Tag Archives: edwardian art

Exhibition: ‘Places of the Mind’ at the British Museum

River-landscape

‘River Landscape;, by Ambrose McEvoy, c.1910

Ambrose McEvoy’s River Landscape is one of a few watercolours from the Edwardian era (or thereabouts) featured in the current British Museum exhibition Places of the Mind: British watercolour landscapes, 1850-1950. The exhibition focusses on the hundred years following the death of J.M.W. Turner, drawing parallels between watercolourists (and the odd pastellist and draughtsman) working across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Though the show features many familiar names – from James McNeill Whistler to Paul Nash and Henry Moore  – there are also plenty of unfamiliar faces within the hundred-plus exhibits.

The exhibition is hung thematically rather than chronologically, which means that works from the Edwardian era can be found throughout the room. A fair proportion of them, however, are located in the ‘a new golden age’ section, which explores the reception of watercolours from the late 1890s into the 1910s, with particular reference to the turn-of-the-century surge of interest in the work of the artist Hercules Brabazon Brabazon (1821-1906), whose fluid brushwork attracted the interest of artists associated with the New English Art Club, with whom he started exhibiting in his seventies. Other key artists in this section include Philip Wilson Steer and McEvoy. Though drawn almost entirely from the British Museum’s own extensive collection, the exhibition representations a unique opportunity to see such a large collection of works of paper from this period. Recommended to all Edwardian scholars and art lovers!

The exhibition is free and runs until August 27th. For more information see here.

Ten Edwardian Paintings at the Yale Center for British Art

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Spencer Gore, Ballet Scene from ‘On the Sands’, 1910, Yale Center for British Art

The Yale Center for British Art – the largest collection of British art outside the UK – reopened this week after a sixteen-month building conservation project. The re-installation of the collection tells the story of British art from the sixteenth century to the present day, while a special exhibition focuses on the collection of the late Rhoda Pritzker, who purchased a wide range of twentieth-century paintings and sculpture. Several works from the long Edwardian era can currently be seen in the galleries, including the ten images listed below:

  1. Spencer Gore, Ballet Scene from ‘On the Sands’, 1910
  2. Walter Sickert, Carolina dell’Acqua, 1903-4
  3. Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell at her Easel, 1914
  4. Augustus John, Dorelia in the Garden at Alderney Manor, Dorset, c.1911
  5. Roger Fry, The Artist’s Garden at Durbins, Guildford, c.1915
  6. Alfred Munnings, Gypsy Life — The Hop Pickers, 1913
  7. Frank Brangwyn, Departure of the Bucintoro, 1910
  8. Charles Ginner, Design for Tiger Hunting Mural in the Cabaret Theatre Club, 1912
  9. Gwen John, Study of a Nun, Seated at a Table, c.1915
  10. Spencer Gore, Cambrian Road, Richmond, 1914

 

Schedule: ‘To show a foreigner England’: Englishness and the Edwardian Landscape

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As noted below, registration is now open for our April 11th symposium, ‘To show a foreigner England: Englishness and the Edwardian Landscape’, organised in association with the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol and sponsored by the Paul Mellon Centre. We look forward to seeing you there on what promises to be a fascinating day. The schedule for the day is as follows:

10.30-11.00: Registration

11.00-11.15: Short introduction

11.15-12.00: Exhibition viewing, with tour by curator Gwen Yarker

12.00-1.00: Lunch

1.00-3.00: Papers

David Matless (University of Nottingham): Regions of Englishness

Jessica Feather (Paul Mellon Centre): Collecting Watercolour in Edwardian England: Landscape and Englishness

Bill Greenslade (University of the West of England): Edwardian Afterlives: Thomas Hardy and Wessex

3.00-3.30: Break

3.30-4.30: Roundtable discussion, with introduction by Ysanne Holt

CFP: ‘To show a foreigner England’: Englishness and the Edwardian Landscape

The Blue Pool, 1911 (oil on panel), John, Augustus Edwin (1878-1961) © The estate of Augustus John. Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum, Scotland / Bridgeman Images.

The Blue Pool, 1911 (oil on panel), John, Augustus Edwin (1878-1961) © The estate of Augustus John. Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum, Scotland / Bridgeman Images.

In 2016, the Edwardian Culture Network will take a break from its annual two-day conference. We are nevertheless very excited to be working with the Royal West of England Academy on the following one-day event. N.B. This call for papers is open to those currently working on a postgraduate qualification, or to those who finished their PhD after 2012:

CFP: ‘To show a foreigner England’: Englishness and the Edwardian Landscape

Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, April 11th 2016.

This one-day symposium – coinciding with the exhibition Inquisitive Eyes: Slade Painters in Edwardian Wessex – takes as its starting point the following quotation from E.M. Forster’s novel Howard’s End (1910):

If one wanted to show a foreigner England, perhaps the wisest course would be to take him to the final section of the Purbeck Hills, and stand him on their summit, a few miles to the east of Corfe. Then system after system of our island would roll together under his feet.

Forster’s comment suggests that the rolling hills of the South West should be taken as a synecdoche for England. Taking our cues from this idea – but expanding the discussion to include other regions also – we will address a range of important questions: where was Englishness located at the turn of the century, and why? What made a landscape especially English, or distinctly not-English? What role did artist’s colonies play in understanding and promoting particular landscapes in the national consciousness? How important was landscape to the development of modern art in England? How was the English landscape marketed to audiences outside England, especially the wider Empire? Finally, how did depictions of the landscape by writers such as Thomas Hardy affect visual artists?

