Private View held by Richard Andrews
The Wild, The Beautiful And The Damned explores the meaning of beauty, and the lives and loves of the courtesans and libertines who lived and died in the Stuart Court, during the reigns of Charles II, James II, William III & Mary II and Anne. The exhibition explores the story of how kings, queens and courtesans swept away the Puritanical solemnity of the mid 17th century, and attempted to rewrite the moral code of social behaviour. At its heart are portraits of Charles II's principal mistresses, including Nell Gwyn, Moll Davis, Barbara Villiers and Louise de Keroualle, and other resident 'beautiful women' of the Royal Court, some of which are quite explicit. Other highlights that bring to life the glamour and magnificence of the Baroque period include Peter Lely's 'Windsor Beauties', 10 of the most important female courtiers of the day, and Godfrey Kneller's 'Hampton Court Beauties', the 8 reigning 'toasts of the Court', together with exquisite fashion accessories. The exhibition reveals not only what beauty meant at court (how to display grace and how to use looks to gain attention and influence) the beauty secrets of the day, the fashions and elegance of court life, but also what happened when beauty faded, and when a life of virtue was rewarded by obscurity, and a life of vice by syphilis and death. Charles II ruled for 25 flamboyant and decadent years, pursuing 'beauty' in all its forms, collecting artworks and mistresses with equal enthusiasm. The show explores the ambiguity at the heart of the late 17th century Court: beauty was a good thing, a reflection of divine perfection, an indication of virtue, but it was also pursued and possessed. Hampton Court Palace, until 30th September.
SeaCity Museum tells the story of the people of Southampton and the city's historic connection with the sea. The £15m project is a conversion and extension of the Grade II* listed former Magistrates' Courts and Police Station. The buildings' history has been ingeniously incorporated, with an exhibit about the Titanic Enquiry staged in the former courtroom, and the police cells transformed into toilets. In addition, the former civic centre clock tower is now open for tours. There are two permanent galleries, featuring 'Southampton's Titanic Story', telling of the city's part in the world's greatest shipping tragedy as the home of the White Star Line, (most of the crew were Southampton residents), including a 1:25 scale interactive model of the ship, showing the intricate layout of the vessel, a pocket watch found on the body of a steward showing the exact time it stopped, and a Disaster Room, describing the sequence of events from the time the ship struck the iceberg to its sinking; and 'Southampton: Gateway To The World', recounting the stories of people and ships who have departed from or arrived in the port over the last 250,000 years, including a large interactive map revealing the development of Southampton from small stone age settlements into the walled medieval town and through the ages to its present size, and a 1 tonne 7m long model of the Cunard Queen Mary. The third special exhibitions gallery opens with 'Titanic The Legend', in which the story is presented through a variety of perspectives, and considers why the legend endures, the effect it has had on ship design, safety and technological research, and explores the notion of a 'Titanic industry'. Sea City Museum, Havelock Road, Southampton, continuing.
Famous In The Fifties: Photographs By Daniel Farson celebrates the multifaceted career of the Picture Post photographer, television presenter, writer and legendary Soho figure. Daniel Farson's association with bohemia is demonstrated by intimate portraits of Lucian Freud and Brendan Behan and a group of writers shown with lifelong friend John Deakin, photographed in Soho, his haunt of many years. A portrait of Adam Faith inscribed by Farson, 'I put him on TV first', illustrates Farson's impact on television, presenting programmes including Out Of Step and Living for Kicks. His portrait of Joan Littlewood is one of a group that relates to the theatre. In 1967 Littlewood produced Farson's play about Marie Lloyd, a venture which followed his revival of music hall acts as the landlord of The Waterman's Arms on the Isle of Dogs.
Cambridge Connections: Photographs By Antony Barrington Brown presents an equally compelling picture of a very different society. Antony Barrington Brown worked as a photographer and picture editor for the student newspaper Varsity while reading chemistry at Cambridge. He returned to the town in 1951 to set up as a freelance photographer, with the aim of capturing dons in their 'natural habitat', and was commissioned by colleges to portray the Fellows of the University. Barrington Brown is now best known for his photograph of James Watson and Francis Crick around the time of their discovery of DNA. He also worked as a photo-journalist, for the national press, the BBC and Movietone News among others. This display presents a selection from a collection of 240 sittings, taken between 1953 and 1958.
