News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 30th March 2011


James Watt And Our World is a recreation of the attic workshop of the founder of the British Industrial Revolution. When James Watt died in 1819 his workshop at his home near Birmingham was locked and its contents left undisturbed as an 'industrial shrine'. In 1924, the complete workshop, including its door, window, skylight, floorboards and 6,500 objects used or created by Watt, were carefully removed. Although the workshop has previously been displayed, visitors have never been invited inside until now. The vast majority of its contents, once hidden within drawers, on shelves and under piles of tools and papers can now be closely inspected. Watt's workshop is packed with a bewildering array of objects including the world's oldest circular saw, parts for flutes and violins he was making, and even the oldest surviving pieces of sandpaper. The display also includes a roller press developed by Watt to copy letters, a forerunner of the photocopier, and a device used to mint and standardise the size of coins for the first time, developed for the Royal Mint. One of the key objects in the exhibition is Watt's original 1765 model for the first separate condenser - in effect the greatest single improvement to the steam engine ever made. This unassuming brass cylinder, thought to be one of the most significant objects in engineering history, was only discovered in the 1960s, lying under Watt's workbench. The workshop is accompanied by a new gallery of previously unseen objects, photographs and drawings, presenting a portrait of the working life, ingenuity and character of the first mechanical engineer to be propelled to international fame. Watt was perhaps the first scientific entrepreneur, adept at 'turning science into money' and using his skills to generate wealth in a longstanding partnership with business entrepreneur Matthew Boulton. Science Museum, continuing.

Faces In The Crowd: Joseph Wright And Friends In Georgian Derbyshire combines the portraits of the great and the good with period local landscapes to create a picture of Georgian Derbyshire. Central to the exhibition are 8 paintings by Joseph Wright of Derby, the first professional painter to express the spirit of the Industrial Revolution. These paintings, which are taking a holiday while their permanent home in Derby is undergoing refurbishment, include Wright's best known work, 'A Philosopher giving that Lecture on the Orrery, in which a Lamp is Put in Place of the Sun', 'The Alchymist' and 'The Blacksmith's Shop'. Other faces in the exhibition include portraits of Erasmus Darwin, the first Astronomer Royal John Flamsteed, the Fifth Duke of Devonshire, the engineer James Brindley, and the glee singers of Tideswell, plus Francis Parsons's pencil drawing, preparatory to the engraving, of master canal builder James Brindley of Wormhill. The accompanying local landscapes include William Marlow's 'A View of Matlock Bath', Joseph Clayton Bentley's watercolour 'On the Derwent', John Bluck's 'Views of Matlock Bath', and C F Buckley's 'Ferry Boat over the Derwent'. Buxton Museum and Art Gallery until 31st May.

Ida Kar: Bohemian Photographer 1908 - 1974 is the first exhibition for 50 years devoted to the work of the woman photographer at the heart of the creative avant-garde. The display of almost 100 photographs by Ida Kar offers a fascinating insight into the cultural life of post Second World War Britain, and an opportunity to see both iconic works, and others not previously exhibited. It charts Kar's life and career from her first studio in Cairo in the late 1930s through her move to London in 1945, where she was introduced to the British art world through the family of Jacob Epstein and her husband Victor Musgrave. The exhibition includes striking portraits of artists such as Henry Moore, Georges Braque, Gino Severini, Feliks Topolski, Stanley Spencer, Alberto Giacometti, Man Ray, Le Corbusier, Barbara Hepworth and Bridget Riley, and writers such as Iris Murdoch, Jean-Paul Sartre, Doris Lessing, Colin MacInnes and T S Eliot. Among the portraits on display for the first time are of artist Yves Klein, shown at his first highly controversial London exhibition in 1957 in front of one of his famous monochrome works, in the distinctive blue-colour he was later to patent as his own; the 'art strike' artist and political activist Gustav Metzge, taken at an exhibition entitled 'Festival of Misfits'; and Royston Ellis, a poet and friend of John Lennon who inspired the song 'Paperback Writer'. Kar was instrumental in encouraging the acceptance of photography as a fine art when, in 1960, she became the first photographer to be honoured with a major retrospective in London, at the Whitechapel Art Gallery. Other material on display from the photographer's archive includes letters, a sitters' book and a portfolio book made in 1954 of her trip to the artists' studios of Paris. National Portrait Gallery until 19th June.


