Private View held by Richard Andrews
From Palace To Parlour: A Celebration Of 19th Century British Glass is the first exhibition in London to illustrate the extraordinary diversity and sumptuousness of Regency and Victorian British glass. The multitude of new manufacturing and decorative techniques of the period are represented, from the rediscovery of the ancient Roman art of cameo engraving, which spawned a new luxury industry, to the introduction of mould pressed glass for the masses, with its multiplicity of shapes, colours and commemoratives, plus intricate wheel engraving and deep intaglio cutting which brought clear glass back into fashion in the latter part of the century. Highlights include a crystal throne upholstered in scarlet velvet, which was made for a Maharaja; a place setting from the famous Regency service made for the Prince of Wales by Perrin Geddes & Co; the Copeland Vase, which took its engraver Paul Oppitz 243 days to complete, gold enamel reverse decorated armorial plates from the Royal Service of Queen Victoria; an enamelled and relief gilded vase by Jules Barbe; a Persian style cameo vase made in 1890 by Stevens and Williams; and rare examples of varnished glass, the production of which was so dangerous that it was banned a year after it was invented. The exhibition, comprising over 250 magnificent objects, is curated by The Glass Circle, and provides a rare public opportunity to see many pieces lent by its members. The Wallace Collection until 26th October.
Grounded is a series of ambiguous photographic perspectives on the natural world by Helen Sear. The pictures, depicting what at first sight appear to be vast expanses of deserted land beneath dramatic and atmospheric skies, turn out in fact to be close ups of the hides and backs of a number of different animals. Sear's technique is actually quite simple. She takes isolated images of the animals' bodies and digitally montages them into backgrounds of sky. The results however, are remarkable and almost painterly evocations of real landscapes. As well as this group, the exhibition also includes 'Still… A Landscape In Ten Pieces'. This is a series of fragmented photographic details taken from one negative image of a diorama she found in the natural history museum in Darmstadt in Germany. Sear creates new dramas by juxtaposing individual images of the various rabbits, birds and deer in new relationships. Impressions Gallery, York, 0904 654 724, until 4th October.
Photojournalism 1930 - 1970 presents an intimate picture of life in the middle of the 20th century through recent gifts to the museum's photographic collection. These are working pictures, destined for newspapers, and news magazines such as Life and Picture Post, which reflect both everyday events and defining moments in history. They cover a period of technological change in the medium, as new cameras and techniques made it possible to capture images more spontaneously, at high speed, and over longer distances, thus enabling the dubious emergence of today's paparazzi. Among the snappers whose work is included are Ernst Hass and Gisele Freund from the archives of the John Hilleson Agency, Erich Salomon, and David Seymour, a founding member of Magnum. The display is grouped into four themes. Celebrity, contrasts elaborately staged portraits of Gloria Swanson and Virginia Woolf, with unguarded backstage images of Marlene Dietrich, Lana Turner and John Gavin. Politics includes individuals, such as a candid shot of William Randolph Hearst in a hotel room, taken from outside through an open window, and events including participants in a splendid official banquet, and a rare pro-Vietnam rally. Citizens at work and play ranges from immigrants disembarking from a ship to their new home, through to the opening of the first theme park. Modernities contrasts idealised visions of an antiseptic, streamlined modern future with the actualities of famine and conflict. Victoria & Albert Museum until 2nd November.
A Gardener's Labyrinth: Portraits Of People, Plants And Places displays recent photographs by Tessa Traeger and Patrick Kinmonth of over 50 British horticulturalists and their work. The Garden Proposed examines the attitudes and inspirations that inform contemporary garden design, from the gardens of Dan Pearson and Penelope Hobhouse to the new developments in British land art and the work of Ian Hamilton Finlay and Andy Goldsworthy. The Garden Described features leading garden historians and writers, including Anna Pavord, Robin Lane Fox and Roy Strong. The Garden Planted explores the different worlds of plant husbandry, from nurserymen to specialist rose growers, the Chelsea Flower Show expert and the organic gardener including Beth Chatto, Valerie Finnis, Bob Flowerdew and Christopher Lloyd. The Garden Preserved reveals the living heritage of great gardens such as Cawdor Castle (Angelika Cawdor) and Stourhead (John Sales) charting grand restorations and dramatic transformations. The Garden Explored deals with plant scholarship, expedition and exploration, with Christopher Brickell of the Royal Horticultural Society and Tim Smit of the Eden Project. Alongside each portrait is a photograph of the garden most closely associated with the sitter, including Ghillean Prance (Kew Gardens), Charles Jencks (The Garden of Cosmic Speculation), Arabella Lennox-Boyd (Gresgarth Hall), Ann Scott-James (Sissinghurst), Beth Rothschild (Waddesdon Manor) and Graham Stuart Thomas (Mottisfont Rose Garden). National Portrait Gallery until 19th October.