National Portrait Gallery until 16th September.
Brains: The Mind As Matter explores what humans have done to brains in the name of medical intervention, scientific enquiry, cultural meaning and technological change. Featuring more than 150 objects, including real brains, artworks, manuscripts, artefacts, videos and photography, the exhibition follows the long quest to manipulate and decipher the most unique and mysterious of human organs, whose secrets continue to confound and inspire. It asks not what brains do for us, but what we have done to brains. Famous and infamous brain specimens are on display, including those of Albert Einstein, Charles Babbage and William Burke, as are the thoughts on brains from the brains of famous thinkers, together with donors, surgeons, patients and collectors. The exhibition has four sections: Measuring/Classifying introduces efforts to define the relationship between the brain's function and form - from Bernard Hollander's cranial measuring system to the tools of phrenology, the skewed morality of these pseudo-sciences illustrates the measuring of brains as a measure of culture; Mapping/Modelling follows the attempts to represent the anatomy of the brain - from early visualisations by Reisch, Vesalius and Descartes in the 16th and 17th centuries to the kaleidoscopic Brainbow images of nerve cells, and the artistic drive to apprehend the complexities of the brain with the increasing philosophical and medical understanding of its centrality to our being; Cutting/Treating explores the history of surgical intervention on a form of human tissue that is uniquely swift to decay and difficult to dissect - from crude trephination kits to complex 3D imaging systems revealing the human stories behind the anatomy of brains; and Giving/Taking traces the stories of brain harvesting and the variety of its purpose - from the horrors of Nazi experimentation to the hope offered by research into neurodegenerative disorders by brain banks. Wellcome Collection, London until 17th June.
Warner Bros Studio Tour: The Making Of Harry Potter provides an opportunity to explore the magic of the most successful British film series of all time. The tour takes visitors behind the scenes in the studio where the films were shot, through the actual sets with the original furniture, props and costumes. It also reveals some closely guarded secrets about the special effects and animatronics that made these films so popular. Visitors can step inside the Great Hall, walking on the York stone floor laid 11 years ago, and see the solid oak and pine house tables that were built for the films and aged with axes and chains; explore Dumbledore's office, with the Sword of Gryffindor, the Sorting Hat and the Hogwarts headmaster portraits; stroll along the cobbles of Diagon Alley, featuring the shop fronts of Ollivanders wand shop, Flourish and Blotts, the Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, Gringotts Wizarding Bank and Eeylops Owl Emporium; see iconic props from the films, including Harry's Nimbus 2000, Hagrid's motorcycle and the triple decker, purple Knight Bus; learn how green screen effects helped to create many iconic sequences for the films, including the spectacular Quidditch matches; discover how creatures were brought to life with animatronics and life-sized models in the Creature Effects Workshop, and come face to face with Buckbeak the Hippogriff, the giant and terrifying spider Aragog, Fawkes the phoenix and the giant head of the Basilisk; and see other memorable sets from the film series, including the Gryffindor common room, the boys' dormitory, Hagrid's hut, Potion's classroom and Professor Umbridge's office at the Ministry of Magic. Warner Bros Studios, Aerodrome Way, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, continuing.
Island Stories: Fifty Years Of Photography In Britain features a selection of photographs made in the UK since the 1950s. The exhibition of more than 80 images focuses on individual projects, each of which tells a story. Collectively, they give a picture of life in Britain that reflects upon subjects ranging from landscape and industry to family and community. Each series is chosen, not from the best known pictures of the period, but from great ones that have been seen rather less. The changes in British life over the last 50 years reflected in these images probably exceed those of any other half century in Britain's history except the Victorian era. The images also reflect the changes in photographic methods and preoccupations. Highlights include Don McCullin's series on the coal-pickers of north east England, from 1960s; Roger Mayne's Southam Street series about the games that people could once play in city streets before they were given over entirely to cars; and quirks of photo-history, such as Bill Brandt's ant's-eye-view nudes. Other photographers represented include: Maurice Broomfield, Elsbeth Juda, Raymond Moore, Grace Robertson, Fay Godwin, Chris Killip, Martin Parr, Nigel Shafran, Peter Fraser, John R J Taylor, Mark Edwards and Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane. Victoria & Albert Museum until 19th September.
