The 200 photographs in this show include the pioneering work of D. O. Hill and Robert Adamson, as well as that of other 19th century Scots, Thomas and J. Craig Annan, William Donaldson Clark, William Carrick and John Thomson. Among the 20th century works are Bill Brandt's Gorbals studies, Annie Leibovitz's portrait of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and Eve Arnold's Malcolm X, plus Douglas Gordon's self portraits as Andy Warhol and Marilyn Monroe. Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh until 13th January.

Agatha Christie And Archeology: Mystery In Mesopotamia reveals the hitherto unknown interests and talents of the crime writer, told through archaeological finds from the sites on which she worked with her husband Max Mallowan at Ur, Nineveh and Nimrud. Important objects from these digs are combined with archives, personal memorabilia, souvenirs, cameras, photographs and films made by Christie. Together with first editions of her novels, they show how these discoveries and her extensive travels in the Near East influenced her detective writing. In the forecourt of the museum until 2nd December, visitors will also have an opportunity to explore an original 1920s Venice Simplon-Orient-Express sleeping carriage of the kind used by Christie on her honeymoon, and which featured in one of her most popular stories. British Museum until 24th March.

Words And Things examines the nature of meaning and identity in an age of perfect copies and image manipulation, where information is driving out knowledge. Cheryl Donegan, shows the process of the evolution of a work from video clip to painting; Mark Dion looks at the preservation and display of historical objects at the Hunterian Museum; Simon Starling considers the boundaries between the value of rare design objects and valueless everyday materials; and net art pioneers JODI have stripped away the characters and buildings from the video game Quake to reveal 12 versions of the source code that lies behind them, but which can be played in a wholly different way.

Ed And Ellis In Ever Ever Land is the result of Tracy Mackenna and Edwin Janssen's investigation into the notion of Scottishness. This has been conducted by conversation and correspondence during the two year closure of the Centre for Contemporary Arts for a £10m redevelopment designed by Page & Park. Further information can be found on the CCA web site via the link from the Galleries section of ExhibitionsNet. CCA Glasgow until 23rd December.


Rembrant's Women is the first major exhibition to examine how women were portrayed by Rembrandt. The women in his household, elderly mother Cornelia, blonde wife Saskia, son's nursemaid Geertje Dircks, and dark haired mistress Hendrickje Stoffels, provided the models for figures in large scale historical, mythological and biblical scenes. Rembrandt also made sketches of women going about their everyday business, providing a glimpse of seventeenth century domestic routine. His female figures are beautiful, yet unclassically realistic, depicting their bodies complete with imperfections, thus challenging perceptions of beauty in a way that his contemporaries found shocking. Twenty seven paintings, forty eight etchings and forty four drawings are displayed chronologically, demonstrating how Rembrandt developed certain themes depicting women, how his stylistic approach changed with the years, and how he kept returning to certain subjects throughout his life. Royal Academy of Arts until 16th December.

Facts Of Life: Contemporary Japanese Art is one of the major exhibitions in the Japan 2001 Festival, and the largest show of contemporary Japanese art ever shown in the UK. It includes works by 25 artists, from key figures such as Nobuyoshi Araki, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Tatsuo Miyajima and Yayoi Kusama, to a younger generation of rising talent. These range over painting, photography, installation, video and performance, with some created specially for this exhibition. Many are motivated by social concerns, such as the alienation and vulnerability of the individual within the urban landscape, social engagement, and the nature of the material world. These themes emerge in some of the most cutting edge contemporary art being made today, together something that is often missing - humour. Hayward Gallery until 9th December.

Hidden Art is an ongoing project which brings together East London's designer-makers, studios, galleries and other creative businesses from fashion to furniture. At the 8th annual Open Studios weekends, over 200 designer-makers of tableware, furniture, textiles, jewellery, fashion, glass, ceramics, sculpture, paintings and prints will be offering a rare glimpse into their workshops at 68 studios and other venues. Other events include free narrow boats trips on the Regent's Canal between Mile End Park and Broadway Market; craft demonstrations and participatory workshops; an exhibition at The Prince's Foundation of drawings and paintings inspired by local places of interest created by pupils of East London schools; a Craft Market at Spitalfields Market; a Design Fair at Mile End Park. A very comprehensive map and guide is available, together with further information from the Hidden Art web site via the link opposite. Hidden Art continuing - Open Studios on 1st-2nd December.