Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year

All the best for 2014.

Art Review

Looking back on art in and around London in 2013, the two things that stand out are 1) the sudden emergence of Shunga (Japanese erotica) and 2) the male nude. In its first X-rated exhibition, The British Museum staged Shunga: sex and pleasure in Japanese art (CLICK). Not to be outdone, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge mounted its own exhibition of Japanese erotica: The night of longing: Love and desire in Japanese prints (CLICK). The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) stayed European with Keep Your Timber Limber (Works on Paper) for the gay community (CLICK). The Wallace Collection came up with The Male Nude: Eighteenth-century drawings from the Paris Academy. These are drawings from students' life classes. Shown is Carle Van Loo's Male seated face-on, arms on head. This show closes on 19 January (CLICK).

Core Values

I don't usually associate rugby with art, but with brute strength, beefcake and boredom. However, the World Rugby Museum at Twickenham has opened Core Values: The Life and Work of Gerald Laing. Shown is his monumental bronze sculpture Core Values (2010), 27ft tall, weighing five tonnes and costing £455,250. It stands on the South Stand piazza of Twickenham Stadium. Engraved around the base of the statue are the five core values of the game of rugby union: teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship. The exhibition features Gerald’s conceptual drawings and the resin moulds used to cast the five large-scale players’ heads. Admission costs £7 for adults and £5 for silver surfers (CLICK).

Dragon Training

The must-see animated feature film on UK TV today is DreamWorks Animation's How To Train Your Dragon (2010). It was nominated for every award under the sun. Although pipped at the post at the Oscars, it won 10 Annie awards, including Best Animated Feature and Best Direction. At the Venice Film Festival it was voted Most Creative 3D Film of the Year, tying with James Cameron's Avatar (2009). Feminists note: the Alliance of Women Film Journalists voted spunky little Viking teenager Astrid - Hiccup's heartthrob - the Best Animated Female (CLICK). It's on BBC One at 4pm. And it is actually funny!

Saturday, 28 December 2013

'New' Van Dyck

I hope this isn't a Fake Or Fortune? spoiler, but BBC News has announced that a painting spotted by Fiona Bruce at an Antiques Roadshow has proved to be a genuine Portrait by Sir Anthony Van Dyck (CLICK). It was bought by Father Jamie MacLeod for £400 in a local antiques shop. After restoration and authentication it is now worth about £400,000. Its discovery is shown on a special Antiques Roadshow which looks at the show's best finds in the last year, Sunday, BBC One, 7pm (CLICK).

Friday, 27 December 2013

Artist of the Year

The Mall Galleries in London reopens after the festive break on 6 January, showing for the first time the top entries in The Artists & Illustrators Artists of the Year (CLICK). This annual competition is now in its 6th year. Shown is last year's winning entry: Linda Alexander's Physalis (2012). There is still time to cast your vote for this year's winner: CLICK. Admission to the exhibition is free.

Disney Grip

Thankfully all those ghastly TV Christmas specials are beginning to fizzle out, but the floods haven't abated and the storms are back! Weather aside, Will Christmas TV schedules in the UK ever escape the tenacious grip of Walt Disney? Tangled (2010) proved excellent, as did The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), but The Princess And The Frog (2009) turned out to be Disney animation at its worst. The only good thing about it was that it reminded me of Anika Noni Rose, who played the bespectacled, frumpish, secretary Mma Grace Makutsi in the TV series The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Here she is in all her Hollywood glamour. Today's Disney offering is Enchanted (2007), a live-action / animated spoof of a fairy-tale princess (BBC One, 2.35pm).

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Mao's Propaganda

BBC News is celebrating Mao Zedong's political slogans, to mark what would have been his 120 birthday had he not kicked the bucket (CLICK). Auntie has raided the archives of the IISH/Stefan R Landsberger Collections to bring us some gems of Mao's political doctrines. Shown is a happy, one-child family bearing the slogan Fewer births, better births, develop China vigorously (1987). My favourite is an earlier slogan which exhorts the population to Have fewer children, raise more pigs (1979). Has anyone noticed the irony of Mao's having been born on Boxing Day? CLICK for the Boxer Rebellion.

