News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 29th July 2009


Keats House, where the poet John Keats was living when he composed some of his best known poems, including Ode to a Nightingale, has reopened after a £500,000 restoration project, designed to reflect its appearance during his lifetime. Among the works carried out were: the redecoration of all the rooms, based on the analysis of surviving paint and wallpaper and expert advice on Regency interior design; the opening up of the first floor landing revealing the original paneling; the restoration and opening of a small dining room in the basement; the conservation of the oil paintings; the installation of new display cases, which enable more small items to be seen, some of which have never been on display before; the repainting of outside of the house with lime wash, as used on the house in the early 19th century; and the redesign of the garden in a more original form. Keats House, or Wentworth Place as it was originally known, was built in 1814 as two semi-detached houses. John Keats came to live the smaller, eastern side in 1818. After his death, the actress Eliza Jane Chester, who already owned the larger part of the property, bought Keats's house, knocked through the walls to create a single dwelling, and added the drawing room at the eastern end. The house is now home to a collection of books, letters, paintings, prints and artefacts, owned by, and relating to Keats, including two portraits of Keats painted by his friend Joseph Severn, a gilt bust produced after his death, the engagement ring that he gave to Fanny Brawne, and a lock of her hair in a frame. Keats House, Keats Grove, Hampstead, continuing.

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.

Samuel Johnson And London follows the bookseller, poet, compiler of the Dictionary of the English Language, and coiner of the aphorism "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life", his friends and collaborators around the 18th century city, and looks at the many facets of his varied literary career and legacy. Among the original books, letters and artefacts on display are: a copy of A Dictionary of the English language; Johnson's poem 'London'; a copy of 'Logick' by Isaac Watts, showing Johnson at work; Hester Lynch Piozzi's, 'letters to & from the late Samuel Johnson'; accounts kept by the printer William Strahan, regarding the dictionary; a copy of Thomas Rowlandson's 'Picturesque Beauties of Boswell'; a letter from Johnson to the King's librarian; an Invitation from John Wilkes to Johnson; an 'Ode by Dr Johnson to Mrs Thrale upon their supposed …. Nuptials'; a copy of 'The Beauties of Johnson'; a list of members of 'The Club'; a copy of James Boswell's 'The Life of Samuel Johnson'; corrected proofs of Johnson's 'Preface on Dryden'; Boswell's letter to Johnson's friend Bennet Langton; and a ticket for Johnson's funeral. The British Library until 30th September.


Corot To Monet charts the development of open air landscape painting in the century up to the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874. The display features some 90 small scale paintings by the major artists of this genre, revealing the achievements of these early plein-air painters, and their far reaching influence on the Impressionists, as they began exploring new techniques. The exhibition opens with scenes by Jean-Bapiste-Camille Corot, Simon Denis and Pierre Henri Valenciennes, who were among artists that gathered in Rome in the 18th and 19th centuries, setting out to paint picturesque locations in the Campagna outside the city. The major part of the show focuses on the work of the Barbizon School, demonstrating how painters such as Theodore Rousseau, Jean Francois Millet and Narcisse-Virgilio Diaz de la Pena captured their native scenery to great effect. Highlights include Corot's 'The Roman Campagna, with the Claudian Aqueduct', capturing a broad, sunlit landscape hung with majestic clouds in a single layer of paint, and 'The Four Times of the Day', a quartet of panels, completed in just a week at the studio of Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps, drawn from reminiscences of the Italian terrain; Rousseau's 'The Valley of Saint-Vincent', evoking the wild, unspoilt nature of the Auvergne with long, fluid brushstrokes; Richard Parkes Bonington's 'La Ferte', realising the sand, sea and sky of the Picardy coastline with broad sweeps of his brush; Diaz de la Pena's 'Sunny Days in the Forest' a lively celebration of spring skies and rich foliage; and Monet's 'The Beach at Trouville' displayed alongside the beach scenes of Eugene Boudin and late works by Corot. National Gallery until 20th September.

