News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 29th September 2004


Encounters: The Meeting Of Asia And Europe 1500 - 1800 brings together a range of objects from Asia and Europe from the period when Europeans first discovered the sea route to the Indies. It shows how Europe was fascinated by the East, prizing its artistic treasures and exotic materials, while absorbing its culture, from drinking tea out of a porcelain cup to wearing printed cotton and acquiring spices, ivory, wood, silk and precious stones. Equally, Asians were influenced by Westerners, assimilating aspects of European culture from dressing in European clothing to acquiring new technologies such as clocks, mirrors and perspective in painting. On show are over 200 objects, including rare porcelain, jewel-encrusted caskets and miniature paintings made for European princes and collectors, together with luxury goods created for the European market, such as furniture made of lacquered wood and ivory, scroll paintings, willow pattern porcelain, painted silks, wallpapers and cashmere. Highlights include an Indian mother-of-pearl casket owned by Francois I and reputedly given to Henry VIII; the Fonthill Vase, the earliest recorded Chinese porcelain in Europe; the suit of samurai armour sent by a shogun to James I; the earliest known terrestrial globe made in China; a Ceylonese rock-crystal figure of the Child Jesus set in gold, sapphires and rubies; and Tipoo's Tiger, a near life size automaton of a British soldier being mauled by a tiger that encases an organ. Victoria & Albert Museum until 5th December.

Shakespeare In Quarto marks the digitising of the British Library's collection of original copies of Shakespeare plays, which are now available to view on its web site. It comprises 93 copies of the 21 plays by Shakespeare printed in quarto before the theatres were closed in 1642, with a facility to compare the different versions, expert commentaries on the texts and their variations, and reference works for further study. The site also explains how the plays were printed, published and sold when Shakespeare was writing, together with background material about the companies and actors that used them, and the first public playhouses in London. There is further information about the playwright's life and work in both Stratford-upon-Avon and London. Another section shows how the plays have changed in both print and in performance, as theatres, staging techniques, and fashions in costume, scenery and acting styles have altered, from the reopening of the theatres in 1663 to the present day, together with information about the actors who performed them, including rare archive recordings. There is a link to the BL web site from the Galleries section of ExhibitionsNet.

Constance Spry - A Millionaire For A Few Pence is the controversial exhibition that celebrates the work of the society florist and social reformer, who taught millions of mid 20th century Britons how to beautify their homes. From the 1930s to the 1950s, Constance Spry was the dominant influence on British homes, through her own flower arrangements, a floristry school, correspondence courses, radio broadcasts and best selling interior design and cookery books. In an era when many people were furnishing their homes for the first time, hers was the only name that counted in British home making. Although she arranged flowers for the Duke and Duchess of Windsor's wedding and the Queen's coronation, Spry's early experience was as a domestic science teacher in the East End of London in the 1920s. This had convinced her that everyone had the right to become 'a millionaire for a few pence' by beautifying even the poorest of homes. She championed arranging flowers, weeds, twigs from hedgerows and wasteland - and even vegetable leaves - in impromptu vases such as baking trays and gravy boats, as beautifully as expensive cut flowers in crystal. Drawn from Constance Spry's archive, this exhibition explores her role in democratising design in mid 20th century Britain and her enduring influence. She was the Martha Stewart of an earlier, simpler time. Design Museum until 28th November.


Jimi Hendrix At The Marquee Club features the largest collection of Jimi Hendrix memorabilia in existence, on public view for the first time, to launch the second resurrection of the legendary 1960s rock venue in recent years. The fruits of labour by a single devoted fan, the collection is staggering, with 300 hours of unseen footage, 15 hours of unreleased recordings, promotional material, paperwork, clothing, rare and unpublished photographs, and signed and handwritten items - including lyrics, poetry and drawings - plus ephemera from ticket stubs to hotel keys. In addition, there is the most extensive collection of Hendrix related vinyl known to exist, and rare period and contemporary posters documenting Hendrix's influence on music and pop culture. The exhibition attempts to recreate the ambience of a sixties Psychedelic Club, with 'trippy' interiors to showcase the artefacts, and regular 'live' shows, where footage of Hendrix's performances can be viewed. Among the highlights are three original guitars, including Hendrix's only left handed model, a self-doodled microphone box, various stage clothes, and a one page typewritten newsletter circulated during the Woodstock festival. The collection is so extensive that the material on display will rotate on a monthly basis. The Marquee Club, 1 Leicester Square, London WC2, 0870 444 6277833 until February.