Happy Birthday

London Art News turned eight years old today. I never thought I'd keep it going this long. If I'd set out to write more than 6,000 posts over the next eight years, the task would have seemed too daunting. Nobody in his right mind would take on such a challenge. I don't get paid for this. It's a hobby. It keeps me off the streets!

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Ice Art

If you fancy ice art for Christmas, how about this Horse Drawn Carriage carved from ice and fitted with LED lights. It's in Tokyo, Japan.


I don't know why people need to buzz around the planet for Christmas. In the UK they ought to know they'll be faced with traffic chaos, floods, storms, strikes, train and aircraft cancellations and power cuts. Why spend the festive season sleeping rough in a departure lounge? Regular readers will know that my idea of a good Christmas is to put my feet up and watch the latest animated movies I've missed. Shown is Walt Disney's manga-style feminist Princess Rapunzel and Friend in the movie Tangled (2010) on ITV at 3.20pm (CLICK). BBC One is showing The Princess And The Frog (2009) at 12.30pm. Iffy.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Season's Greetings

And A Happy New Year.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Pussy Riot Out

I see the last two incarcerated members of the Pussy Riot protest group, jailed last year for "hooliganism" in Moscow cathedral, have been released by President Putin as a "PR stunt". Shown is Maria Alyokhina. They both look pictures of rude health, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has supposedly been on hunger strike. She wants everyone to boycott the Winter Olympics (CLICK). Why not?

Jane Eyre

Amid the monotony of Christmas specials, this evening BBC Two is showing Jane Eyre (2011) starring Michael Fassbender as Mr Rochester and Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre. This British movie directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga based on Charlotte Bronte's classic novel received good reviews and a number of awards. It starts on BBC Two at 8.30pm, duration 1 hour, 50 minutes (CLICK).

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Abbey wins Strictly

And the winner of Strictly Come Dancing 2013 is ... Abbey Clancy with her professional dance partner Aljaz Skorjanec. I thought she'd never stop bouncing (CLICK)

The Whale

Here's a fine painting urgently in need of restoration: Amy B. Atkinson's The Lamp. Note the crazy paving of cracks and a few white patches, which suggest the paint is already flaking off. It's owned by York Museums Trust. The reason I chanced upon this painting is that BBC One is promoting its true-life drama The Whale (CLICK). The Nantucket whaling ship Essex was attacked and sunk by a sperm whale in November 1820, inspiring Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. CLICK for Your Paintings featuring pictures about whaling.

Blair by Adams

Full of festive cheer? Here's something to curdle the cream on your Christmas pud.: Alastair Adams' portrait of ex-prime minister Tony Blair (2013) commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery in London as one of its series of British prime ministers. It's in Room 37 in the Ground Floor Lerner Contemporary Galleries, admission free (CLICK).

Les Edwards' Santa

Nobody who knows the art of Les Edwards would expect his latest Christmas card to succumb to the usual festive clichés. This year's card is no exception: Santa Rocks (2013). Creepy. You may find some festive special offers on his website (CLICK). Les is Britain's top fantasy artist. He has won the British Fantasy Award for best artist no less than seven times and the World Fantasy Award for best artist in 2008. Next year he will be a guest of honour at the 40th World Fantasy Convention at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia, from 6 - 9 November (CLICK). To find out more about Les, CLICK for Wikipedia. When will Tate Britain mount an exhibition of his art?

Friday, 20 December 2013

Art Thefts

For those of you who don't give a damn about the Glitterball trophy, BBC Two is screening one of its rare art programmes on Saturday 21 December at 9pm: The World's Most Expensive Stolen Paintings (CLICK). Alastair Sooke delves into the murky world of art crime, worth billions of pounds. Approximately 47,000 works of art are reported missing each year! Shown is Rembrandt's Portrait of a Girl Wearing a Gold-trimmed coat (1632) which was stolen and then returned for a ransom of $10,000 (years ago).


