Dulwich Picture Gallery – I

Art and Life: Ben Nicholson, Winifred Nicholson, Christopher Wood, Alfred Wallis, William Staite Murray, 1920 – 1931, Dulwich Picture Gallery, until 21st September 2014

 

Winifred Nicholson, Cyclamen and Primula, c.1922-3, oil on board, 50 x 55 cm, Courtesy of Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge/ © Trustees of Winifred Nicholson

Winifred Nicholson, Cyclamen and Primula, c.1922-3, oil on board, 50 x 55 cm, Courtesy of Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge/ © Trustees of Winifred Nicholson

If you haven’t already made the pilgrimage to see this exhibition then I do suggest you make the effort. It focuses on the ten year marriage of Winifred and Ben Nicholson, who are rightly numbered among the top echelon of 20th century British painters. It also looks at their friendships and exchange of ideas with their contemporaries Christopher Wood, Alfred Wallis and the ceramicist William Staite Murray.

Christopher Wood, Zebra and Parachute, 1930, oil on canvas, 55.4 x 61.2 cm, © Tate, London 2013

Christopher Wood, Zebra and Parachute, 1930, oil on canvas, 55.4 x 61.2 cm, © Tate, London 2013

Alfred Wallis, The Schooner the Beata, Penzance, Mount’s Bay, and Newlyn Harbour, Undated, Oil on board, 40 x 50.5 cm, Private Collection

Alfred Wallis, The Schooner the Beata, Penzance, Mount’s Bay, and Newlyn Harbour, Undated, Oil on board, 40 x 50.5 cm, Private Collection

The show, curated by the Nicholson’s grandson Jovan Nicholson, is grouped by location – London, Lugano, Cumberland and Cornwall – enables us to see the parallel views of the same scenes by the artists. It is an eloquently told story of a certain time in British Modern Art, especially Nicholson’s move towards Abstracts and ends appropriately with his 1935 (painting).

 

Ben Nicholson, 1935 (painting), 1935, Oil on canvas, 60 x 91 cm, Private Collection / © Angela Verren-Taunt 2013. All rights reserved, DACS

Ben Nicholson, 1935 (painting), 1935, Oil on canvas, 60 x 91 cm, Private Collection / © Angela Verren-Taunt 2013. All rights reserved, DACS

http://www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk

William Staite Murray, Vortex, c. 1926-9, Stoneware Bowl, H 8.3, D 19, © York Museums Trust (York Art Gallery)

William Staite Murray, Vortex, c. 1926-9, Stoneware Bowl, H 8.3, D 19, © York Museums Trust (York Art Gallery)

A painting by Norman Blamey sells for over five times its estimate at auction

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This very striking oil on board mural of `St Andrew the Fisher of Men` was originally painted by Norman Blamey OBE (1914-2000) for Ruislip’s Lutheran Church of St Andrew and it recently sold for £3200 against a pre-sale estimate of £600 at Wellers Auction House in Guildford.
His approach to sacred and secular subjects was meticulous realism and in some he emulated early Renaissance masters with his use of crystalline geometry and one can also see a debt to Stanley Spencer. Only in recent years has he been given his due recognition.

http://www.wellersauctions.com

The Art and Science of Exploration, 1768-80

The Art and Science of Exploration, 1768-80, Queen’s House, Greenwich, London SE10

‘Tahiti Revisited’    by William Hodges, 1776 Oil on canvas National Maritime Museum, London

‘Tahiti Revisited’
by William Hodges, 1776
Oil on canvas
National Maritime Museum, London

The fabulous classical building that is the Queen’s House is the setting for this new display which examines the highly important part that artists played in Captain Cook’s three voyages of discovery.

The Kongouro from New Holland (Kangaroo)       by George Stubbs, 1772 Oil on mahogany panel National Maritime Museum, London

The Kongouro from New Holland (Kangaroo)
by George Stubbs, 1772
Oil on mahogany panel
National Maritime Museum, London

On his return from the first expedition Cook brought the news of new flora, fauna and peoples through accounts and imagery and it was this combination of science and art that continued in his two further voyages.

Portrait of a large dog (Dingo) George Stubbs, 1772 Oil on mahogany panel National Maritime Museum, London

Portrait of a large dog (Dingo)
George Stubbs, 1772
Oil on mahogany panel
National Maritime Museum, London

The artists not only recorded the unfamiliar lands they visited but also the peoples – the portrait of Poedua, the Daughter of Orio by John Webber is among the earliest of a Polynesian woman by a European painter . Such works, including the scenes painted by William Hodges influenced how the public at home viewed the Pacific.

Poedua, the daughter of Orio (c.1758–c.1788)        by John Webber, c.1784 Oil on canvas National Maritime Museum, London

Poedua, the daughter of Orio (c.1758–c.1788)
by John Webber, c.1784
Oil on canvas
National Maritime Museum, London

Among the cargo brought back on the first voyage were 30,000 dried plants and 955 botanical drawings by Sydney Parkinson, who sadly died on the return journey. The importance of these new plants led to Parkinson’s patron the naturalist Joseph Banks employing a number of artists to finish watercolours and engravings from Parkinson’s sketches. A work not fully completed until the 1980s.

