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Exhibition Review : Edward Burne-Jones at Tate Britain from 24 October 2018 to 24 February 2019

Tate Britain presents the largest Edward Burne-Jones retrospective to be held in the UK for a generation. Edward Burne-Jones is best known for his ties to the Pre-Raphaelites and his symbolist works of myths and legends. The exhibition brings together over 150 works in different media including painting, stained glass and tapestry and includes work created working for William Morris. Burne-Jones was born in Birmingham and whilst at Oxford became friends with William Morris who were both influenced by Gabriel Rossetti. Burne-Jones had intended to enter the church but was persuaded by Rossetti to become an artist.

The exhibition begins by looking at Burne-Jones relationship with Rossetti, its was the artist-poet who encouraged him and found him support from fellow artists and patrons. Works here include two stain glass windows related to Chaucer’s ‘Goode Wimmin’, The Wine of Circe and The Lament.

Rossetti was very impressed by Burne-Jones draughtsmanship and the second room entitled ‘Burne-Jones as a Draughtsman’ includes many of his drawings including Desiderium.

From 1877, Burne-Jones began to exhibit his paintings at the new Grosvenor Gallery that was seen as an alternative to the Royal Academy, some of his most popular pictures were Love among the Ruins, The Wheel of Fortune and The Golden Stairs.

Room four features a number of portraits, a number of familiar faces appear in these portraits including his wife Georgina and his daughter Margaret. Other portraits include paintings of Amy Gaskell and Lady Windsor.

From 1875, Burne-Jones worked on a number of paintings as part of a narrative cycle concerning myths and legends, the exhibition includes the Perseus Series and the Briar Rose series.

The Briar Rose series based on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale were especially popular with critics and general public.

The final room looks at ‘Burne-Jones as Designer’ and his influence on decorative arts at the end of the 19th century. Burne-Jones worked in a number of different media including painting, stained glass, tapestry, embroidery, furniture and book illustration. His work for Morris and Co was highly valued especially his many designs for stained glass windows. In this room is the remarkable Graham Piano 1879-80, embroideries, illustrated books and spectacular large-scale tapestries like The Arming and Departure of the Knights of the Round Table on the Quest for the Holy Grail 1890-1894 and Adoration of the Magi 1894.

This fascinating exhibition explores the work and legacy of an artist who is often associated with the Pre-Raphaelites and Symbolist movements. The exhibition suggests that Burne-Jones is one of the most influential British artists of the 19th century and walking around the exhibition it would be difficult to suggest that this is not the case. However his pursuit of ‘beauty’ in art was often at odds with the social realism movements at the turn of the twentieth century. Without doubt, his draughtsmanship was widely admired by many and unlike many of his contemporaries, he did achieve world-wide fame and recognition in his life-time. Edward Burne-Jones works did touch a chord with sections of Victorian society who loved the escapism of his enchanted worlds inhabited by beautiful and melancholy beings. For much of the 20th century, his work has been overlooked, this exhibition is a reminder of the range and scope of his work and highlights his distinct and original approach to painting and decorative arts.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Tate Britain website here

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Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
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Exhibition Review : Botticelli Reimagined at the Victoria and Albert Museum – 5th March to 3rd July 2016

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The Victoria and Albert Museum present a major new exhibition which explores the variety of ways artists and designers from the Pre-Raphaelites to the present have responded to the artistic legacy of Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510), assembling 150 works from around the world. Although, Botticelli is now recognised as one of the greatest artists, the exhibition reminds us that he was largely forgotten for more than 300 years until his work was ‘rediscovered’ in the 19th century.

Botticelli Reimagined is the largest Botticelli exhibition in Britain since 1930 and  includes painting, fashion, film, drawing, photography, tapestry, sculpture and print. There are over 50 original works by Botticelli, alongside works by artists such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris, René Magritte, Elsa Schiaparelli, Andy Warhol and Cindy Sherman.

The exhibition begins with a screen showing excerpts from Dr No showing Ursula Andress emerging from the sea clasping a conch shell and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen in which Uma Thurman re-enacts The Birth of Venus.