The big question of 2013 is: Who will win Strictly Come Dancing? The finalists are Abby Clancy (shown), Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Natalie Gumede and Susanna Reid with their professional dance partners. In theory, Abbey and Aljaz and Natalie and Artem should be joint favourites, because both pairs scored full marks from the judges for one of their dances; but they have also been in the dance off once each, which suggests the most popular dancers with public voters are Sophie and Brendan and Susanna and Kevin, neither of whom have been in a dance off. All four couples are extremely talented. So this should be a dazzling final. The judges votes don't count. The Glitterball trophy is in the hands of the public (CLICK).

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Theatre Ceiling Collapse

Part of an ornate plasterwork ceiling has collapsed into the stalls of the Apollo Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue during a performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The theatre was packed. London Fire Brigade arrived in three minutes, declared a major incident and evacuated, searched and sealed the building. First reports are 81 walking wounded and 4 casualties with serious injuries that are not life threatening. None of the performers was injured (CLICK).

Christmas Overkill

Is it my imagination or are the main TV channels inflicting a Christmas Overkill on us? I can't recall the approach to Christmas being so full of festive specials. It isn't just the commercial channels trying to flog us everything from overpriced kids toys to vomit-making party foods. It's the BBC too. This evening BBC Two has on offer The Hairy Bikers Christmas Party, Alex Pilizzi's Perfect Christmas (shown) and The 12 Drinks of Christmas, while, as an alternative, BBC One has a nativity repeat of Mrs Brown's Boys and The Royle Family Christmas Special. I don't want to view any of this crap. As for all those celebrity chefs the BBC employs to tell us how to stuff our Christmas turkey, they can get stuffed too. Give us a break, Auntie.

Gold Mao

How's this for bling? An anonymous Chinese fat cat hired 20 anonymous artists to create this Gold and Jade statue of Mao Zedong set with precious stones (2013) to celebrate the 120th anniversary of Mao's birth. It took eight months to complete and cost 100 million yuan (£10.061,200). That's a few yuan for each of the estimated 15 million to 45 million Chinese who starved to death as a result of the Great Leap Forward, when peasants were moved from farms to factories and natural disasters hit the remaining crops (CLICK). Later, Mao's Cultural Revolution saw more misery and death inflicted on the people. Does a Communist dictator who caused so much suffering and death deserve to be celebrated? The statue was unveiled in Shenzhen, southern China, but will go to the Mao Zedong memorial in his birthplace Shaoshan (CLICK). The anniversary takes place on 26 December. That's Boxing Day to us.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013


The new £27m visitor centre at Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain opened today, just in time for the winter solstice on Saturday. Whether the crowds of pagans, beatniks and hippies that flock to Stonehenge to mark the occasion will be prepared to pay £14.90 to enter the site is a moot point. It's the one million tourists who visit this UNESCO world heritage site every year that need to be fleeced ... er ... impressed. Shown is Swedish facial reconstruction expert Oscar Nilsson putting the finishing touches to his forensic reconstruction of the face of a neolithic man who was buried around 5,500 years ago in a long barrow one and a half miles from Stonehenge. It's one of the exhibits in the new centre. Royal Academicians and other junk peddlers, eat your hearts out. This guy is an artist. CLICK for a BBC tour.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Crown of Creation

This is what happens to you if you drink too much in Bavaria: they cage you naked with empty glasses in the middle of December! I'm kidding. Believe it or not, this is an art installation thingy, created by "artist" Wolfgang Flatz for the Tollwood Winter Festival in Munich. Behold The Crown of Creation for animal welfare, protesting against factory farming in cages (CLICK).

Monday, 16 December 2013

Fake or Fortune?

Here's a date for your 2014 diary. The new series of Fake or Fortune? begins on BBC One on Sunday 19 January. I'll post details when they are published. This is the most engrossing series on art and art history I've ever seen and it caused a welter of comments on my blog, from as far away as Australia and New Zealand when Series 1 was broadcast months later. Shown is a photo of the team: Dr Bendor Grosvenor, Philip Mould and Fiona Bruce (2013). I don't know who the bewigged gentlemen is, but I look forward to finding out. For Philip Mould's top tips for hunting down a sleeper, CLICK.