59 Rodney Street, Liverpool is a Georgian terraced house that belonged to the photographer Edward Chambre Hardman from 1948 to 1988, which has just opened to the public for the first time. It contains a selection of Hardman's extensive collection of photographs - over 142,000 images, made between the 1920s and the 1980s - the studio where many were taken, the darkroom where they were developed and printed, the business records, and the rooms where Hardman and his wife Margaret (an active partner in the business) lived, complete with all their contents and ephemera of daily life. The photographs, portraits of the people of Liverpool, and landscapes of both the city and the surrounding countryside, provide a unique record of a time when it was the gateway to the British Empire and the world. Hardman's is the only known photographic practice of the 20th century where the entire output and premises have been preserved intact. It appears that he and his wife never threw anything away. Wedding presents lay unopened decades after the event, tins of food stored away during the Second World War remain, and a collection of antique children's toys reveal how Hardman kept his younger subjects amused. A complex filing system recorded the hair and eye colour of Hardman's sitters, with samples of real hair so that the re-touchers knew exactly how to tint the prints before despatch. There is a rolling programme of displays of Hardman's photographs. The Edward Chambre Hardman Studio, House & Photographic Collection, Liverpool, 0151 709 6261 continuing.

Ancient Art To Post Impressionism: Masterpieces From The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is the first opportunity in the UK to see some 200 treasures from Copenhagen's museum, while it is closed for refurbishment. The collection was built up in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by a father and son, Carl and Helge Jacobsen, descendents of the founder of the Carlsberg brewing company, and reflects their different tastes. Over a period of 30 years, Carl built up one of the largest private art collections of its time, with particular emphasis on Antiquities, including examples of Greek, Roman and Etruscan sculpture. He also acquired contemporary works by Danish Golden Age painters, and sculptors such as Kbke, Lundbye, Eckersberg and Bissen, and by French artists including Millet, Meunier, Rodin and Carpeaux. After his death in 1914, Helge made acquisitions of Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, including Manet, Monet, Sisley, Degas and Cezanne. He assembled one of the most comprehensive collections of works by Gauguin in existence, including both paintings and 3D pieces, of which 10 are featured in the exhibition. The museum is one of only four in the world to possess a complete set of Degas bronzes - totalling 72 works - with 13 on show here. Other highlights include 'A Smoking Party' by William Bendz, 'Women Bathing' by Cezanne, and a sketch by Manet of 'The Execution of Maximilian'. Royal Academy of Arts until 10th December.

Space Of Encounter: The Architecture Of Daniel Libeskind is the first exhibition in the UK of the work of the architect who has produced some of the most controversial buildings of our time. With their expressive forms and highly developed symbolism, Libeskind's designs consistently stir debate among both critics and the public. This exhibition explores Libeskind's architectural vision through a display of 16 key projects, including his master plan for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site in New York, shown with specially commissioned 2 metre high illuminated model; Denver Art Museum, which is a series of geometric shards; Imperial War Museum North in Manchester, an image of the world shattered into fragments; the Jewish Museum in Berlin, the building that established his reputation; and the proposed Spiral extension to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Previously unseen architectural models, drawings, plans and elevations are combined with film and slide projections in a display conceived in close collaboration with Studio Libeskind. Completed and unrealised projects are shown side by side with those undergoing construction, underscoring the consistency of Libeskind's architectural philosophy. Also included in the exhibition are Chamberworks and Micromegas, a series of intricate drawings, and costume and set designs for the Deutsche Oper Berlin production of Saint Francis Of Assisi. Barbican Art Gallery until 23rd January.

Toulouse-Lautrec And The Art Of The French Poster recreates an exhibition held in London in 1894 highlighting the fashion for poster art in Paris in the late nineteenth century. Much of the material passed into the hands of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and this is the first chance to assess its importance since 1894. Remarkably, the selection by the original organisers is more or less the same as would be made today, with Henri deToulouse-Lautrec, Jules Cheret, Grasset, Steinlen, Bonnard and Vallotton featuring strongly, plus a mixture of more commercial images to provide an overall background. The poster had come of age as an art form from the late 1880s onwards, facilitated by the advent of modern colour lithography - the printing of large coloured images from stones pulled on a lithographic press. This led to an explosion of imaginative 'high class' imagery, whereby every day products were sold through coloured images created by some of the greatest artists alive. The key figure is now recognised to be Toulouse-Lautrec, though contemporaries favoured Cheret, and would not have realised the long term artistic significance of artists such as Bonnard and Vallotton. The exhibition stresses the role of Toulouse-Lautrec by including his work as a general printmaker, as well as examples of the work of Mucha and other non-French artists, to show the wider field in Paris at the time. The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle until 13th March.

