2 months ago

This Is London12 Oct 2018


14 THE QUEEN’S DIAMOND JUBILEE GALLERIES Light and space are not words which spring readily to mind in the context of a thousand year old place of worship. Neither a cathedral nor a parish church, Westminster Abbey was established as a ‘Royal Peculiar’ in 1560 by Queen Elizabeth I. As such, the Abbey is outside the jurisdiction of the Church of England and receives no maintenance funding from Church or State. It has a history stretching back over a thousand years with the shrine of the Anglo-Saxon king and saint, Edward the Confessor, at the heart of the building. Since Edward’s death in January 1066, his successor monarchs have come to this church for their coronation, and seventeen of them lie buried within its walls. More than 16 metres (52 feet) above the Abbey’s floor is the medieval Triformium, an area that has never been open to the public, having lain unused for centuries. Now transformed into The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries, it is a superb revelation of light and space and forms the final phase of the Dean and Chapter’s 2020 Vision development plan, which set out to offer a more comprehensive welcome to the two milliion worshippers and visitors who visit the Abbey annually. Displaying 300 treasures from the Abbey’s Collection, many for the first time, the new Galleries reflect the Abbey’s thousand-year history. Visitors reach the area through a new tower, housing a staircase and lift. Named the Weston Tower, it is the first major addition to the Abbey church since 1745, tucked between the Abbey’s thirteenth century Chapter House and sixteenth century Lady Chapel, just outside Poet’s Corner. There are four distinct areas of presentation. ‘Building Westminster Abbey’ charts the foundations of the first Benedictine monastery in AD 960, through its life as Edward the Confessor’s Church, and the extensive repair programme during Sir Christopher Wren’s role as Surveyor of the Fabric (1698 – 1723). Visitors are able to see for the first time a column capital from the cloister of St Edward the Confessor’s Church (around 1100), along with an intricate scale model of Westminster Abbey (1714-16) commissioned by Sir Christopher Wren with a massive central spire which was planned, but never built. ‘Worship and Daily Life’ gives insight into the life of a working church with daily worship at its heart. Artefacts demonstrating the long history of worship in the building include The Westminster Retable, (1259 – 69) the oldest surviving altarpiece in England from Henry III’s Abbey, and the Litlyngton Missal, an illuminated 14th-century service book made for the Abbey’s high altar. ‘Westminster Abbey and the Monarchy’ looks at its special relationship with the Crown. The Abbey has been the Coronation church since 1066. Mary II’s Coronation Chair (1689), created for William III and Mary II’s joint coronation (the only joint coronation in English history) is on display as is the marriage licence of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (2011). ‘The Abbey and National Memory’ shows how Westminster Abbey has developed into a place of commemoration and remembrance. As well as kings and queens, many notable Britons such as Geoffrey Chaucer and Sir Isaac Newton are buried and memorialised here. Since 11 November 1920 the Abbey has also become a particular focus for Remembrance following the burial of the Unknown Warrior. Three early guidebooks, including The Gigantick History of Westminster Abbey, which was designed for children in 1742, reveal the Abbey’s special place in the heart of the nation from a much earlier time. No other church in the land has a history so inextricably bound up with that of the people of the British Isles and the lives they have lived both at home and overseas. Sir John Betjeman, the former Poet Laureate and lover of architecture, celebrated one of its vistas as the ‘finest view in Europe’. Don’t leave London without seeing it. Jemma Court t h i s i s l o n d o n m a g a z i n e • t h i s i s l o n d o n o n l i n e

ANNI ALBERS MAJOR RETROSPECTIVE AT TATE MODERN Tate Modern presenting the UK’s first major retrospective of the work of Anni Albers, from 11 October. The exhibition brings together her most important works from major collections in the US and Europe, many of which will be shown in the UK for the first time, to highlight Albers’s significance as an artist. Opening ahead of the centenary of the Bauhaus in 2019, it is long overdue recognition of Albers’s pivotal contribution to modern art and design. Born in Berlin at the turn of the century, Annelise Else Frieda Fleischmann became a student at the Bauhaus in 1922, where she met her husband Josef Albers and other key modernist figures like Paul Klee. Though the Bauhaus aspired to equality between the sexes, women were still discouraged from learning certain disciplines including painting. Albers began weaving by default, but it was in textiles that she found her means of expression, dedicating herself to the medium for the majority of her career. The exhibition explores how, here in the school’s vibrant weaving workshop, traditional hand-weaving was redefined as modern art. It brings together the UK’s largest grouping of Albers’s weavings designed during this period, such as Wallhanging 1924 and Black White Yellow 1926, alongside exquisite studies, textile samples and works by Albers’s contemporaries. With the rise of Nazism and the closure of the Bauhaus, Albers left Germany in 1933 for the USA where she taught at the experimental Black Mountain College for over 15 years. While here she made frequent visits to Mexico, Chile and Peru, amassing an extensive collection of ancient Pre- Columbian textiles. These artefacts fuelled Albers’s thinking and making process and are shown at Tate Modern with her incredible body of ‘pictorial weavings’. Anni Albers. 15 t h i s i s l o n d o n m a g a z i n e • t h i s i s l o n d o n o n l i n e

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