Joan Fontaine RIP

Another of the Hollywood greats has passed away. Oscar-winning actress Joan Fontaine died in her sleep at her home in California, aged 96. She is shown here playing opposite Cary Grant in Alfred Hitchcock's classic film Suspicion (1941). CLICK for the movie trailer on YouTube. Her real name was Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland, but she took the name Fontaine to distinguish herself from her sister Olivia de Havilland. They were born in Japan to British parents and moved to the USA as children. Their rivalry was legendary in Hollywood. In 1978 Joan told the Hollywood Reporter "I married first, won the Oscar before Olivia did, and if I die first, she'll undoubtedly be livid because I beat her to it" (CLICK).

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Peter O'Toole RIP

That great Irish actor Peter O'Toole died on Saturday after a long illness, aged 81. He shot to international stardom in David Lean's classic film Lawrence of Arabia (1962) at the age of 30 (left photo). In 1968 he played King Henry II in James Goldman's movie adaptation of his play The Lion In Winter, which also starred Katharine Hepburn (right photo). These are just two examples from his long and illustrious career. CLICK for the BBC obituary.

Fragonard's Girls

How's this for a rather strange painting? Jean-Honoré Fragonard's Two Girls on a Bed Playing with their Dogs (c. 1770) shows two very chunky women masquerading as innocent girls, one coyly displaying her vulva, the other sporting a bottom the size of a horse. Until the last century it was considered improper for budding artists to have female models for their life classes. Only men and boys were hired as models. So, my guess is that these "girls" are a pair of prostitutes Fragonard hired for his saucy painting and he wasn't aware how adult they appear. It comes up for grabs in Sotheby’s New York auction of Important Old Master Paintings and Sculpture on 30 January 2014, with an estimated price tag of $6m to $8m (CLICK).

Sorolla and America

I'm sick of winter already, and it hasn't even started in Greater London yet! My back garden is autumnal and my Mrs Popple fuchsia still hasn't been blackened by frost. To cheer us up, here's some Spanish sunshine: Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida's The Young Amphibians (1903). You can feel the warmth. It's one of the paintings in Sorolla and America, a major retrospective of the artist's work which opened recently at the Meadows Museum of Art in Dallas, Texas. More than 100 paintings, oil sketches, and drawings are on display, many from private collections never before seen by the public (CLICK).

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Jade Rabbit

I admire artists' impressions of modern technological marvels. This one shows China's Jade Rabbit robot rover, which began trundling across Sinus Iridum (the Bay of Rainbows) on the Moon today, after a successful touchdown by its landing module (CLICK).

Prisoner of Azkaban

Today I'm trying to get into the Christmas spirit by putting my feet up and watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) on ITV at 2.30pm. This is the third outing for Daniel Radcliffe as the boy wizard, backed up by Emma Watson as Hermione Granger and Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley. This movie, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, gained two Oscar nominations for special effects and score (CLICK). So, what has this to do with Christmas spirit? Well, it's all fantasy, isn't it?

Friday, 13 December 2013

The Dying Gaul

As part of The Year of Italian Culture in the United States, the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC has been allowed to borrow The Dying Gaul (1st or 2nd Century AD) from the Capitoline Museum, Rome, until 16 March 2014. Yesterday this powerful masterpiece from antiquity went on display in the Rotunda, West Building Main Floor (CLICK). It puts to shame most modern attempts at sculpture. How can anyone who has seen this gem be fooled into thinking that contemporary junk peddlers are artists?

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Painting Now

Tate Britain is still looking for punters to visit its Painting Now exhibition and find out what five contemporary artists think about it: Tomma Abts, Gillian Carnegie, Simon Ling, Lucy McKenzie and Catherine Story. At £10 for adults and £8.60 for silver surfers plus booking fees of £1.75 or £2 by telephone, I can happily live without finding out what they think. If you feel flush, go for it (CLICK).