Sudan: Ancient Treasures focuses on recent archaeological discoveries that highlight the rich and diverse cultures that flourished in the forgotten civilisation of the Nile, long eclipsed by its better known neighbour, Egypt. The exhibition features some of the finest Sudanese objects produced during all phases of human settlement from the Palaeolithic through to the Islamic period, roughly 200,000 years ago to AD 1885. The Kushite sites at Jebel Barkal, Meroe and Naqa, dating from the 8th century BC into the 4th century AD, feature impressive monuments, temples, palaces and even pyramids - there are more pyramids in Sudan than there are in Egypt. Key objects on display include large stone sculptures - massive lions devouring bound prisoners, and statues of Egyptian gods - gold statues of Kushite kings, pottery, musical instruments, gold jewellery, wall paintings, and inscriptions in Egyptian, Meroitic, Greek and Arabic. Maps, plans and photographs help to set the objects in their archaeological and environmental context. The display reveals the many different aspects of Sudanese history, from the worldly power of the Kerma kings - accompanied to their death by 400 human sacrifices - to the humble graves of Christian rulers, and from the grandiose temples built by the Egyptian Pharaohs to the churches and mosques of later periods. The exhibition ends with a look at the current major threat to Sudan's archaeology by the construction of a new dam that will flood 170 kilometres of the Nile Valley. British Museum until 9th January.


Mirror - Christoph Girardet And Matthias Muller is a group of collaborative and solo works by the artists who specialise in creating montages of Hollywood clips and found television footage to suggest what might be going on behind the scenes. 'Mirror' is a new CinemaScope film presented as a double screen projection, inspired by the work of director Michelangelo Antonioni, which creates an atmosphere of 'the in-between' of belonging and isolation: a woman and a man are guests at an evening party - a love affair evaporates, the images shift, objects and people disappear and recompose. 'Beacon' similarly evokes 'the in-between', through the romantic connotations of the sea, as container of history, exotic underworld, and means of escape and travel, by combining travelogue footage and feature film scene settings into a single, imaginary locale. 'Play' is a montage of audiences, in which the onscreen action can only be seen reflected in their facial expressions and gestures, individual behaviour condenses into collective behaviour, and the event is transferred from the stage to the auditorium, so audience members become the actors in an unpredictable drama. In addition, two individual works, Girardet's 'Half Second Hand' and Muller's 'Promises', can be seen at night on the gallery's projection window. Site Gallery, Sheffield until 16th October.

Saul Bass: On Film celebrates the work of one of the greatest graphic designers of the 20th century, and the undisputed master of film title design. The elegance of the titles he created for Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger, Billy Wilder and Stanley Kubrick in the 1950s and 1960s and, later in the 1990s, for Martin Scorsese, transformed a banal medium into an art form. Before Bass, titles were simple lists of the cast and crew projected on to cinema curtains that were only drawn when the film began. As this exhibition shows, Saul Bass turned the film title into a visual spectacle. When he devised a simple paper cut out of a heroin addict's arm for Preminger's The Man With The Golden Arm, it caused a sensation. Title sequences became independently shot short films or animations that set the tone for the film itself. Bass went on to create some of the most enduring images in design and cinema history, from the spiralling circles of Hitchcock's Vertigo, through the journey based animation of Michael Todd's Around The World In Eighty Days, and the emerging skyline of Manhattan in Jerome Robbins's West Side Story, to the frenzied neons of Scorsese's Casino. Underlying Bass's work were the principles of the Bauhaus movement, and a search for simplicity. Bass's greatest skill was to create a single symbolic motif or image to encapsulate and represent the film, and so his work also revolutionised the film poster, replacing the previous star portraits with an image that conveyed the film's essence. Design Museum until 10th October.

The Anderson Collection Of Art Nouveau provides an opportunity to see a unique collection of objects in a complementary setting. Sir Colin and Lady Morna Anderson were passionate collectors of Art Nouveau furniture, jewellery, glassware, textiles, metalwork and ceramics in the 1960s, and amassed one of the finest private collections of its kind, which they later donated for public display. The items demonstrate the quality of craftsmanship produced on the Continent and in Great Britain around the turn of the 19th century. The collection, shown in its entirety, includes glass by Lalique and Tiffany, posters by Alphonse Mucha, ceramics by Minton and Royal Doulton and furniture by Louis Majorelle and Emile Galle. The continental Art Nouveau style developed very much in parallel with the Arts and Crafts Movement in Great Britain, and the exhibition illustrates the cross-currents between the two styles. The house in which it is shown, designed by M H Baillie Scott in 1900, is one of best surviving examples of the Arts and Crafts Movement, though the interiors clearly show the influence of Art Nouveau, from the stained glass windows that incorporate flowers and birds, to the flowing carved wooden frieze of mountain ash in the main hall. A perfect partnership. Blackwell, Bowness-on-Windermere until 3rd October.