Project Apollo: The Lunar Landings marks the 40th anniversary of mankind's greatest technical achievement, that of landing a man on the moon on 20th July 1969, and returning him safely to earth. The exhibition takes place at the top of the National Space Centre's iconic 42m Rocket Tower, and is a multiple experience immersion in the 1960s, setting the event in the context of its time, with original film footage, artefacts and memorabilia of the era. Visitors are transported back in time with the sights and sounds of the 60s, and experience what it would have been like to be part of the world community watching the first moon landing, in a recreated 1969 living room; have the opportunity to land the lunar module themselves in a new simulator; get close to a genuine piece of moon rock bought back by the Apollo astronauts; see Britain's largest exhibition of Lego model spacecraft; and even have their picture taken 'on the surface of the moon'. The permanent display includes in six galleries, exploring different aspects of astronomy and space exploration, featuring over 150 actual and replica rockets, satellites and capsules, plus a space theatre, showing animated journeys across space using the latest multimedia techniques. National Space Centre, Leicester, continuing.

The Highgrove Florilegium is an exhibition of watercolours by 75 leading botanical artists from around the world, who have painted the flora growing in the garden of The Prince of Wales. Distinguished botanists worked with the Head Gardener at Highgrove, to ensure that the 15 acre estate is represented in all its aspects by an appropriate selection of material, including plants that are useful or commonplace, rare and in decline, or just extravagantly beautiful. Some of the best contemporary botanical artists are represented in the exhibition, including Fay Ballard, Stephanie Berni, Josephine Hague, Katherine Manisco, Kate Nessler, Jenny Phillips, Kay Rees-Davies, Janet Rieck, Elaine Searle and Amanda Ward. Work was submitted for selection to a panel of experts led by Anne-Marie Evans, and the resulting collection shows a complete cross section, from trees and flowers, to vegetables and herbs. While botanical illustration can be traced back to herbals in the 6th century AD, the growing popularity of gardening, and awareness of plant forms and habitat, has led to a renewal of interest in botanical painting, and a new 'Golden Age' of botanical art. The exhibition is in partnership with The Prince's Charities Foundation, which is publishing 175 sets of the Florilegium. Museum of Garden History, Lambeth Palace Road, London, until 8th September.

Beyond Bloomsbury: Designs Of The Omega Workshops 1913 - 1919 explores a radical chapter in the history of 20th century British craft and design. Established in 1913 by the painter and influential art critic Roger Fry, the Omega Workshops were an experimental design collective, whose members included Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Wyndham Lewis, Frederick Etchells, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Winifred Gill and other artists of the Bloomsbury Group. The Omega Workshops brought the experimental language of avant-garde art to domestic design in Edwardian Britain. They were a laboratory of design ideas, creating a range of objects for the home, from rugs and linens to ceramics, furniture and clothing, all boldly coloured with dynamic abstract patterns. No artist was allowed to sign their work, and everything produced by the Workshops bore only the Greek letter Omega. The exhibition combines original Omega working drawings with the finest examples of the Workshops' printed linens, Cubist-inspired hand knotted rugs, woven wools and painted silks, as well as ceramics and furniture. Highlights include the 'Peacock Stole' of chiffon silk painted in primary colours, with a motif of confronting peacocks, unseen for 50 years; Vanessa Bell's painted screen 'Bathers in a Landscape', a transitional object between fine and decorative art; a rug designed for Lady Ian Hamilton's flat at 1 Hyde Park Gardens, with working drawings revealing aspects of the design, commissioning and manufacturing process; and the original signboard painted by Duncan Grant, which hung above the entrance to the workshops. Running alongside the main exhibition is a display of work by Winifred Gill, who ran and organised the Workshop during the First World War The Coutauld Gallery, Somerset House, until 20th September.