Margaret Rawlings Bust

This large plaster bust of British stage actress Margaret Rawlings (1936) by Frank Dobson RA has been donated to the National Portrait Gallery in London. It's a rough-and-ready sculpture which looks as though it has been painted to simulate verdigris on bronze. Not only was Margaret Rawlings a leading light in her day, but also she co-founded the British Actors' Equity Association and was eventually elected its Vice President. Her bust is now on display in The National Portrait Gallery, Room 31, First Floor (CLICK).

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

12 Cyber Scams

BBC News has published The 12 cyber-scams of Christmas by Prof. Alan Woodward, Department of Computing, University of Surrey. This is an article everyone who owns a computer, a tablet or a smartphone should read (CLICK). Even the boring old telephone is open to some of these scams. The one that annoys me most is from a clattering Indian call centre, allegedly from Microsoft to warn me that I have a virus on my PC. If I'll just go to the website the caller will read out to me, the virus will be fixed. Like hell it will! This is a scam to put a virus on your computer. Microsoft will never phone you with such a message. I've signed up to the unsolicited calls blocker, but the Indian call centres bypass it. Infuriating.

Jane Austen Update

Back in October I noted that James Andrews' portrait of Jane Austen (1869) was up for grabs in Sotheby's London auction on 10 December (CLICK). This is the portrait that will be used on the new £10 banknote (CLICK). It fetched £164,500, bought over the telephone on behalf of an anonymous private collector (CLICK). Will an export licence be required for this piece of our cultural history?

Hirst Spots Stolen

The home page of the Exhibitionist gallery in Notting Hill, London, invites punters to "Take your first step to building your art collection" (CLICK). A thief took that advice and walked out with two Moneybags Hirst dotty piccies, both signed, worth a total of £33,000. It seems he put them in the back of a car and drove off. The police are appealing for witnesses (CLICK). Shown is Oleoylsarcosine (2008). The other is Pyronin Y (2005). I find it lamentable that anyone should be daft enough to buy one of these excrescences, let alone risk a jail term by stealing two.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Oil Painters

On Wednesday the Mall Galleries in London opens an exhibition to run alongside The Call of The Running Tide: Royal Institute of Oil Painters. Both shows run until 21 December, then the galleries close for a Christmas break (CLICK). The ROI is the only major national art society that is devoted exclusively to oil painting. Members will give artist demonstrations during the exhibition. Winners of the Phyllis Roberts Award of £2000 for a promising young painter and the Winsor & Newton under 35 Oil Painting Awards will be announced. Shown is Pictures at an ROI Exhibition by Ian Cryer PROI. Admission costs £3 for adults, £2.50 for silver surfers. CLICK to view some of the exhibits online.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Andrew Stock

Tomorrow the Mall Galleries in London opens The Call of the Running Tide, a one-man exhibition of approximately 50 oil paintings and watercolours by Andrew Stock RE PPSWLA. Shown is his atmospheric The Clubhouse, Rock. He will be at the gallery to discuss his work on the following days: 10, 11, 17 & 20 December. Admission to the exhibition is free. You'll find it in The Threadneedle Space (CLICK).

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Princesses in Panto

What did Princesses Margaret and Elizabeth get up to in Windsor Castle during World War II? They donned wigs and fancy costumes and performed in Christmas pantomimes. This photo shows Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth on the set of Cinderella in Windsor Castle in 1941. Both girls signed the photo. I've no idea who was the bewigged buffoon in the centre, but he may have been Hubert Tannar, headmaster of the nearby Royal School and an enthusiastic amateur actor. This is one of the lots in an historic archive made between 1940 and 1944. Star pupil and fellow actor Cyril Woods collected the photos and left them to friends when he died in 2001. Dominic Winter Auctioneers in Gloucestershire, have split the archive into 36 lots with a total estimated value of £16,000. The auction is on 11 December (CLICK).

Nude For Xmas?

I don't know about you, but I'm already sick of the clamour for our money this festive season, from charities to multinationals. TV commercials are full of that worst insult for Christmas pressies: perfumes. How to tell your loved one he or she has a body-odour problem! "Happy Christmas, darling; you stink". How much more romantic to give an oil painting of a nude for Christmas, such as this uninspiring Standing Female Nude by William Edward Frost RA, valued at £400 - £600. His female nudes were apparently very popular in the Victorian era. This is one of the lots in the current online auction of British and Continental Pictures by 25 Blythe Road (CLICK). Only two days left!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Suspect Collared!