Watteau: The Drawings is the first major retrospective of drawings by the influential 18th century French artist. Drawing lay at the heart of Jean-Antoine Watteau's creative process. He prized his drawings and kept them in bound volumes which enabled him to refer to them when composing his paintings, as they were an essential source of inspiration for figure poses. Although Watteau worked in red chalk throughout his career, represented here by 'The Shipwreck' and 'Interior of a Draper's Shop', he is best known for his 'trois crayons' technique, the subtle manipulation and expert balancing of red, black and white. This exhibition of some 80 drawings demonstrates the breadth of Watteau's oeuvre and his lightness of touch, including 'fetes galantes', the genre he invented, which depicted social gatherings of elegant people in parkland settings. Watteau made drawings of figures in poses that were charming, ambiguous and natural. The subjects depicted in his drawings varied enormously from the joyous spirit of fantasy as depicted in 'Woman on a Swing, Seen from the Back', to his theatrical works inspired by the commedia dell'arte, 'Two studies of Mezzetin and a Pierrot', to the highly exotic, portrayed in works such as 'Seated Persian Wearing a Turban', and to the itinerant, 'Standing Savoyard'. Watteau is renowned as a painter, and although he executed drawings initially for their own sake, he reproduced many of his drawn figures in his paintings. The figure of a 'Woman on a Swing, Seen from the Back', features in his oil on canvas 'The Shepherds'. Watteau's influence was profound, pre-empting the spirit of the French Rococo and foreshadowing the work of the Impressionists in execution and treatment of colour. His work both as a draughtsman and as a painter influenced subsequent generations of French artists, notably Francois Boucher and Jean-Honore Fragonard. Royal Academy of Arts until 5th June.

Esprit et Verite: Watteau And His Circle is actually two exhibitions in one, celebrating Watteau, the artist who changed the course of French painting by introducing a particular kind of eroticism, and Jean de Jullienne, his publisher, and one of France's most significant art collectors. The relationship between Watteau and Jean de Jullienne represents a key moment in the development of French 18th century painting and patronage. The exhibition combines a display of 10 of the most important Watteau paintings in the world, spanning almost his entire career, including 'A Lady at her Toilet', 'Les Champs Elysees', 'Les charmes de la vie', Voulez-vous triompher des belles' and 'Sous un habit de Mezzetin', with significant masterworks of the 17th and 18th centuries drawn from the collection of Jean de Jullienne, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Wouwermans, Netscher, Bourdon, Greuze, Rosa and Vernet. Jean de Jullienne is famous for his role as editor of and dealer in Watteau's work, but a unique illustrated inventory of his collection from 1756, on public display here for the first time, demonstrates the breadth of his tastes. The Wallace Collection, Manchester Square, London W1, until 5th June.

Alice In Wonderland Treasures provides an opportunity to see rare first and second editions of the legendary Alice books, together with other Lewis Carroll associated artefacts and memorabilia. When Alice's Adventures In Wonderland was first published in 1865 the author Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) received a complaint about the quality of the printing from John Tenniel who had supplied the illustrations, so the first issue was withdrawn and a second one commissioned. As a result, copies of the first issue are extremely rare, but this exhibition includes a copy in the original red cloth binding. In addition, there are a number of editions of both Alice books, with illustrations by Arthur Rackham, Alice Ross, Charles Robinson and Gwynedd M Hudson, together with other works by Lewis Carrol. Among the other highlights are a presentation copy Alice's Adventures In Wonderland showing a poem written by the author for the actress Marion Terry; a first edition of Through The Looking-glass, And What Alice Found There signed by the original Alice, Alice Pleasance Hargreaves (nee Liddel); an 1893 advertisement apologising for the printing of the illustrations in the latest issue of Through The Looking-glass and requesting holders of copies to return them for exchange; a letter from Dodgson appealing against the inclusion of his name and pseudonym in Halkett and Laing's 'A dictionary of anonymous and pseudonymous literature of Great Britain'; and 'The Wonderland postage-stamp-case' and 'The game of logic', both invented by Dodgson. National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 2nd May.