Castanospermum austral watercolour just Sydney Parkinson [after] Watercolour The Trustees of the Natural History Museum

Castanospermum austral watercolour just
Sydney Parkinson [after]
Watercolour
The Trustees of the Natural History Museum

What is particularly exciting about this exhibition is that it is the first time since the National Maritime Museum acquired them in November of last year that the Stubbs’s portraits of a Large Dog (Dingo) and The Kongouro from New Holland (Kangaroo) have been on public display. However they are both given very close competition in interest by the other works shown alongside them and together they take us on these voyages of discovery, a journey that will long remain with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 http://www.rmg.co.uk

The Death of Captain James Cook, 14 February 1779        by Johan Zoffany, c.1798 Oil on canvas National Maritime Museum, London

The Death of Captain James Cook, 14 February 1779
by Johan Zoffany, c.1798
Oil on canvas
National Maritime Museum, London

Never Again!

Never Again! World War I in Cartoon and Comic Art, The Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1, until 19th Oct 2014

Situated not far from the British Museum is the fascinating Cartoon Museum which shows British cartoons and comic art from the 18th century to the present.

Hark! Hark! The Dogs do Bark! 1914. Artist unknown ©

Hark! Hark! The Dogs do Bark! 1914. Artist unknown
©

The current exhibition is devoted to the First World War and shows how British cartoonists were from the beginning involved in the propaganda war to bolster morale and lampoon the enemy.

The Gallipolii shell diverter (for returning the enemy's fire),  c. 1915 William Heath Robinson,  ©

The Gallipolii shell diverter (for returning the enemy’s fire), c. 1915 William Heath Robinson,
©

Better 'Ole s copyProbably the most well-liked cartoon of the war is Bruce Bairnsfather’s ‘Well, if you knows of a better ’ole, go to it’. While he was criticised in Parliament for his work, Bairnsfather was highly popular with the troops. The three hundred or so images come from newspapers, magazines, comic postcards and children’s comics. There are also some French and German postcards and cartoons from trench publications which were actually produced by those serving. Some new commissions specially created for the show can be viewed too.

The exhibition provides a wide- ranging insight to all facets of the war, including air raids, conscription, conscientious objectors and women’s war work. Some may find a few politically incorrect by today’s standards but many will bring a smile which is, of course, what they were meant to do.

 

www.cartoonmuseum.org

 

Never Again! G. R. Halkett, 1915, Cartoon Museum Collection. Donated by the ArtFund. ©

Never Again! G. R. Halkett, 1915, Cartoon Museum Collection. Donated by the ArtFund.
©

 

Footnote:

On August 29th is a special evening event Dazzle, Dance & Draw – FREE EVENT (booking essential)

http://www.cartoonmuseum.org/events

 

Royal Childhood

Royal Childhood, Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, until 28th September 2014.

 Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace  Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014  Peter Smith

Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
Peter Smith

Buckingham Palace, as this view of the Picture Gallery suggests, is a veritable treasure house of Old Masters, English paintings, porcelain (especially French), great furniture, clocks and sculpture. To many of us it is the place where the Queen entertains visitors whether heads of state or more ordinary mortals invited to the annual garden parties and investitures. A seat of State and Royal business!

Handwriting practice of the five-year-old Prince of Wales (future George IV), 1767 Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014.

Handwriting practice of the five-year-old Prince of Wales (future George IV), 1767
Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014.

Princess Victoria's home-made wooden dolls Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014.

Princess Victoria’s home-made wooden dolls
Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014.

That is why this year’s exhibition Royal Childhood is special for it reminds us that it has also been a family home from the time George III purchased it in 1762. Indeed the east front with its famous balcony was commissioned in 1845 by Queen Victoria to give more ‘accommodation for our little family, which is fast growing up’. She and Prince Albert had nine children. In the last century Her Majesty the Queen and her sister Princess Margaret moved into the Palace in 1936 when their parents King George VI and Queen Elizabeth came to the throne, and of course the Queen has raised her own children there since her own accession in 1952.

What huge fun this exhibition is for it reminds us that despite some of the necessary formalities, such as the birth announcement displayed on the easel in the forecourt as happened with the birth of Prince George of Cambridge last year, that children are very much the same in their love of dressing up, recording their growth in height, toy cars, rocking horses, exercise books, and making things such as pottery.

Cupboard door marking the heights of royal children, from Princess Elizabeth to Prince Andrew. Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014.

Cupboard door marking the heights of royal children, from Princess Elizabeth to Prince Andrew.
Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014.

Fairy costume worn by Princess Anne Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014.

Fairy costume worn by Princess Anne
Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014.

Among the highlights for me were the doll’s house belonging to two of George III’s daughters and the silver-gilt Lily Font used for royal christenings but these are just two of the many wonderful things reflecting nine generations of royal children. Certainly when I saw the pedal cars – there was a thunderstorm outside – I thought what fun it would be to race up and down the Picture Gallery in them. I hope that it proves as nostalgic and enjoyable an exhibition for all who visit it.