British Design 1948 - 2012: Innovation In The Modern Age showcases the best of British design and creative talent from the 1948 'Austerity Olympics' to 'London 2012'. It is the first comprehensive exhibition to examine the ways in which artists and designers who were born, trained or working in Britain have produced innovative and internationally acclaimed works over the last 60 years. The exhibition charts the development of British design in fashion, furniture, fine art, graphic design, photography, ceramics, architecture and industrial products, featuring some 300 objects. These include much loved designs such as a 1959 Morris Mini Minor; a 1961 E-type Jaguar car; a Brownie Vecta camera by Kenneth Grange from 1964; an Alexander McQueen evening gown from the 2009 Horn of Plenty collection; a 6m model of Concorde; fine art by Richard Hamilton and David Hockney; textiles from the 1950s by Lucienne Day and 1980s by Laura Ashley; a 1964 Moulton bicycle; Kit Williams's 1979 golden hare jewel from Masquerade; Brian Duffy's original photograph for the cover of David Bowie's 1973 Aladdin Sane album; a Brian Long Torsion chair from 1971, and 1960s furniture by Max Clendinning; a Sinclair ZX80 home computer and Jonathan Ive's Apple iMac; and Foster & Partner's 30 St Mary Axe building and Zaha Hadid's new Olympic Aquatics Centre. Key themes investigated include the Festival of Britain, the Queen's Coronation, the 1950s New Towns movement, developments in retail such as Habitat, and the British Art School system, plus counter-cultural movements from Swinging London to Cool Britannia. Victoria & Albert Museum until 12th August.
The Romance Of The Middle Ages showcases manuscripts and early printed books containing medieval romance. The exhibition looks at how these stories have inspired writers and artists across the centuries from the early modern period, including Shakespeare, Ariosto and Cervantes, through medievalism in the 18th and 19th centuries, including Walter Scott, Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris, to contemporary versions and adaptations, including manuscripts and drafts by Philip Pullman. The objects on display range from lavishly illustrated volumes about King Arthur or Alexander the Great, to personal notebooks and fragments only saved by chance. The exhibition features works by great figures of English medieval literature, such as Geoffrey Chaucer, shown alongside books and artworks that illustrate romance legends. Highlights include: 'The Song of Roland', the earliest copy of France's national epic, from the mid 12th century; the earliest surviving romances in English, 'King Horn and Havelok the Dane', from the early 14th century; 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight', one of the most precious manuscripts of Middle English poetry; 'The Red Book of Hergest', containing 'The Mabinogion' and many other texts, from 1400; William Caxton's 'The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye', the first book ever printed in the English language, from 1473; a draft illustrated page from JRR Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings'; and Terry Jones's own working copy of the screenplay of 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail'. Bodleian Library, Oxford, until 13th May.
Louise Bourgeois: The Return Of The Repressed explores the artist's complex and ambivalent engagement with the theory and practice of psychoanalysis. The exhibition shows original documents from Louise Bourgeois's recently discovered psychoanalytic writings, as well as her drawings and sculptures, in the house of the founding father of psychoanalysis. It is based on the discovery by Bourgeois's longtime assistant Jerry Gorovoy of 2 boxes of writings at the beginning of 2004, and 2 more in early 2010. These constitute an archive of over 1,000 loose sheets recording her reactions to her psychoanalytic treatment from 1951, with several texts referring directly to Dr Henry Lowenfeld, whom she saw from 1952 to 1982. In some cases these texts complement existing diaries that she kept throughout her life, while others serve to fill in the gaps for those years in which she did not keep a diary. The exhibition foregrounds the importance of these writings, displaying nearly 50 original manuscripts for the first time, ranging through sketches, notes, dream recordings, lists and drawings. Highlights of the sculptures and drawings on display include pieces such as 'The Dangerous Obsession'; 'Cell XXIV (Portrait)'; the woven fabric text 'I Am Afraid'; and drawings and 4 gouache on paper works from the series 'The Feeding. Janus Fleuri', sometimes considered the most significant of all Bourgeois's works; plus an inevitable giant spider in the garden. The exhibition raises fundamental questions about the relationship between art and life, and the therapeutic nature of art itself. The Freud Museum, 20 Maresfield Gardens, London NW3, until 27th May.