Boyle Family is the first retrospective ever held of four artists: Mark Boyle, Joan Hills and their children Sebastian and Georgia. Boyle and Hills began working together in the early 1960s, making junk assemblages, staging the first Happenings or Performance Art events held in Britain, inventing the psychedelic light show, and touring with Soft Machine and Jimi Hendrix. As they grew up, Sebastian and Georgia joined the family business of producing artworks. This exhibition includes assemblages from the early 1960s, film and photography, and many of the extraordinary 'Earth Surfaces' for which they are now best known. 'Earth Surfaces' are reproductions of small areas of the earth's surface in hyper-realistic low relief panels of astonishing detail, usually about 6ft square. The subjects are selected at random by throwing darts into maps of the world, and their plan is to record 1000 locations. The outdoor sites include city, country and coast, with pavements, roads, muddy tracks, sand, bricks, ploughed fields, mosaic paths, gravel, cobbles, snow and ice - the only surfaces to have beaten them so far are the Pacific Ocean and a Japanese paddy field. Using their own secretly developed techniques, (so secret that security cameras are turned off while the pieces are assembled) involving casting in resin and special paints, the Boyle family have created hundreds of seemingly exact facsimiles, which even on close inspection, seem to be the real thing. These are given a surrealist twist by bringing them indoors and turning them through ninety degrees from horizontal to vertical to hang them on a wall. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh until 9th November.
The Geffrye Museum is located in a Grade 1 listed group of fourteen almshouses, a chapel and their gardens, built in 1715 by the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers as retirement homes for its pensioners and widows. Within this setting it shows a specialist collection of English furniture and decorative arts in a chronological series of period rooms. These reflect the changing social habits and values that have influenced the style of domestic interiors over the past 400 years, from the 17th century with oak furniture and panelling, through the refined splendour of the Georgian period, and the high style of the Victorians, to 20th century modernity, seen in a 1930s flat, and a mid century 'contemporary' style room, plus a late 20th century living space in a converted warehouse in a recently opened extension. In addition to its furniture, the museum has over the years acquired a collection of complementary decorative art, paintings, personal memorabilia and archives relating to English domestic interiors. Outdoors, the gardens provide an accompanying series of period 'garden rooms', including an award winning walled herb garden. Now one of the museum's almshouses has been fully restored to its original condition, offering a rare glimpse into the lives of London's poor and elderly in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Geffyre Museum continuing.
Clarence House, which is the last great remaining aristocratic London town house, was the residence of the Queen Mother for nearly half a century. Before that, it was the first home of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh (where Princess Anne was born), and it has now been refurbished for the Prince of Wales. This most royal of houses, which stands beside St James's Palace, was built between 1825 and 1827 to the designs of John Nash for Prince William Henry, Duke of Clarence, who resided there as King William IV from 1830 until 1837. Now, for the first time, it is open to the public, and visitors are given a guided tour of the five rooms on the ground floor where official engagements are held. The arrangement of the rooms and the grouping of their contents remain largely as they were in the Queen Mother's time, with much of her collection of works of art, furniture and objet d'art in their former positions. The Queen Mother was a shrewd and knowledgeable buyer, bringing together a collection strong in 20th century British art, with important works by Augustus John, L S Lowry, John Piper, John Singer Sargent, Walter Sickert, and Graham Sutherland, including several portraits of the Queen Mother and other members of the royal family. There are also superb examples of Faberge, English porcelain and silver, particularly pieces relating to the Bowes-Lyon family. Among the other treasures are an 1804 musical clock that plays 16 tunes, and a 1600 Brussels tapestry. Clarence House until 17th October.
Grin Up North celebrates the rich comedy heritage of the north west, through the great comedians past and present, and the characters they created. The exhibition includes original props, costumes, memorabilia, posters, recordings, archive film and photographs, ranging from Ken Dodd's tickling stick to a replica statue of Eric Morecambe, much of the material donated by the comedians themselves or their families. The Hall Of Fun looks at the real people and situations behind the characters portrayed by the likes of Les Dawson, Hylda Baker and George Formby. The Laughter Lab examines the science of why we laugh and how it is good for us. Radio Daze demonstrates how local comics first reached a national audience over the airwaves with archive material featuring Al Read, Jimmy Clitheroe and Albert Modley. Seaside Postcards commemorates nearly 100 years of saucy postcard design and publication by the Yorkshire based company Bamforth. Comedy On The Edge looks at the more controversial performers such as Bernard Manning and Roy Chubby Brown. The Museum Of Lancashire, Preston, 01772 534075 until 24th April.