Although many of the questions raised by the exhibition are art-historical in nature, we welcome speakers and participants from other disciplines, including literature, cultural geography and history. We have already identified and contacted a small group of established academics, who have agreed to take part in our discussions. These include figures who have written widely on the subject,  some of whom contributed to the 2002 publication Geographies of Englishness: Landscape and the National Past, the influence of which we wish to acknowledge. In the thirteen years since this publication, however, research into early twentieth-century British art, national identity and Empire has expanded greatly, and new thinkers have entered the field. To this end, three-four graduate/early-career researchers will be selected to speak at the symposium. To be eligible, you must be currently working on an MA or PhD, or have completed a PhD after 2012. Speakers will receive a £100 grant to support travel and accommodation. To apply, please send a 300 word proposal, along with a one-page CV, to edwardianculture@hotmail.co.uk by January 16th.

This event has been generously supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, and will be hosted by the Royal West of England Academy.

The Edwardian Royal Academy: 1900

Arthur Wardle 'An Idyll of Summer'

Arthur Wardle ‘An Idyll of Summer’

Although it has long been conventional art-historical wisdom that by the
early twentieth century, the Royal Academy (and academic practice more
generally) was irrelevant to serious art and artists, it remained, in fact,
extremely influential. The annual summer exhibitions continued to be
major events, attracting an average of 12,000 submissions (with about 2,000 of them accepted for hanging) and 280,000 visitors each year. And press coverage of the Academy actually increased during these years, as the
flood of ‘new-journalism’-style tabloid papers and lifestyle magazines
covered the Academy as both an artistic and a social event, providing
details of the crowd, conversation and atmosphere. (Pamela Fletcher, ‘Human Character and Character-Reading at the Edwardian Royal Academy’, Visual Culture in Britain, 14:1, p. 25)

The continuing influence of the Royal Academy throughout the Edwardian Era has, as Pamela Fletcher’s comment attests, received little attention from art historians, most of whom are happy to swallow the notion that their exhibitions were a worthless parade of sentimental narrative paintings, eccentric historical re-enactments, dull landscapes and pompous portraits; anathema to any forward-thinking individual. The relative invisibility of many popular Royal Academy paintings – now hiding in gallery storage, or in private collections – makes it hard to stage a recovery. The digitisation of documents such as the annual ‘Royal Academy Illustrated’ (copies of which can be found on archive.org, among other resources) does, however, gives us a generous glimpse into the weird, wonderful and engaging world of the Edwardian Royal Academy, as this series of posts hopes to show. See more highlights below!

Royal Academy Illustrated 1900 (link to catalogue)

J. T. Nettleship, 'Into the Silent Sea'

J. T. Nettleship, ‘Into the Silent Sea’

Continue reading

Exhibition: Rothenstein’s Relevance

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The exhibition ‘Rothenstein’s Relevance: Sir William Rothenstein and his Circle’ will open at the Ben Uri Gallery on Boundary Road in London on September 11th. It will be Ben Uri’s first exhibition on this hugely influential figure and is a partial tour of the Bradford exhibition, From Bradford to Benares: the art of Sir William Rothenstein (Cartwright Hall Gallery, 7 March – 12 July 2015), reconfigured for its London showing.

The exhibition comprises approximately 40 works including paintings, works on paper and archival material and aims to re-examine the significance, influence and continuing importance of Rothenstein’s artistic achievements. The exhibition will examine major themes from Rothenstein’s career including Jewish subjects, portraiture and figure studies (in Paris, London and Gloucestershire) and the First and Second World Wars. These will be contextualised by work on similar themes by a number of mostly younger contemporaries including Barnett Freedman, Mark Gertler, Eric Kennington, Jacob Kramer, Albert Rutherston and Alfred Wolmark, who were all either influenced directly by, or worked alongside, Rothenstein. Continue reading

CFP: Overlooked Women Artists and Designers

'Gretchen' by Joanna Mary Wells

‘Gretchen’ by Joanna Mary Wells

Edwardian scholars may be interested in the following CFP:

Overlooked Women Artists and Designers

Monday 7 December 2015, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow

A British Art Research Network Seminar organised in collaboration with Dr. Patricia de Montfort and Prof.Clare A.P. Willsdon, School of Culture and Creative Arts, University of Glasgow.

Nan West… Jessie Keppie… Beatrix Whistler… Mary Hill Burton… Florence Chaplin… Sylvia Lawrence… Marie Egner… Mrs. Bernard Darwin…Who is she?

From the lone watercolourist to the Arts and Crafts partner, or the exhibitor under her husband’s name,this question echoes through the history of art and design, and despite modern interest in women artists, many remain little known. Focusing on a period when women benefited from a wealth of new opportunities for training, patronage, and exhibition, this seminar forms a sequel to Dr. Patricia de Montfort’s Louise Jopling in-focus display currently at The Hunterian, and will complement the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art exhibition on Modern Scottish Women: Painters and Sculptors 1885-1965, which opens in November 2015. Continue reading