News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 31st March 2010


Victoria & Albert: Art & Love examines the unique partnership of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and their shared enthusiasm for art. The exhibition focuses on the period of Victoria's marriage to Prince Albert, from the time of their engagement in 1839 to the Prince's death in 1861, and challenges the popular image of Queen Victoria - the melancholy widow of 40 years. Through 402 works, including paintings, drawings, photographs, musical scores, jewellery and sculpture, Victoria emerges as a romantic and open minded young woman. For Victoria and Albert, art was an important part of everyday life, and a way they expressed their love for each other. Around a third of the objects in the exhibition were exchanged as gifts between the couple to mark special occasions. They range from the simple and sentimental, such as a set of jewellery in the form of orange blossom, to examples of early Italian painting, including Bernardo Daddi's 'The Marriage of the Virgin', and Perugino's 'Saint Jerome in Penitence', both given by the Queen to the Prince for his birthday. Personal items include never before seen drawings from Victoria's sketchbook, including a self portrait and sketches of her children, and the manuscript of a song, annotated by Victoria: 'Composed by dear Albert at Windsor Castle & sent to me by him Jan. 5. 1840. Among the highlights are a 'secret' portrait of the Queen and an 8sqm painting of the couple and their first 5 children by Franz Xaver Winterhalter; Victoria's elaborate silk costume for the Stuart ball in 1851, designed by Eugene Lami; a throne and footstool, carved from ivory, a gift from the Maharaja of Travancore; a gilt table fountain inspired by the Moorish architecture of the Alhambra palace, with horses modeled on Arabs from the royal stable; and an Erard grand piano, with a gilded case painted with monkeys playing trumpets, tambourines and violins. The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, until 31st October.

John Tunnard: Inner Space To Outer Space is the first major exhibition for 30 years of one of the most accomplished, yet frequently overlooked British painters of his generation. Nature-loving, star-gazing, bearded jazz extraordinaire John Tunnard's paintings were inspired by his many and varied interests, and drew on both surrealist fantasy worlds and developments in science and engineering. Tunnard found a way to create a stippled surface that looks textured, seemingly grainy to the touch, but which was entirely flat, seen to greatest effect in 'Fulcrum' and 'Man, Woman and Iron'. Although Tunnard began painting romantic landscapes the 1930s, it was when he moved into abstracts that he found his voice, with works perfectly capturing the post war 'Festival of Britain' 1950s style. He had a strong feel for pattern, which might be explained by his earlier career as a textile designer. The exhibition is grouped into the themes of Tunnards interests: Music and Surrealism, Nature and Landscape, and Science and Space Travel. Highlights include 'Plein Air Abstraction', 'Vane', 'Holiday' from the School Prints series, 'The Return', 'Self Portrait' and 'Messenger'. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until 6th June.

Gargoyles And Shadows: Gothic Architecture And 19th Century Photography examines the relationship that developed between photography and architectural practice in the 19th century. The exhibition explores how photography facilitated the re-discovery of an idealised past, as seen in the popularity of Picturesque views and Gothic Revival architecture. The display also addresses the role played by photography in documenting architectural heritage, by John Ruskin amongst others, in securing a record for buildings facing demolition, and its use as a tool for preserving the national architectural heritage. Photographs were also a significant source of inspiration to architects, not least in the Gothic Revival, where architects like Pugin drew upon Gothic design, and its perceived spirituality and nationalism, in the designing of buildings such as the Palace of Westminster. The exhibition includes a range of photographs dating from the 1850s to around 1915, by the leading British, French and Italian photographers of the day. The photographs are all of Gothic or Gothic revival buildings, in Britain and Europe. Alongside them are a selection of drawings, sketch books, watercolours and prints. Victoria & Albert Museum until 16th May.


Horace Walpole And Strawberry Hill examines the collection and interiors of Britain's finest example of Georgian Gothic Revival architecture. The exhibition brings together more than 250 works owned by Horace Walpole in his house Strawberry Hill, not seen together since 1842, when they were auctioned by his heir. It shows the breadth and significance of Walpole's collections, ranging from paintings by Joshua Reynolds and Van Dyck, to his unrivalled collection of portrait miniatures, from a pair of gloves that Walpole believed belonged to King James I to an Aztec mirror used by the Elizabethan magician and astrologer Dr Dee. Walpole was one of the most important English collectors of the 18th century, and one of the best known commentators on the social, political and cultural life of his time. He built Strawberry Hill as a summer villa beside the Thames at Twickenham between 1747 and 1790, and designed the interiors together with architects including Robert Adam. The house provided the setting for his collection encompassing paintings, ceramics, glass, silverware, sculpture, furniture, portrait miniatures, arms and armour, historical relics, and rare books and manuscripts. The exhibition recreates several rooms from the house in detail, including the 'Holbein Chamber', a bedchamber designed by Walpole to evoke the court of Henry VIII, with drawings by Holbein on display alongside copies by George Vertue of the Holbein portrait drawings in the Royal Collection; and 'The Armoury', a Gothic interior filled with an array of arms, such as the golden parade armour believed to have been made for King Francis I of France. Other highlights include ceramics and glassware, including Renaissance maiolica, porcelain by Sevres and creamware by Wedgwood. Victoria & Albert Museum until 4th July.

