09 June 2011

V&A at Dundee Announces Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration


Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Andrew (Cecil Beaton, 1960)

Dundee is to be the first location to host the V&A’s exhibition of portraits of Her Majesty The Queen by photographer Cecil Beaton, to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Presenting highlights of the V&A’s archive of Beaton’s royal photography, Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration will depict The Queen in her roles as princess, monarch and mother.

The exhibition will run at The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum from Friday September 30th to Sunday January 8th.

It is the first in a series of partnership projects between The McManus and the V&A, as part of the pre-opening programme for the V&A at Dundee.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said, “Part of the £5 million of Government funding that I announced in January included support for the pre-opening programme of exhibitions that will begin with this outstanding selection of Cecil Beaton's royal photography.

“The V&A will be a stunning landmark building on Dundee's waterfront, and the funding is a reflection of the significance we attach to this project as a showcase for our creative industries and as a magnet for visitors, enhancing Scotland's reputation as a creative nation.

“I am delighted the programme is starting with such an appealing free exhibition that provides just a foretaste of the unparalleled shows that Scotland will enjoy in future from the V&A.”

Dundee City Council leisure, arts and communities convener Councillor Bob Duncan said, “I am delighted that this exhibition is coming to Dundee. It will act as an additional attraction to The McManus, which is a hugely popular destination in the city.

“People of Dundee and further afield are excited at the prospect of the V&A at Dundee, and this exhibition shows how the partnership is already delivering benefits.”

Lesley Knox, Chair of Design Dundee Ltd, the company delivering the V&A at Dundee, said, “We are looking forward to an exciting and varied range of exhibitions from the V&A over the next four years as we work towards opening our new building.”

The images in the exhibition depict The Queen and Royal Family, contrasting highly staged state occasions with intimate family moments.

The exhibition charts how the representation of the Royal Family has changed and also examines Beaton’s working methods, styles and approaches, revealing him as one of the 20th century’s masters of photography.

Celebrated photographer, designer and avid diarist, 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 The Queen on many significant  occasions including her Coronation Day.

The exhibition in Dundee will feature over 60 items, from wartime photographs of Princess Elizabeth with her family, to tender images of The Queen with her own young children and official portraits that convey the magnitude of her role as Britain’s monarch. It will show elegant and highly-staged photographs alongside informal moments of the royal family at home, interspersed with film and radio footage from the time.

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. One section will showcase portraits of Beaton himself by his contemporaries.

An expanded exhibition will be hosted at the V&A in London from February 8th to April 22nd, 2012. The exhibition will then tour around the UK to Leeds City Museum, Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, and Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle.

Notes to Editors

• The exhibition curator is Susanna Brown, Curator of Photographs at the V&A
• The V&A has the oldest museum photography collection in the world and holds the UK’s national collection of photography. The Cecil Beaton collection of royal portraits was bequeathed to the V&A in 1987. It includes 18,000 original prints, transparencies and negatives and 45 volumes of press cuttings.

Dundee exhibition - dates and venue
Friday September 30th to Sunday January 8th
The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum

Admission Free. Opening times: Mon to Sat 10am - 5pm, Sun 12.30 - 4.30pm.
Thursday late opening until 8pm - specially for the Beaton exhibition run.

Exhibition organised by the V&A, London in partnership with the V&A at Dundee.

V&A at Dundee
The V&A at Dundee is being delivered by Design Dundee Ltd, a ground-breaking partnership between the Victoria and Albert Museum - the world’s greatest museum of art and design - and Dundee City Council, the Universities of Dundee and Abertay Dundee, and Scottish Enterprise.

Earlier this year the Scottish Government announced it would provide total capital funding of £3.5 million in 2010/11 and 2011/12 towards the V&A project, with total revenue funding (to cover project running costs) of £1.28 million allocated in 2010/11 and 2011/12.  The revenue funding supports staffing, marketing and fundraising for the project, and the development of what goes on inside the building - including the exhibitions that will run before the building is completed.


Exhibition Publication
V&A Publishing has produced a hardback book to accompany the exhibition authored by Susanna Brown, with contributions from Sir Roy Strong and Mario Testino. For further press information about the book, contact Julie Chan on 020 7942 2701 or email j.chan@vam.ac.uk (not for publication).

08 June 2011

MS: the big knit

A lot of things happened to day and one of these, was an unexpected surprise from RCA and DJCAD design graduate Alison Thompson from 'Somehow Related'. She got in touch to tell me about her innovative new work. So as with all good news stories, I'm sharing it with you - enjoy! And if you're in London between 7-12 June, why not pop along to see it for yourself?

Multiple Sclerosis: the big knit was a collaborative knitting science project to promote awareness and understanding of the disease Multiple Sclerosis (MS) by creating a woolly art installation. The installation consists of three tableaux each highlighting a different aspect of MS: the nature of the disease, the role of genetics and the impact of our environment on the disease.

Knitters from around the United Kingdom were invited to take part in the project, through our website, by knitting elements of the tableaux and sending then in to be included in the final installation. In addition to this open invitation we ran a series of events with knitting and community groups in the Cheltenham area to provide an opportunity for knitters to engage with scientists and discuss MS. Over 70 knitters contributed to the creation of the tableaux, between them knitting over 300 items including brain cells, DNA helices and sunshines.

This installation has been created for The Times Cheltenham Science Festival 2011 to support the festival talk ‘MS’ held on Sunday 12 June. During the Festival it will be the centrepiece of a drop-in knitting corner where visitors to the festival could knit their own piece of science, while also acting as the backdrop of presentations by experts in the field of MS research.

The project engages people with science through the act of creating and via the social nature of knitting. The MS: the big knit art installation will be exhibited at venues around the UK and additional knitting workshops are planned for the future.

DNA and Multiple sclerosis. 

Each human cell contains approximately 2 m of DNA. In this tableau we’re exploring how all the DNA is packaged so that it fits inside the cell without getting tangled. Secondly we’ve shown some of the mechanisms that are used to control the reading of DNA to make protein, (a process known as transcription) that are thought to be important in MS. These are epigenetic modifications and transcription factors.
Multiple sclerosis, the disease. 

This tableau shows a section of brain, revealing the changes that occur during MS. There is an area of normal tissue, an area of inflammation and demyelination, and finally the scar that is left once all the myelin is removed.

Vitamin D and Multiple sclerosis. 
Vitamin D is very complicated, so this tableau represents sources of vitamin D. We’ve got the sun, vitamin D supplements, and two food groups that contain vitamin D: eggs and fish.

Please visit the project website (www.immunology.org/msthebigknit) for details of these events. Contact: Hannah Hope - project co-ordinator.  H.Hope@immunology.org
Alison Thomson – Tableaux designer. alison.thomson@network.rca.ac.uk http://www.somehowrelated.co.uk