When Flaminio Drove To France - Flaminio Bertoni's Designs For Citroen is the snappy title for an exhibition which examines the collaboration between the Italian automotive designer Flaminio Bertoni and Citroen, the French car company. Beginning in 1934, when Bertoni designed the bodywork of the elegant Traction Avant - reportedly in a single night - it continued in the 1940s with his work on the supremely functional 2CV, in the 1950s with the alluring DS19 - a car so beautiful it was nicknamed the 'deesse' or 'goddess' - and concluded in 1961 with the Ami 6. Many of Bertoni's design and engineering innovations are still used in cars today. This exhibition traces Flaminio Bertoni's career at Citroen through clay models, drawings, memos, photographs, contemporary film footage, vintage marketing material and the some of the original cars. The centrepiece is an actual 2CV prototype, with just one headlamp, rough corrugated bodywork, and hammock style seats slung from the roof. The 2CV was created as a French response to the German Beetle, with the brief of being capable of transporting four people and 50 kilos of potatoes at up to 60kph on unmade roads. It was originally to have been launched in 1939, but at the outbreak of the Second World War, the prototypes were buried and plans hidden. The 2CV joins the Beetle and the Mini as the most influential European cars of the 20th century. Design Museum until 12th October.
Peter Blake: Commercial Art 1960-2003 is a retrospective of the commercial work of one of the inspirational figures in the Pop movement of the 1960s, who created some of the most imitated images of the last century. Blake's work extends across a diverse range of media, including watercolour, drawings, prints, collage, painting and sculpture, but there have been few opportunities to view his commercial art before. Throughout his career Blake has worked prolifically, producing art work and graphics for album covers, posters, invitations, calendars and advertisements, as well as illustrations for magazines and books. This exhibition ranges widely, from the recent poster to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Volkswagen Golf, to posters for Live Aid, Madame Tussauds, and the London Film Festival. It also shows the printed and original artwork from the 60s covers produced for the Sunday Times Magazine, early covers for Penguin paperbacks, illustrations for the annual Trickett & Webb calendars, postage stamps, phone cards, Wedgwood plates, and Babe Rainbow, the archetypal 60s glamour girl, originally commissioned to be printed on (now very valuable) tins. Blake is renowned for his avid interest in popular culture, and his influential collage designs for record covers include the legendary Beatles Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Band Aid single Do they know it's Christmas?, and most recently Paul Weller's Stanley Road. London Institute Gallery until 11th September.
Cruel And Tender: The Real In The Twentieth Century Photograph explores the realist tradition in 20th century documentary photography, taking its title from Lincoln Kirstein's description of the work of American photographer Walker Evans, who, together with German photographer August Sander, provides the historical axis for the exhibition. The result is a type of photographic realism that avoids nostalgia, romanticism, or sentimentality in favour of straightforward observation. Rather than the drama of photojournalism, the images here tend towards the quiet documentation of overlooked aspects of day to day life, whether architecture, objects, places or people. They record what Philip-Lorca diCorcia described as "that which was never really hidden, but rarely is noticed". Images are grouped thematically rather than arranged chronologically to allow comparisons and juxtapositions, thus starving sharecroppers of the American depression rub shoulders with today's homeless in the former USSR. The exhibition brings together works by 23 of the century's greatest photographers including Robert Adams, Diane Arbus, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, William Eggleston, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Paul Graham, Andreas Gursky, Boris Mikhailov, Thomas Ruff, August Sander, Stephen Shore and Thomas Struth. Tate Modern until 7th September.
Surfing - The Golden Years is the perfect summer exhibition, featuring over 100 surfing pictures from the personal archive of over 30,000 images created by legendary surfing photographer LeRoy "Granny" Grannis. Charting the big waves and their riders from the golden age of surfing in the 1960s up to the present day, the photographs take visitors on a journey up and down the coast of California, calling in at South Bay, Malibu, Huntington Beach and Makaha. Grannis puts his success in capturing the essence of the phenomenon down to the fact that he had been a surfer for 30 years before he picked up a camera. This exhibition records the whole scene, from great surfing names riding awesome waves, performing impossible feats on their boards - including some remarkable sequence shots - and the admiring beach babes and other onlookers, to the surfside shops and cafes. Accompanying Grannis pictures are images by his friend and inspiration John H "Doc" Ball, often credited as being the original surfing photographer. If you can't get to the beach this August, then let the first British exhibition of Grannis and Ball's work bring the beach to you. Proud Camden Moss, London NW1, 020 7482 3867 until 6th September.