Silver-gilt Lily Font, 1841 Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014.

Silver-gilt Lily Font, 1841
Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014.

 http://www.royalcollection.org.uk

Toy soldiers belonging to Prince Edward, c.1960 Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014.

Toy soldiers belonging to Prince Edward, c.1960
Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014.

Miniature Aston Martin DB5 presented to Prince Andrew, 1966. Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014.

Miniature Aston Martin DB5 presented to Prince Andrew, 1966.
Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014.

Rocking horse presented by President Obama and Mrs Obama to Prince George, 2013 Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014.

Rocking horse presented by President Obama and Mrs Obama to Prince George, 2013
Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014.

Blue glazed bowl made by Prince Harry, aged 11. Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014.

Blue glazed bowl made by Prince Harry, aged 11.
Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014.

Lynn Chadwick

Lynn Chadwick at Salisbury Cathedral & Canary Wharf, London

 

Thanks to London’s Osborne Samuel Gallery’s generous long-term loan Lynn Chadwick’s Cloaked Figure IX can now be seen in Salisbury Cathedral Close. It is certainly a fitting tribute to the internationally respected sculptor in a year which marks the hundredth anniversary of his birth.

Cloaked Figure IX (from behind) Lynn Chadwick Salisbury Cathedral  Close  - photo by Ash Mills

Cloaked Figure IX (from behind) Lynn Chadwick Salisbury Cathedral Close – photo by Ash Mills

Dating from the late 1970s this well-known sculpture is one of Chadwick’s series of standing and walking cloaked figures. The Cathedral’s Visual Arts Advisor Jacquiline Creswell said: ‘For me, Cloaked Figure IX, has enormous presence. She evokes images of cardinals and other ecclesiastic figures as she makes her way majestically toward the huge west doors. It is an implied movement, her enveloping, protective cloak swept behind with her pyramidal head held high, surveying her new surroundings. This life-size entity in the Close will be a new member in our rolling arts programme and we are looking forward to opportunities to use this distinctive sculpture as a focus for community engagement.’

Cloaked Figure IX (frontal) Lynn Chadwick Salisbury Cathedral Close - photo by Ash Mills

Cloaked Figure IX (frontal) Lynn Chadwick Salisbury Cathedral Close – photo by Ash Mills

As those of you who read my blogs on the Cathedral in June will gather, they are building up a reputation for displaying visual art both inside and out. As well as Cloaked Figure IX you will discover Helaine Blumenfeld’s  Angels: Harmony on Choristers’ Green; Elizabeth Frink’s Walking Madonna in the churchyard and Emily Young’s Angel Head in the Cloister garth. I shall certainly try and visit this wonderful place again.

www.salisburycathedral.org.uk

http://www.osbornesamuel.com

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 In Canary Wharf’s busy Cabot Square sits Lynn Chadwick’s bronze sculpture ‘Couple on Seat’ and it is no doubt admired by both workers and shoppers as they pass by. From August 19th the statue will be given its own voice as part of the ‘Talking Statues’ project led by Colette Hiller. The Talking Statues initiative animates 35 sculptures in London and Manchester for a year with amusing monologues inspired by the work of art itself.

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How does it work? Well you can swipe your smart phones on a nearby tag and then hear the figures “come to life” with monologues that offer a humorous view on the two sides of a marriage. The voices belong to the well-known British comedians and actors Meera Syal and Sanjeev Bhaskar and the dialogue is written by Nikesh Shukla, author of Meatspace and Coconut Unlimited.

Canary Wharf has one of the UK’s largest collections of public art with over 65 artworks and sculptures which are all free to view.

www.canarywharf.com

Peace Breaks Out!

Peace Breaks Out!, Sir John Soane’s Museum: 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A, until 13th September

Napoloen Bonaparte Francesco Cossia (fl. 1797)

Napoloen Bonaparte
Francesco Cossia (fl. 1797)

As you will have gathered from earlier blogs this month 2014 is a year of anniversaries and this exhibition marks another for in the summer of 1814 Europe celebrated the peace that followed the fall of Napoleon.

The Place Vendome Henry Parke image under guidence of Soane

The Place Vendome
Henry Parke image under guidence of Soane

Drawn from museums and private collections is a display of over a hundred pieces, including ceramics, paintings and prints. They cover the peace celebrations in London and around the country as well as the experience of English visitors to Paris. The Prince Regent hosted the Allied Sovereigns in London as 1814 also marked the hundredth anniversary of the Hanoverian Succession.

Les facheux contretems ou L'anglais surpris par sa Femme

Les facheux contretems ou L’anglais surpris par sa Femme

From Sir John Soane’s own collections one sees books and architectural drawings of Paris and his collection of Napoleonica which all in all provides an enjoyable glimpse into a rather special year.

 

NAPOLEON RING with a lock of the Emperor's hair

Napoleon Ring with a lock of the Emperor’s hair

 http://www.soane.org

 

There is also a chance to buy works inspired by the exhibition by contemporary artists.

http://www.soane.org / shop.soane.org