Hetty Feather

I am grateful to John Kirkwood for visiting and writing about this exhibition:

 

Picturing Hetty Feather, The Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, London WC1, until 3rd September 2017

Emma Brownlow, The Foundling Restored to its Mother, 1858
©Coram in the care of The Foundling Museum,
featuring illustration of Hetty Feather © Nick Sharratt


Fans of  Jacqueline Wilson’s character Hetty Feather will love this exhibition featuring as it does many costumes and artefacts from the  television series  based on the popular and successful books displayed in the Foundling Museum  the actual location of  the stories where you can experience a little of what  Hetty’s  life would have been like.

Girls in the London Foundling Hospital schoolroom, early 20th
century,
courtesy Coram in the care of The Foundling Museum

foundlingmuseum.org.uk

Jane Austen’s Portraits

The Mysterious Miss Austen, The Gallery, Winchester Discovery Centre, Jewry Street
Winchester, until 24th July, 2017

Jane Austen by James Andrews, watercolour, 1869
(c) Private collection, courtesy of the 19th Century Rare Book and Photograph Shop, Stevenson, Maryland.

I had of course known about Jane Austen for many years but had not actually read one of her novels until I was in my early twenties and found out what an absolute delight they are. I knew something of her life (I just passed where she stayed in Covent Garden’s Henrietta Street this morning) but it was a real delight to come and see this exhibition which marks the two hundredth anniversary of her death and which not only brings together five portraits of her under the same roof for the first time, but includes letters, items of clothing and a manuscript alternative ending to her final novel Persuasion, which was not used in the end. There are also items from both an English and an American private collection which bring the story up-to-date and the rather fine ceramic vase Jane Austen in E 17 by Grayson Perry has been loaned as well.

Installation view:
Jane Austen Pelisse coat

I found it unexpectedly moving and although as the exhibition’s title suggests she does remain somewhat mysterious I felt I had at least encountered her. It was therefore wholly appropriate to pay my respects as I bowed my head to read the inscription on the tablet set into the floor of the north aisle in nearby Winchester Cathedral, commemorating her life and burial there.

Jane Austen ledgerstone – Winchester Cathedral by John Crook

https://hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk/the-gallery-at-winchester-discovery-centre

Installation View:
Jane Austen portraits display

Stories Unfold!

Every Object Tells a Story, 5 Cromwell Place, London SW7, until 5th July 2017

Installation view
(photo credit: Exhibition Design and Photograph by Charles Marsden-Smedley)

In May 2015 I shared with you the eponymous exhibition Oliver Hoare held at 33 Fitzroy Square, London W1 (Curiosities, 12 May 2015).  This new edition in the former studio of Sir John Lavery RA is even larger, beautifully displayed and crammed with some four hundred intriguing objects which you just do want to learn more about. There is a wonderful catalogue to help achieve that.

Installation view
(photo credit: Exhibition Design and Photograph by Charles Marsden-Smedley)

I shall let Oliver Hoare sum it up: “What is assembled here might look like a modern ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’, an assemblage of the exotic and curious from the four quarters of the world. There is an intention behind it, however, that goes beyond presenting a wide variety of curiosities. We are today linked up to all those four quarters, and while a huge amount of information is available to us, unlike to those who awaited the ships in the ports of Amsterdam, Genoa, Lisbon, London, Marseille, Seville or Venice, the horizon of what interests us seems to have shrunk. The art market is an interesting barometer of this shrinkage. The point is, therefore, that we can connect with the whole world on a more profound level than can be gained from package touring, through the possession of, and study of even the most modest objects of different cultures. The purpose of collecting, as Molière might have put it, should not be limited to becoming rich through the investment in one’s purchases, but to become enriched through the intelligent possession of what one has acquired.”

 

Installation view
(photo credit: Exhibition Design and Photograph by Charles Marsden-Smedley)

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 6pm
(Closed on Mondays (except by appointment))

www.everyobjecttellsastory.com

Photo London 2017

Photo London 2017, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2, 18th – 21st May 2017

Isaac Julien
Pas de Deux with Roses (Looking for Langston Vintage Series), 1989/2016
Ilford classic silver gelatin fine art paper, mounted on aluminum and framed
Framed size 58.1 x 74.5 cm
22 7/8 x 29 3/8 in
edition of 4 plus 2 artist’s proofs
Courtesy the Artist and Victoria Miro, London
© Isaac Julien

This the third edition of Photo London emphasises not only the fact that this is most definitely a world-class photography fair but also what an important, vibrant role London plays in contemporary photography. Hence I am using this time just one image to celebrate the work of Isaac Julien an internationally acclaimed London-born and based artist and filmmaker.  Don’t miss this opportunity to see the best of what the world has to offer both at the fair and elsewhere in London. Please allow yourself time to visit the fair more than once – it’s well worth it.