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The first main section entitled Global, Modern, Contemporary illustrates how artists have taken aspects of  Botticelli’s imagery and incorporated them into their own works. Botticelli’s most famous work , The Birth of Venus which depicts the naked Venus emerging from a shell on the seashore is referenced by Andy Warhol’s Details of Renaissance , Yin Xin’s Venus After Botticelli , David LaChapelle’s Rebirth of Venus and a dress and trouser suit of patchwork panels from The Birth of Venus from Dolce & Gabbana’s 1993 collection. Botticelli’s influence is more widely considered by Bill Viola’s Going forth by Day and  5th surgery performance – Operation opera by ORLAN, This section also includes work by Tamara de Lempicka, Robert Rauschenberg, René Magritte and Maurice Denis.

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Rediscovery considers the impact of Botticelli’s art on the Pre-Raphaelite circle during the mid-19th century. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Ruskin and Edward Burne-Jones all owned and were greatly influenced by Botticelli’s work. In this section a series of portraits by Burne – Jones and Rossetti, mostly featuring Jane Morris gives some insight into the way that the Pre-Raphaelites looked to the past for inspiration.

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Botticelli’s celebrated work, Primavera influences William Morris’ The Orchard and Evelyn De Morgan’s Flora. In this room are a couple of copies of The Birth of Venus by Edgar Degas and Gustave Moreau as well as Etienne Azambre’s Two Women copying Botticelli’s fresco of Venus and the Graces.

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Moving back in time, the final section of the exhibition arrives at Botticelli in his Own Time. A series of works by Botticelli show that he  was not only a wonderfully skilled artist but also ran a highly successful workshop which produced a large number of important works. Exhibits include his only signed and dated painting The Mystic Nativity , three portraits supposedly of the legendary beauty Simonetta Vespucci, and the remarkable Pallas and the Centaur, travelling to London for the first time.

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A small number of portraits of the elite of Renaissance Florence gives some context to the artist’s life and times before the show closes with two full-length paintings of Venus, reprising the heroine of The Birth of Venus, and the V&A’s Portrait of a Lady known as Smeralda Bandinelli which formerly owned by Rossetti.

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It is remarkable how some artists can produce work that remains influential over the centuries, This exhibition provides plenty of evidence that Botticelli is one of these artists. Whether it is through his influence on the Pre-Raphaelites or the way the iconic works such as the Birth of Venus has been endlessly reinterpreted in the late 20th especially. Although there is a running theme through the exhibition, in many ways it feels like three mini exhibitions in one. Due to the variety on display, the exhibition will have quite a wide appeal, each section has its own attractions and delights in an ambitious and interesting show.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Botticelli Reimagined

5 March – 3 July 2016.

Admission £15 (concessions available).

V&A Members go free.

Advance booking is advised

For more information or to book tickets, visit the V&A website here

 London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide.com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Book Review : London, The Weekends Start Here – Fifty-two Weekends of Things to See and Do by Tom Jones (Virgin Books)

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London, The Weekends Start Here: Fifty-two Weekends of Things to See and Do is the third book by Tom Jones. His two previous best-selling books, Tired of London, Tired of Life and Mad Dogs and Englishmen were inspired by his popular website entitled Tired of London, Tired of Life.

As the author points out, it is often at the weekend that the city really comes alive and to make the most of our free time, the book offers a wide range of cultural, artistic, historical and outdoor experiences.  London, The Weekends Start Here offers 52 themed weekends, organised by season, with over 250 interesting  entries for unusual and surprising attractions.

Many of the themed weekends celebrate London’s position as a global city which attracts residents and visitors from all over the world. Therefore you can explore American London, Japanese London, French London, Russian and East European London, Immigrant London, Italian London, Nordic London and discover the many contributions these groups have made and continue to make to the London story. If these particular groups are associated with London, so are individuals such as William Morris, Charles Dickens and John Betjeman who merit a section on their own.

You can discover different aspects of London History by following the guides on Wartime London, Pirates’ London, Revolutionary London, Political London and Ancient London. The book takes you away from the usual tourist spots of London by providing guides to the Countryside of Croydon, The Back Roads of Bexley and Bromley, Along the River Lea and the Highlights of Hackney.
London is famous for its cultural attractions and on your themed weekends you can discover Artistic London, Poets’ London, Musical London and Scientific London.

One of the attractions of the book is that each themed weekend offers a great deal of variety, if you explore Scientific London, suggestions include a visit to the Science Museum, Attend a lecture at the Royal Society, See the Broad Street Pump, Drink at the Devereux, Visit the Home of Time, Climb an Experimental Lighthouse and explore the Wellcome Collection.

There are over 250 interesting entries which offers a short description of the attraction with information about location and transport.  Also dotted throughout the book are a number of weekend tips including suggestions of the best places to eat and drink.