A Place To Call Home: Where We Live And Why charts the story of the design and appeal of everyday homes in Britain. Through archival and original material, the exhibition, curated by Sarah Beeny, explores the characteristics of a British obsession, and the drivers that have shaped how and where we live, from the advent of mass speculative building in the late 18th century to the present day, via inter-war suburban expansion and post-war tower blocks.
High Society explores in detail the intense period of architectural experimentation in the post-war years, examining the massive building types that now puncture the skylines of Britain's towns and cities. The exhibition looks in detail at 5 classic post-war, high-rise housing schemes from across the country: The Alton Estate, Roehampton, London; Churchill Gardens, Pimlico, London; Park Hill, Sheffield; Hutchesontown, Glasgow; and Thamesmead, London.
The Home I Grew Up In features a range of personal insights and revelations on houses and housing from media, art and design figures. These include: Alain de Botton, philosopher and author; Chris Smith, National Planning Director, English Heritage; Deyan Sudjic, Director, Design Museum; Dan Pearson, garden and landscape designer; Grayson Perry, artist; Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Serpentine Gallery; Janet Street Porter, journalist and broadcaster; Jonathan Dimbleby, writer and broadcaster; Kirsty Wark, journalist and broadcaster; Paul Smith, fashion designer; and Zandra Rhodes, fashion designer.
Royal Institute of British Architecture, 66 Portland Place, London W1, until 28th April.
Queen Elizabeth II By Cecil Beaton: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration depicts The Queen in her roles as princess, monarch and mother. Photographer, designer and avid diarist Cecil Beaton's royal portraits were among the most widely published photographs of the 20th century. The exhibition explores Beaton's long relationship with Queen Elizabeth II, who was a teenage princess when she first sat for Beaton in 1942. Over the next three decades, Beaton photographed her on many significant occasions including her Coronation Day. The exhibition features nearly 100 portraits, from wartime photographs with her family, to tender images with her own young children, and official portraits that convey the magnitude of her role as Britain's monarch. It shows elegant and highly-staged photographs alongside informal moments of the Royal Family at home, interspersed with film and radio footage from the time. Extracts from Beaton's diaries and letters reveal an insight into the working practice of a royal sitting, from the intense planning beforehand to conversations with The Queen, and the pressures of achieving the perfect portrait. A selection of Beaton's original contact prints, from which the Palace chose the images released to the media are on display for the first time, with volumes of press cuttings. The exhibition also demonstrates how Beaton controlled the use of his photographs, revealing the press embargo, cropping instructions and notes on the sitting scribed on the reverse of his extensively published image of The Queen and newborn Prince Andrew from March 1960. The exhibition is arranged in five sections documenting important sittings and charting the shift in Beaton's photographic style, from his early Rococo-inspired portraits to a starker approach in the 1960s. Victoria & Albert Museum until 22nd April.
Visions Of Mughal India: The Collection Of Howard Hodgkin presents for the first time in its entirety the outstanding private collection of Indian paintings of one of the leading artists of our time. Howard Hodgkin has been a passionate collector of Indian paintings since his school days, and his collection has long been considered one of the finest of its kind in the world. At times he has devoted almost as much effort to developing his collection as to his own work as a painter. The collection above all is a personal one, formed by an artist's eye. It comprises over 115 paintings from the Mughal period, 1550 to 1850, including the refined naturalistic works of the imperial Mughal court; the poetic and subtly coloured paintings of the Deccani Sultanates; and the boldly drawn and vibrantly coloured styles of the Rajput kingdoms of Rajasthan and the Punjab Hills. There are illustrations of epics, royal portraits, scenes of court life and hunting, and fantastic scenes from legend and history. In addition, there are studies of animals, birds and flowers in scintillating colours, plus many outstanding paintings and drawings of elephants, a particular Hodgkin predilection. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 22nd April.