Two at the Serpentine Gallery

Michael Craig-Martin, Serpentine Gallery, until 14th February 2016

MICHAEL CRAIG-MARTIN: TRANSIENCE; INSTALLATION VIEW; SERPENTINE GALLERY, 25 NOVEMBER 2015 - 14 FEBRUARY 2016 PHOTOGRAPH © 2015 JERRY HARDMAN-JONES

MICHAEL CRAIG-MARTIN: TRANSIENCE; INSTALLATION VIEW; SERPENTINE GALLERY, 25 NOVEMBER 2015 – 14 FEBRUARY 2016 PHOTOGRAPH © 2015 JERRY HARDMAN-JONES

It is hard to believe that this is the first showing of Craig-Martin’s work in a public gallery since 1989, still most will agree that it has been worth the wait.  His way of capturing changing times through strong representations of the passage of technology remains potent and powerful as well as thought provoking.

MICHAEL CRAIG-MARTIN: TRANSIENCE; INSTALLATION VIEW; SERPENTINE GALLERY, 25 NOVEMBER 2015 - 14 FEBRUARY 2016 PHOTOGRAPH © 2015 JERRY HARDMAN-JONES

MICHAEL CRAIG-MARTIN: TRANSIENCE; INSTALLATION VIEW; SERPENTINE GALLERY, 25 NOVEMBER 2015 – 14 FEBRUARY 2016 PHOTOGRAPH © 2015 JERRY HARDMAN-JONES

 

Simon Denny: Products For Organising, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, until 14th February 2016

SIMON DENNY: PRODUCTS FOR ORGANISING; INSTALLATION VIEW; SERPENTINE SACKLER GALLERY, 25 NOVEMBER 2015 - 14 FEBRUARY 2016; PHOTOGRAPH © 2015 readsreads.info

SIMON DENNY: PRODUCTS FOR ORGANISING; INSTALLATION VIEW; SERPENTINE SACKLER GALLERY, 25 NOVEMBER 2015 – 14 FEBRUARY 2016; PHOTOGRAPH © 2015 readsreads.info

This is this New Zealand- born artist’s first London solo exhibition. His engrossing installations examine the more radical management practices used today by also looking at the more historical ‘hacker organizational forms’ which could arguably have been said to be a part of their inspiration.

SIMON DENNY: PRODUCTS FOR ORGANISING; INSTALLATION VIEW; SERPENTINE SACKLER GALLERY, 25 NOVEMBER 2015 - 14 FEBRUARY 2016; PHOTOGRAPH © 2015 readsreads.info

SIMON DENNY: PRODUCTS FOR ORGANISING; INSTALLATION VIEW; SERPENTINE SACKLER GALLERY, 25 NOVEMBER 2015 – 14 FEBRUARY 2016; PHOTOGRAPH © 2015 readsreads.info

serpentinegalleries.org

The Queen’s Gallery

Masters of the Everyday: Dutch Artists in the Age of Vermeer, The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London SW1, until 14th February 2016

Jan Steen, 'A Woman at her Toilet', 1663 Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Jan Steen, ‘A Woman at her Toilet’, 1663
Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

This is a really engaging exhibition that reveals interest in Dutch painting by various monarchs since the reign of Charles I. He was the recipient of a gift of Rembrandt’s painting An Old Woman, called ‘The Artist’s Mother’ in 1629 and also had paintings by Dutch artists in his legendary art collection.

Johannes Vermeer, 'Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman or 'The Music Lesson'', 1662-5 Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Johannes Vermeer, ‘Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman or ‘The Music Lesson”, 1662-5
Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Vermeer’s ‘The Music Lesson’ was a part of Consul Smith’s collection which George III purchased in 1762.  His son George IV was an avid collector of Dutch art and many of the works on show were acquired by him.  In some ways he was following in the tradition of some of the 18th century French collectors such as the duc de Choiseul and one can certainly agree that French furniture of that period sits well with 17th century Dutch works.  There is also a small display of Sèvres porcelain – another of George IV’s favourites – decorated with scenes taken from Dutch paintings.

Willem van Mieris, 'The Neglected Lute', c.1708 Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Willem van Mieris, ‘The Neglected Lute’, c.1708
Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Some twenty or so works in this exhibition will move to the Dutch Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in The Hague this coming autumn because that gallery has loaned Gerrit Dou’s The Young Mother to this show.  It is a painting which was given to Charles II in 1660 and when William of Orange became our King in 1688 he inherited this painting with the rest of the British Royal Collection.  The picture was sent to decorate Het Loo his new hunting lodge near Apeldoorn in the Netherlands and has remained there ever since.

Ludolf de Jongh, 'A Formal Garden: Three Ladies Surprised by a Gentleman', c.1676 Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Ludolf de Jongh, ‘A Formal Garden: Three Ladies Surprised by a Gentleman’, c.1676
Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

There is a sense of fun and humour in many of the paintings which depict scenes from everyday middle class life from the servants’ point of view and it is this element that makes it a suitable bedfellow for the adjoining Rowlandson exhibition.