Many books about London offer a large array of attractions to visit, however the main attraction of London, The Weekends Start Here is that it applies a certain amount of logic to the enterprise. Rather than keeping you to a particular location, different themes can take you all over London following a particular interest. Alternatively if you do not wish to follow a particular theme, the book offers over 250 intriguing places to visit within the confines of the capital.

This well designed and informative book really does have something for everyone, whether you are a Londoner or a visitor. The weekend is a great time to explore London’s large number of attractions and even the most ardent lovers of London will find that the author has provided a number of unusual and relatively unknown attractions to explore.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like to find out more about the book or buy a copy, visit the Virgin Books website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Exhibition Review : Anarchy and Beauty – William Morris and His Legacy, 1860-1960 at the National Portrait Gallery, 16 Oct 2014 to 11 Jan 2015

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In the  late Victorian and Edwardian Britain,  a group of  radical artists, craftsmen, architects, town planners and social reformers  looked at ways to bring their worldview to the general public,  at the centre of this movement was William Morris who was a textile designer, poet, novelist, translator, and political activist.  Morris played a major part in the British Arts and Crafts Movement,  leading to a revival of traditional British textile arts and methods of production.

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This exhibition  considers the impact and legacy of Morris’s politics, thought and design. The exhibition features  portraits, furniture, books, banners, textiles and jewellery, many brought together in London for the first time.

Morris had become interested in medieval history whilst studying at Oxford, it was also at Oxford where Morris met Edward Burne-Jones, who became his lifelong friend and collaborator.

Both Morris and Burne- Jones rejected many of the values of Victorian industrial capitalism and were attracted by a growing interest in Romanticism and Medievalism .  Morris’s ideas about ‘art for the people’ movement  was widely influenced by the work of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the philosophy of John Ruskin.

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Morris and Burne – Jones interest in the Pre- Raphaelites took a more personal interest when Morris and his wife Jane became friendly with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his wife Lizzie Siddall.

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The pictures and drawings in the exhibition illustrate some of the works at the time when Jane becomes a muse for Morris and Rossetti. Morris had been encouraged to take up painting by Rossetti but did not consider that his work was at a high level therefore began to concentrate on Textile and other designs.

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Although in the present day, Morris is known primarily for his Art and Crafts designs, in the Victorian age he was better known for his novels and poetry.

Morris with his distaste for the modern industrialised capitalist system was at any early stage attracted to the early socialist and anarchy movements, he became known to a number of political activists and played a contributing role in financing and promoting some of these groups.

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One of his prized possessions shown in the exhibition was a beautifully bound volume of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital.

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His creation of a firm that produced some of his many designs on a large-scale and for a predominantly middle class market often seemed at odds with his socialist beliefs but he always believed that the firm was more about controlling the production of his work rather than purely profit.

The exhibition extends beyond Morris’s own death in 1896 to show how his  ideas were further developed into the twentieth century.

The work of Eric Gill seems to offer a clear connection to Morris’s legacy, however Gill’s  sexually charged work as illustrated by the bizarre erotic Garden roller ‘ Adam and Eve ‘ was considered far more scandalous.

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Less controversial was the Garden City movement , the ruralist revival of the 1920s and 1930s, and the 1950’s Festival of Britain which all paid homage to Morris’s ideas of high quality goods, mass produced to provide ‘art for the people’.

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William Morris was one of the rare breed who was able to find a practical way of  fulfilling his visions , this exhibition offers a brief taste of the incredibly wide range of areas in which he excelled. His story is often due the rather complex domestic relationship with his wife tied up with the Pre Raphaelites especially Rossetti. However it was his friendship with Burne – Jones that provided a stable background to his many endeavours.

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This  exhibition will appeal to the many fans of Morris and the Art and Crafts movement but equally to those who wish to consider how design has developed over the last 150 years. As the many modern designers confirm on the wall outside the exhibition, the ideas of Morris are still an inspiration and that is perhaps his true legacy.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like to find out more or buy a ticket , visit the National Portrait Gallery website here

Anarchy & Beauty: William Morris and His Legacy, 1860-1960 (16 October 2014 – 11 January 2015),

Ticket prices

Tickets with donation*
Full price £14.00
Senior citizens (aged 60 and over) £13.00
Concessions £12.00, children 12–18 years, registered unemployed, students, disabled people (with free entry for one carer)
Family: one/two adults or concessions

 

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here