Turner To Samuel Palmer: British Watercolours 1800 - 1850 considers the high point of the watercolour medium in the first half of the 19th century, when the technical, intellectual and social conditions made it a major art form. Principal figures, such as JMW Turner, John Sell Cotman and Peter de Wint, are shown alongside lesser known names who are rarely exhibited, like John Glover and George Campion. While landscape forms an ongoing theme, this display also shows the watercolour medium being adopted for portraiture and figuration. The age of Victorian travellers is represented, and a section brings together artists who pursued an intense visionary approach towards nature, including William Blake and Samuel Palmer. Birmingham Art Gallery until 2nd May.

Chopin: The Romantic Refugee examines the ways in which Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin's music displays his Polish patriotism, in the context of the political sympathies for Poland that were current in France and England during his lifetime. Born 200 years ago, Chopin was a child prodigy whose brilliance as a pianist quickly spread beyond his native Poland, and a tour of Europe cemented his reputation as a composer of startlingly original piano music. Poland was variously partitioned between Russia, Prussia and Austria in the late 18th century, and in 1831 the Kingdom of Poland, established at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, fell under Russian rule. Chopin's nationalist sympathies prevented him from returning to Warsaw after his tour of Europe, and he spent the rest of his life in exile, mainly in Paris, where he associated with the leading writers, artists and composers. The exhibition comprises original manuscripts of several of his most famous compositions, portraits, letters and historic documents. Among the highlights are 6 original music manuscripts in Chopin's hand, including the A major Polonaise, and his late masterpiece, the Barcarolle; a signed copy of Adam Mickiewicz's national epic Ksiegi narodu polskiego; 2 portraits of Chopin, on show in public for the first time; Chopin's death mask, and a plaster cast of his left hand; and rare historic recordings, including the Funeral march played in 1903 by Raoul Pugno, who had studied with Chopin's pupil Georges Mathias, and recordings of Chopin's songs by the Polish soprano Marcella Sembrich. British Library until 16th May.

Henry Moore reveals the range and quality of work by the British artist who was at the forefront of progressive 20th century sculpture. Bringing together the most comprehensive selection of Henry Moore's works for a generation, the exhibition presents over 150 of his significant works, including stone sculptures, wood carvings, bronzes and drawings, with the largest number his reclining figures ever to be brought together. Moore first emerged as an artist in the wake of the First World War, in which he served on the Western Front. This exhibition emphasises the impact on his work of its historical and intellectual contexts: the trauma of war, the advent of psychoanalysis and new ideas of sexuality, and the influence of primitive art and surrealism. The show explores the defining subjects of Moore's work, including the reclining figure, showing its development over the course of his career, including threatening and sexualised works, which suggest the influence of Freud and psychoanalytical theories, such as 'Reclining Figure'; the iconic mother and child, ranging from the nurturing bond of 'Mother and Child' to 'Suckling Child'; abstract compositions such as 'Composition'; the influence of world cultures through his primitive masks and works such as 'Girl with Clasped Hands'; and seminal drawings of London during the Blitz, the depictions of rows of sleeping figures lying huddled in claustrophobic tunnels, capturing a sense of profound humanitarian anguish and the fragility of the human body, which helped to build the popular perception of the Blitz. Tate Britain until 8th August.

Gallery Of Costume has reopened after a 2 year, £1.3m refurbishment, which included the creation of new gallery space, a lecture room and education workshop, and restoration work to the Grade II listed Georgian building. The collection comprises more than 20,000 pieces, covering clothes, shoes and accessories, including some incredibly rare, historical items. It charts the history of clothes for men, women and children, from 17th century work-wear, to the designs of modern fashion icons, including Vivienne Westwood, Zandra Rhodes, Gianni Versace, Philip Treacy and Alexander McQueen. Many of the clothes represent high fashion of the day, while other, much rarer items represent the basic but equally interesting dress of working people, such as the clogs and shawls of Lancashire weavers. The gallery's latest acquisition, a fuchsia pink Givenchy couture dress designed for and worn by Audrey Hepburn in 1967, is on display for the first time, alongside one-offs by fashion houses such as Hardy Amies, Balenciaga, Chanel, Courreges, Worth, and Yves Saint Laurent. The gallery now has space for temporary exhibitions, the first of which is Suffragettes To Supermodels, celebrating a century of fashion from 1910 to the present day. Platt Hall Museum, Rusholme, Manchester, Suffragettes To Supermodels until 4th September.