 

http://photolondon.org

Vintage Beaton!

Cecil Beaton, Beetles+Huxley, 3-5 Swallow Street, London W1, until 20th May 2017

Mrs Harrison Williams, Later Mona Countess of Bismark, c. 1935
(c) Sotheby’s Cecil Beaton Archive. Image courtesy of Beetles+Huxley

It would be remiss of me not to bring this exhibition of more than eighty Cecil Beaton photographs to your attention.  They cover the early part of his career from the 1920s to the 1940s.  Originally purchased in the early 50s these photographs have been in an American private collection for over sixty years.

Tyneside Shipyard, Newcastle-on-Tyne, 1943
(c) Sotheby’s Cecil Beaton Archive. Image courtesy of Beetles+Huxley.

You will discover  the ‘Bright Young Things’ of the 20s, distinctive fashion pictures created for Vogue in the 30s, and wartime works for the Ministry of Works in the 2nd World War with Vivien Leigh, Queen Elizabeth consort of George VI), H G Wells and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor on their wedding day among the portraits on view.

Self Portrait in a Carriage, 1930s
(c) Sotheby’s Cecil Beaton Archive. Image courtesy of Beetles+Huxley.

http://www.beetlesandhuxley.com

“Chinese Nell” and friends!

Queer British Art 1861-1967, Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1, until 1st October 2017

Solomon, Simeon 1840-1905
Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene
1864
Watercolour on paper
330 x 381 mm
Tate. Purchased 1980


I have thought long and hard about this exhibition which marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act legislation in 1967 which meant partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England and Wales.

Paul Tanqueray (1905-1991)
Douglas Byng
1934
Vintage bromide print
239 x 193 mm
National Portrait Gallery
© Estate of Paul Tanqueray

Well done Tate Britain for its partnership with this year’s London Pride (Pride in London at Tate Britain, 2pm to 10pm 24th June). Given what still goes on in countries such as Chechnya we must be grateful for the passing of the act.

David Hockney
Life Painting for a Diploma
1962
Yageo Foundation
© Yageo Foundation

However, I do wonder, although admittedly progress has been made, how much things have really changed in our own multi-cultural society?  We know how differing faiths do not accept homosexuality as being right or acceptable.  Many families, whatever their ethnic background, struggle to accept a member of their family being gay. Gay people get homophobic abuse or are physically attacked for no reason other than they are “different”, even my partner and I have been hissed at in Westminster’s Edgware Road.

Angus McBean (1904-1990)
Quentin Crisp
1941
Bromide print
National Portrait Gallery (London, UK)
© Estate of Angus McBean / National Portrait Gallery, London

I recently saw a production of La Cage aux Folles at the Wimbledon Theatre.  I think the real time to celebrate acceptance and inclusion will be when LGBT people can say/sing the words from the show –

I am what I am
And what I am needs no excuses

– And know they don’t have to look over their shoulder. Impossible, or could we all work harder towards it?

John Craxton
Head of a Greek Sailor
1940
Oil on board
330 x 305 mm
London Borough of Camden
© Estate of John Craxton. All rights reserved, DACS 2016. Photo credit: London Borough of Camden

Among the exhibits in this somewhat politically correct exhibition is a monogrammed dressing gown that belonged to Noel Coward.  He was friends of Ian Fleming and his wife Ann and they both had houses on Jamaica.  In one of her letters Ann writes that Noel is referred to as “Chinese Nell” on the island *.  Need I say more?

Out
Keith Vaughan
Drawing of two men kissing
1958–73
Tate Archive
© DACS, The Estate of Keith Vaughan

 

*The Letters of Ann Fleming by Ann Fleming, Mark Amory (Editor), Collins Harvill, 1985

 

 

tate.org.uk

GLASGOW SCHOOL OF ART IN LONDON

Here is the Future, Now, 12 Star Gallery, European Commission, Europe House, 32 Smith Square, London SW1, until 21st April 2017

A boy from Glasgow enjoys the exhibition!

This exhibition celebrates the selected best work from students in the third year of their Fine Art Degree programme at the celebrated Glasgow School of Art. They will complete their courses in eighteen months’ time.

The show provides us with an opportunity to see what the future may hold for art not only in Scotland but further afield too as some of the participating students come from beyond Scotland’s borders.  It is an exciting glimpse into the future!

 

http://www.gsa.ac.uk/

 

ec.europa.eu/unitedkingdom/events/12-star-gallery_en