Grant Museum Of Zoology is the only remaining university zoological museum in London. After 8 months of packing, design, construction, unpacking, screwing skeletons together and reorganising 68,000 dead animals, it has started a new life in at a new location in an Edwardian former library. Founded in 1828 as a teaching collection, the museum retains an air of the avid Victorian collector, packed full of skeletons, mounted animals and specimens preserved in fluid. A number of the species featured are now endangered or extinct, including the Tasmanian Tiger or Thylacine, the Quagga, and the Dodo. Many of the exhibits were collected personally by Robert Edmond Grant, a professor who taught zoology to Charles Darwin. The collection includes a selection of spectacular glass models made by the Blaschka family in the late 1800s, specimens collected by Thomas Henry Huxley, and Victor Negus's bisected heads, which are both arresting and beautiful (and reminiscent of the work of the artist Damien Hirst). Whilst maintaining the unique atmosphere of its amazing crammed displays in its former location, this version of the Grant questions what a museum should be and starts discussions about issues in the life sciences today. With a large portion of its cases asking visitors how museums should run and how displays should be designed, there are interactive exhibits that inform how the museum will be rebuilt in a few years time. UCL Rockefeller Building, 21 University Street, London WC1, continuing.

A Collector's Eye: Cranach To Pissarro provides an opportunity for the public to see paintings from a private collection spanning 15th century devotional images to 19th century French Impressionist landscapes. As well as being an exhibition of great breadth and depth of style and time periods, it is also a story of how a collection grows and develops, and how the taste of the collector changes and diversifies. The Schorr Collection was assembled by private collector David J Lewis. It has been built up over the last 35 years and now numbers over 400 paintings. Among the 64 paintings in the exhibition are Lucas Cranach's 'Lamentation over dead Christ', El Greco's 'St John the Evangelist', Rubens's 'Battle of the Amazons' and 'Allegory of the River God Maranon', Guidi Reni's 'The Evangelist St Mark', Salvador Rosa's 'A Philosopher', Delacroix's 'Portrait of King Philip IV of Spain', Camille Pissarro's 'Pommiers dans une prairie', and Sisley's 'Autour de la foret, matinee de juillet' and 'Port-Marly sous la neige'. The exhibition pays tribute to the visual and intellectual curiosity of a collector whose acquisitions now form one of the largest collections of Old Master paintings amassed in England since the Second World War. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, until 15th May.

Laurie Anderson, Trisha Brown, Gordon Matta-Clark: Pioneers Of The Downtown Scene, New York 1970s examines the experimental and often daring approaches taken by three leading figures in the rough-and-ready arts scene that developed in downtown Manhattan during the 1970s. Performance artist and musician Laurie Anderson, choreographer Trisha Brown and artist Gordon Matta-Clark were friends and active participants in the New York art community, working fluidly between visual art and performance, and the city provided a powerful context for their work. On the verge of bankruptcy in the 1970s, the disappearance of manufacturing and other major industries and the withdrawal of public services were turning the New York into a centre of widespread unemployment and lawlessness. Artists responded by taking over derelict spaces to make and exhibit their work, by using the city itself as the medium or setting for their work, by creating opportunities to engage directly with the public out of doors, and by building a vibrant arts community. The exhibition brings together around 160 works by Anderson, Brown and Matta-Clark, many rarely seen before, with some presented for the first time outside New York. Featuring sculptures, drawings, photographs, films, documentation of live performances and mixed media works, posters and other ephemera, the exhibition focuses on the intersections between their practices and explores their mutual concerns - performance, the body, the urban environment and found spaces, and an emphasis on process and experimentation. Barbican Art Gallery, London, until 22nd May.