Fly Navy 100 charts the rapid development of naval aviation, from The Mayfly, the first Royal Naval airship commissioned in 1909 and early bi-planes, to today's Sea Harrier. The exhibition features 9 important aircraft, including a replica of a 1912 Short S27; the first aircraft to have taken part in a naval battle in 1916 - a Short 184; the first helicopter to be commissioned by the Royal Navy in 1949 - a Westland Dragonfly; the Sea King helicopter flown by Prince Andrew during the Falklands conflict; and a Sea Harrier that shot down an Argentine Sky Hawk in the same campaign; together with a Westland Lynx helicopter, a Supermarine Walrus sea-plane, a Fairey Firefly, and a Sopwith Pup. The museum, which houses Europe's largest collection of naval aircraft, also provides an opportunity for visitors to get a feel for what it would be like to be onboard the flight deck of the HMS Ark Royal, with an entire gallery that recreates the experience, while other galleries concentrate on aircraft from the Second World War, and experimental aircraft, including the first British built Concorde. Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton, Somerset, until 31st December.

Cecil Beaton: Portraits is a major retrospective of work by one of the most celebrated photographers of the 20th century. Cecil Beaton, who was renowned for his images of elegance, glamour and style, was also a writer, artist, designer, actor, caricaturist, illustrator and diarist, talents which are reflected in the exhibition. It is divided into four sections capturing 50 years of fashion, art and celebrity: The Early Years: London To Hollywood - 1920s and 1930s, with photographs of Hollywood stars such as Marlene Dietrich and Fred Astaire, artists including John (Rex) Whistler, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, and writers such as Edith Sitwell; The Years Between: The War And Post-War Arts - 1940s, featuring Greta Garbo, Vivian Leigh and Laurence Olivier, as well as Princess Elizabeth and Winston Churchill; The Strenuous Years: Picturing The Arts - 1950s, with portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, Francis Bacon, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Lucian Freud and Marilyn Monroe; and Partying And The Partying Years: Apotheosis And Retrospection - 1960s and 1970s, including images of Audrey Hepburn, Prince Charles, Harold Pinter, Katherine Hepburn, Mick Jagger, Barbara Streisand and Elizabeth Taylor. Walker Gallery Liverpool until 31st August.


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 1,200 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from around 10,000 submissions, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. Over £70,000 is given out to artists included in the exhibition through 10 prizes. This year the show has been masterminded by Ann Christopher, Eileen Cooper and Will Alsop, with the theme Making Space. Highlights include a gallery of film curated by Richard Wilson, which includes his own site specific installation; an architecture gallery with projects by Zaha Hadid, Eric Parry, Norman Fostwer and Piers Gough; and Bryan Kneale's 'Triton III' stainless steel sculpture of concave and convex forms in the courtyard. There is also a memorial gallery dedicated to showing the works of the late Jean Cooke, featuring some of her key paintings, including 'Jamais je ne pleure et jamais je ne ris'. The Royal Academy of Arts until 16th August.

Robert Adam's Landscape Fantasies: Watercolours And Drawings reveals an undiscovered side to the work of one of the leading figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, who was also one of the most innovative architects and interior designers in Britain in the 18th century. This exhibition is dedicated to Robert Adam's picturesque landscapes, which were made towards the end of his life, purely for his own relaxation and enjoyment. These assured sketches and watercolours depict majestic landscapes - some real, some imagined - but all flawlessly composed. They feature magnificent castles perched perilously on towering mountain tops, and steep cliff faces surrounded by gushing waterfalls, rivers and gorges. Adam's atmospheric landscapes are spectacularly lit, with dark heavy skies and long brooding shadows. Though mostly imaginary, these Romantic views often take as their reference points the sublime landscape and alluring architecture of Adam's native Scotland. This selection of over 30 watercolours includes among its real views, Adam's spectacular rendition of Cullen Castle. A number of early drawings by his sketching partners Paul Sandby and John Clerk of Eldin are also on display. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 2nd August.

Haunted Manchester is an exhibition dedicated to Manchester's haunted buildings and the ghosts that lie within them. Manchester is a historic city, with some of the oldest and most unique buildings in the country, many of which are said to contain reports and sightings of ghostly activity and other strange phenomena. With 80 specially commissioned photographs, this exhibition shows these remarkable buildings, and their frightening and often poignant stories of long dead inhabitants. The images featured include Manchester's most haunted bus, the nightclub that used to be a church hall, the sad and doomed love affair between May and Herbert at The Palace Theatre in 1891, and the headless hound said to stalk the grounds of Manchester Cathedral. Urbis, Manchester, until 2nd August.