 

High Spirits: The Comic Art of Thomas Rowlandson, The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace until 14th February 2016

Money Lenders, 1784 Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Money Lenders, 1784
Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Very little was safe from Rowlandson’s satirical wit as this exhibition shows be it society, fashion, politicians, love or the royal family.  The young George IV when Prince of Wales was a particular target because of his extravagance and dubious lifestyle.  Despite that it was George who started collecting these prints.  They provide a fascinating glimpse into a world that many of us have read about in the works of Jane Austen.

Four-leaf screen, pasted with satirical prints c.1806 Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Four-leaf screen, pasted with satirical prints c.1806
Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

 

http://www.royalcollection.org.uk

 

PS: Don’t forget you can enjoy free re-admission for a year by asking us to treat your ticket purchase as a donation:
1. Before you leave the site, please sign and print your name in the spaces provided on the reverse of your ticket.
2. Hand the ticket to a member of staff, who will stamp and validate it.
3. Retain your ticket for future visits.
Your ticket will only be accepted for re-admission if it has been stamped and signed on the day of your first visit

Samuel Pepys – an exhibition and a book

Samuel Pepys: Plague, Fire, Revolution, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE10, until 28th March 2016

John Hayls, 1666 Samuel Pepys, (c) National Portrait Gallery, London

John Hayls, 1666
Samuel Pepys,
(c) National Portrait Gallery, London

Even if one knew nothing at all about this colourful, celebrated 17th century figure the exhibition’s title gives a clear clue about the stirring, changing times in which he lived.  The exhibition starts with the execution of Charles I, an event which Pepys, playing truant from school, witnessed.  We learn how Pepys in 1658 underwent the removal of a large bladder stone without anaesthetic or antiseptic – and yes the surgical practices of the era were somewhat scary and yet fortunately he survived the trauma.  In 1660 he was on the ship bringing Charles II and his brother James, Duke of York back to England at the Restoration of the Monarchy.

Dirk Stoop, c.1661, Charles II's cavalcade through City of London on 22nd April 1661, the day before his coronation. Oil on panel. (c) Museum of London

Dirk Stoop, c.1661,
Charles II’s cavalcade through City of London on 22nd April 1661, the day before his coronation. Oil on panel.
(c) Museum of London

It is his diary for which he is most widely known and which he wrote in shorthand.  He started writing it in January 1660 and continued writing it until 1669.  We learn through it not only details of his personal life, including affairs and friends but also of major events such as the Plague and the Great Fire of London.

Painting of 'The Fire of London, September 1666', unknown, 17th century, (c) National Maritime Museum, London

Painting of ‘The Fire of London, September 1666’, unknown, 17th century,
(c) National Maritime Museum, London

He was something of a Renaissance man and was an adept administrator in naval matters, an MP and a member of the Royal Society and all these aspects of his life and times are revealed through the two hundred objects in the exhibition drawn from private and public collections.

Suit worn by James, Duke of York, at his wedding to Mary of Modena, 1673, (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Suit worn by James, Duke of York, at his wedding to Mary of Modena, 1673,
(c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London

On the death of Charles II in 1685, Pepys continued to serve his brother James, the new King, who had been his main patron.  However James lost his crown in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and William and Mary succeeded to the throne and it as at this juncture that Pepys withdrew from public life and continued to pursue his many interests, including music, in retirement until his death in Clapham in 1703.

 

http://www.rmg.co.uk

 

 Samuel Pepys

Samuel Pepys

Plague, Fire, Revolution

Edited by Margarette Lincoln
Introduction by Claire Tomalin
 Thames & Hudson
ISBN 9780500518144
£29.95

 

This volume which is published alongside the hugely enjoyable exhibition is, if anything, even more of a treat.  It is beautifully illustrated and includes a larger number of pictures, objects and engravings to provide a really engaging view of the world of Samuel Pepys (1633–1703).

 

http://www.thamesandhudson.com

Foreign Objects

MOFFAT TAKADIWA – Foreign Objects, Tyburn Gallery, 26 Barrett Street, London, W1, until 23rd January 2016

 

Moffat Takadiwa, Foreign Objects, 2015, Exhibition view, Courtesy the artist and Tyburn Gallery

Moffat Takadiwa, Foreign Objects, 2015,
Exhibition view,
Courtesy the artist and Tyburn Gallery

In his first UK solo show the Zimbabwean artist has produced a group of hanging wall sculptures that underline the dominant influence of foreign products in both Zimbabwe and other African countries.

Moffat Takadiwa, Head Spin 4, 2015, Found spray tops, Approx. diameter 60cm, Courtesy the artist and Tyburn Gallery

Moffat Takadiwa, Head Spin 4, 2015,
Found spray tops, Approx. diameter 60cm,
Courtesy the artist and Tyburn Gallery

Indeed, they should give us all pause for thought since the intriguing sculptures are made up from found pieces including old plastic bottle tops, keyboards and other discarded electrical goods, spray cans, fishing lines, tyre rubber and even tooth paste.