An Englishman In New York: Photographs By Jason Bell features a series of previously unseen portraits inspired by the 120,000 British men and women currently living in New York City. Jason Bell has lived between London and New York since 2003, and whilst shooting an assignment for American Vogue about anglophilia with English models in an English tearoom, he became interested in investigating the English people resident in the city. He went on to identify and photograph a cross-section of the leading British born figures living in New York, in locations appropriate to them. The 20 portraits on display include Thomas P Campbell, the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; writer Zoe Heller, on her stoop in Tribeca; artist Cecily Brown in her Flat Iron studio; Nicola Perry in her Tea and Sympathy teashop; lingerie designer Jana Kennedy in her cramped apartment workroom; musician Sting in Central Park; director Stephen Daldry in front of the theatre where Billy Elliott is playing; journalist and television presenter Tom Brook in Times Square; actress Kate Winslet on her roof terrace; model Lily Donaldson in Tomkins Square Park; Simon Noonan, Barney's window dresser and television pundit in a window display; Vanity Fair contributing editor Vicky Ward sunbathing in Hudson River Park; Sean Kavanagh-Dowsett in his A Salt & Battery fish and chip shop; and historian Simon Schama at the Columbia University subway station; plus the less well known helicopter pilot, spray tanner, deep-sea diver, detective, plumber, cab driver and rat-catcher. National Portrait Gallery until 17th April.

Psychoanalysis: The Unconscious In Everyday Life explores the workings of the unconscious mind, and the contribution of psychoanalysis to the understanding of the mind and culture. The exhibition aims to examine the broad contemporary relevance of psychoanalysis in a way that is accessible to a wide audience. It focuses on a key concept of psychoanalysis: how the unconscious can be interpreted through everyday experiences, and in artefacts, both historical and contemporary. This is done through a range of modern and historical objects, contemporary artworks and digital animation. Notable objects include: a selection of Sigmund Freud's personal collection of Ancient Greek and Roman antiquities, which surrounded the psychoanalyst in his consulting room; body casts of masks, feet, eyes and phalluses from the museum's collection that are not usually on public view; a selection of drawings from one of the most famous case studies by Melanie Klein, the pioneer of child analysis, which have never been on public display before; an array of everyday things old and new, whose hidden associations and unconscious meanings are unravelled by the voices of leading psychoanalysts; and artworks by contemporary artists Arnold Dreyblatt, Mona Hatoum, Joseph Kosuth, Grayson Perry,Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Carlo Zanni, Sonny Sanjay Vadgama, Kristian de la Riva, Amelie von Harrach and Damian Le Sueur, which take inspiration from psychoanalytical ideas. Science Museum until 15th April.

London Under Siege: Churchill And The Anarchists, 1911 marks the 100th anniversary of the Houndsditch Murders and the siege of Sidney Street. The exhibition sets the murders and the siege in their historical and social context, explores immigration at the time, and the then Home Secretary Winston Churchill's role in the events. The Houndsditch Murders took place on 16th December 1910, when a group of armed Latvian revolutionaries attempted to break into H S Harris's jeweller's shop in Houndsditch. Three City of London policemen were fatally shot and two were disabled for life. The murders remain the highest loss of police life on a single day in Britain. The Siege of Sidney Street took place two weeks later on 3rd January 1911, when over 200 armed police and a detachment of Scots Guards laid siege to 100 Sidney Street in Stepney, where two of the Houndsditch gang were hiding. The stand-off eventually saw the building burn to the ground, with the remains of the gang members found inside. The scene was captured in an iconic photograph showing Winston Churchill in overcoat and top hat (which was punctured by a stray bullet) surrounded by police and soldiers. The siege of Sidney Street is part of East End and socialist folklore, and the area at the time was home to radical political groups, most of whom had come from Eastern Europe, thus helping to exaggerate people's imaginations about immigration and other cultures. The display includes exhibits from the trial of suspected gang members in May 1911: several objects used by the Houndsditch gang, such as never before seen guns from the crime scene, safe-breaking equipment, an ammunition belt, cap, gloves and a dagger; plus the overcoat worn by Winston Churchill on the day of the siege, and an order of service from the funerals of the murdered policemen at St Paul's Cathedral. Museum of London Docklands, West India Quay E14, until 10th April.