Paul Sandby RA (1731 - 1809): Picturing Britain celebrates one of the Royal Academy of Arts' Foundation Members, regarded as the 'father of English watercolour'. The innovations and subject matter that Paul Sandby introduced into the practice of watercolour painting in Britain had a profound influence on artists of successive generations, including Thomas Girtin and JMW Turner. However, from the mid 19th century, Sandby's work slipped into obscurity. This exhibition of some 80 works highlights the range and variety of his techniques and subject matter, from exquisite watercolour depictions of the British countryside, from Surrey to Scotland by way of Wales, to print series of street vendors, which capture everyday life in 18th century London with Hogarthian wit. Through his extensive tours, initially as a military draughtsman and later as a professional artist, Sandby pioneered landscape painting. He both sought new sites and portrayed familiar ones with a fresh eye, capturing the diverse nature of the landscape of his day, and provides an important record of a country experiencing rapid social, economic and political change. The exhibition focuses on the finest examples of Sandby's work from a career which spanned 50 years, including the majestic landscape 'The Rainbow', and the depiction of 'Part of Wenlock Abbey in Shropshire', together with works which demonstrate the exceptional range of his creative output, from maps of North Britain (one of which is over 3m in length), to paintings, prints and his set of 12 London Cries, including the curiously titled 'My Pretty Little Gimy Tarters'. Royal Academy of Arts until 13th June.


Anderson & Low: Circus features a series of 50 striking images of members of an international circus troupe working on Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Jonathan Anderson and Edwin Low show the artists both on stage performing, revealing their power, strength, beauty and skill, and in individual studies, set amongst the amusement park rides, shorn of the false glamour, revealing an aura of sad and surreal awkwardness. The photographs are a study in the way performance and costume shape identity. They go deeper than the average performance photograph, seeming to capture something of the soul of the sitter. Despite the flamboyant costumes and extravagant make up the images exude a sort of reverential hush. The supple bodies of the performers are frozen by the camera into precise sculptural forms, revealing their physical reality with a special intensity. Anderson and Lowe use light very carefully, employing high key chiaroscuro to create unsettling visual drama in steep relief and dark swathes of shadow. The light force comes from outside the frame, lending an unreal otherworldliness that exalts the extraordinary power learnt, owned and expressed by the performer. In addition, Anderson and Low have taken their first step into video art, with a loop of several films staggered over three screens, to show an acrobat coiling and twisting his way downward from the ceiling on strips of silk. The Lowry, Salford, until 11th April.

Decode: Digital Design Sensations showcases the latest developments in digital and interactive design, from small, screen-based, graphics to large-scale interactive installations. The exhibition features both existing works and new commissions created especially for this event, by established international artists and designers, such as Daniel Brown, Golan Levin, Daniel Rozin, Troika and Karsten Schmidt. It explores three themes: Code presents pieces that use computer code to create new works, and looks at how code can be programmed to create constantly fluid and ever-changing works; Interactivity looks at works that are directly influenced by the viewer, where visitors can interact with and contribute to the development of the exhibits; and Network focuses on works that comment on and utilise the digital traces left behind by everyday communications, and looks at how advanced technologies and the internet have enabled new types of social interaction and mediums of self-expression. Among the works are: a film by John Maeda, the medium's original whiz-kid, that explores inorganic metamorphoses through computer animation; flowers grown from computer code, set to blossom as digital wallpaper; a mechanical eye that mimics the optic movements of those who stare at it; an infrared powered hairdryer that blows the seeds off a giant dandelion; and a 'responsive sculpture' that creates a mirror image of viewers on 768 motorised planes. Victoria & Albert Museum until 11th April.

Goya's Prison: The Year Of Despair, examines work from the period in the artist's life which became a significant turning point for him. Following a severe illness in 1792, Goya convalesced in Andalusia, living with wine exporter and private collector, Sebastian Martinez, an enthusiast of English painters, such as Reynolds, whose work Goya was able to study. During this period of recuperation, Goya produced a set of small cabinet paintings on tin plate that were to define the rest of his career. In painting this series of pictures, Goya allowed himself to produce images that were of personal interest, rather than those dictated by the restrictions imposed by his patrons. The subjects were diverse: six bullfighting scenes, a shipwreck, a raging inferno, a murderous stagecoach holdup, a travelling theatre, a lunatic asylum, and the inside of a prison, which probably best conveyed his state of mind. This series of small works became the tinplate templates for much of his subsequent work. In these works Goya discovered his niche, whether his former patrons liked it or not. This shift away from the huge official tapestry commissions to smaller and more intimate works was instrumental in restoring his reputation. The exhibition explores the story behind the painting 'The Interior of a Prison', with reference to other pictures in the cabinet series. Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, until 11th April.