Moffat Takadiwa, Foreign Smell, 2015, Found spray-can, 270 x 95 x 12 cm, Courtesy the artist and Tyburn Gallery

Moffat Takadiwa, Foreign Smell, 2015,
Found spray-can, 270 x 95 x 12 cm,
Courtesy the artist and Tyburn Gallery

http://www.tyburngallery.com

The Mayfair Antiques and Fine Art Fair

The Mayfair Antiques & Fine Art Fair, London Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London W1, 7th – 10th January 2016

Merriment by Charles Désiré Hue (1825-1883), oil on canvas, French, 35½" x 27", signed and dated 1869, Cambridge Fine Art

Merriment by Charles Désiré Hue (1825-1883), oil on canvas, French, 35½” x 27″, signed and dated 1869,
Cambridge Fine Art

Now in its fourth year, this pleasing fair organised in association with Mayfair property specialist Wetherell, attracts some forty dealers who belong to either BADA (British Antique Dealers’ Association) or LAPADA (The Association of Art & Antiques Dealers).

Rare Spode porcelain blue gilt decorated pineapple stand, 4½" high x 9½" diameter, c1815, Carolyn Stoddart-Scott

Rare Spode porcelain blue gilt decorated pineapple stand, 4½” high x 9½” diameter, c1815,
Carolyn Stoddart-Scott

There is an interesting mix of periods and styles on offer which goes a long way to explain why this is a popular destination for collectors and interior decorators.  Definitely a good way to start off the New Year.

Victoire an early 20th century Art Deco hand frosted glass car mascot by René Lalique, fashioned as the Spirit of the Wind, the most iconic of all René Lalique’s car mascots introduced on 18 April 1928, signed, 16cm high x 25cm long, c1930, Hickmet Fine Arts

Victoire an early 20th century Art Deco hand frosted glass car mascot by René Lalique, fashioned as the Spirit of the Wind, the most iconic of all René Lalique’s car mascots introduced on 18 April 1928, signed, 16cm high x 25cm long, c1930,
Hickmet Fine Arts

 

Rare red cross ring in 18ct gold and platinum, pavé set with twelve 0.5 carat diamonds and the red cross made up of five Burmese rubies, c1915, T Robert

Rare red cross ring in 18ct gold and platinum, pavé set with twelve 0.5 carat diamonds and the red cross made up of five Burmese rubies, c1915,
T Robert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bokhara Suzani embroidery, made as a dowry gift, Central Asia, 2.15m x 1.63m, c1850, Aaron Nejad Antique Carpets

Bokhara Suzani embroidery, made as a dowry gift, Central Asia, 2.15m x 1.63m, c1850,
Aaron Nejad Antique Carpets

 

Late Regency period satinwood Davenport desk with original pierced gallery on well carved legs, with a secret drawer and side slide, c1825, £ Walton House Antiques

Late Regency period satinwood Davenport desk with original pierced gallery on well carved legs, with a secret drawer and side slide, c1825, £
Walton House Antiques

 

 

 

 

http://www.mayfairfair.com

‘Architecture in Miniature’

Vicki Ambery-Smith, ‘Architecture in Miniature’, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 17th May 2016

Sheldonian Theatre

Sheldonian Theatre

One can certainly understand why Timothy Wilson, Keeper of Western Art at the Ashmolean Museum, asked Vicki Ambery-Smith, to create these six stunning representations of iconic Oxford buildings which were chosen by her and with which she is familiar since she grew up in Oxford.

Bodleian Library

Bodleian Library

The “major” item in the exhibition is the sterling silver and gold-plated model of the three hundred and fifty year old Sheldonian Theatre. When the roof of the “box” is opened a perfectly photo-etched view of the theatre’s interior is revealed.  A perfect way to commemorate a 350th anniversary.

Radcliffe Camera Brooch

Radcliffe Camera Brooch

The other buildings are either depicted as jewellery or boxes and even a condiment set.  They include The Radcliffe Camera, Magdalen College Tower, Keble College, St John’s College and the Bodleian Library box.  All reveal the architectural detail for which the artist has become so well-known and eagerly sought after.  Five of the above buildings can also be seen in the large-scale ‘Oxford Ring’.

Magdalen Tower

Magdalen Tower

Four of Hugh Colvin’s Oxford-inspired architectural installations are shown alongside these wonderful pieces.

 

Keble College (closed)

Keble College (closed)

http://www.vickiamberysmith.co.uk

http://www.ashmolean.org

Oxford Ring

Oxford Ring

Frances Macdonald at the new Portland Gallery

FRANCES MACDONALD, Portland Gallery, 3 Bennet Street, London SW1, until 13th January 2016

 Towards Ben Mhor, June Oil on canvas 48 x 48 ins

Towards Ben Mhor, June
Oil on canvas
48 x 48 ins

What better way to celebrate the opening of their new gallery, just across the road from the previous one, than this delicious exhibition of works by Frances Macdonald.  The majority are of the coastline of Argyll and the Western Isles which is the area where she lives and whether stormy or calm she captures the scene perfectly.  There are also some “shimmering” Italian views as well.

 The Bluebell Wood, January Oil on canvas 20 x 24 ins

The Bluebell Wood, January
Oil on canvas
20 x 24 ins

http://www.portlandgallery.com