Romania's Interior Ministry has announced that one of the suspects wanted in connection with the theft of paintings from Rotterdam's Kunsthal museum in 2012 has been collared in Britain. Kent police arrested Adrian Procop, 21, at the Eurotunnel Folkestone outbound terminal and charged him with possessing false identification papers with intent. He has been remanded to Westminster Magistrates Court. Nice one, Kent fuzz! Shown is Paul Gauguin's Femme devant une fenetre ouverte, dite La Fiancee (1888), one of the stolen works which mummy allegedly burned in her stove to hide her sons' crime (CLICK).

Friday, 6 December 2013

Blaze Laser Light

Here's a neat device which could save the lives of cyclists. The Blaze laser projects an image of a green bike onto the ground about 16ft ahead of the cyclist. Many accidents are caused by vehicles turning left across the path of a cyclist, because the cyclist is in the driver's blind spot. The Blaze laser projects the symbol for a cyclist into that blind spot, particularly effective at night. The device is waterproof and has an aluminium case with a backlit control panel. It also has a magnet that detects when it is on the handlebars and cannot be used when detached, a good safety feature. The young lady in the photo isn't a model, but the lovely Emily Brooke herself, founder of Blaze (CLICK).

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Nelson Mandela RIP

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela 18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013, painting by Richard Stone (2008).

Painted Faces

If you can tear yourself away from the private life of Charles Saatchi, which is currently making headlines for all the wrong reasons, you might like to know that the winner of the Saatchi Online Painted Faces Showdown is Miguel Laino, who receives Winsor & Newton art materials to the value of £1,000. The exhibition of works by the top 10 finalists opened today at the Griffin Gallery in London and runs until 20 December (CLICK).

Owl's House

This is an original unpublished Winnie-the-Pooh illustration by E.H. Shepard: Pooh and Piglet outside Owl's House. It was bought directly from E.H. Shepard's widow by theatre director Mrs Veronica Flint-Shipman, who then added the inscription "For Julian Slade from V.F-S. Phoenix Theatre, 1st Performance of A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas 1970". The illustration comes up for grabs in Christie's London auction on 10 December with an estimated price tag of £50,000 - £70,000 (CLICK).

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Portrait Award 2014

The National Portrait Gallery in London has issued its Call For Entries to the BP Portrait Award 2014. The competition is international. You must be a minimum of 18 years old. The top prize is £30,000. The closing date is 3 February 2014. CLICK for details and an entry form. Do read the rules.

Lumos Maxima

Female Harry Potter fans with rich daddies might like to start their Christmas campaign for this unique Lumos Maxima charm bracelet based on designs by Potter authoress J.K. Rowling. At the top are Harry's spectacles and that bolt of lightning which marks his forehead. Fans will also see a broomstick, a Golden Snitch, a Dark Mark skull, a Slytherin locket; a winged key, the Sorting Hat and the Deathly Hallows symbol. A wand acts as the fastener. The butterfly is the logo of Lumos, the charity set up by Rowling to end the appalling institutionalisation of children in so-called "orphanages" as a result of poverty, disability and discrimination. The proceeds of the sale will go to Lumos. The bracelet, handcrafted in the workshops of Edinburgh jeweller Hamilton & Inches, is estimated to be worth £15,000 to £20,000. It comes up for grabs in Sotheby’s English Literature, History, Children’s Books & Illustrations sale in London on 10 December (CLICK).

Odon Birth Device

Here is a still from an animation showing the groundbreaking Odon childbirth device, created by a car mechanic to replace the antiquated and potentially damaging metal forceps used in childbirth when a forceps delivery is required. To the right is the tip of the inserter, which intrudes a double layer of plastic into the birth canal. When the bag is inflated it grips the head of the foetus gently but firmly. This revolutionary device arose from a party trick to remove a cork from inside a bottle without breaking the glass! CLICK to see the animation and to learn more.