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Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Brilliant Brits: Bomberg, Carrington, Gertler, Holl, Nash, Nevinson, Spencer and Watts

A pastoral visit in South London followed by a funeral in Sussex gave the opportunity for visits en route to the Dulwich Picture Gallery, Watts Gallery and Watts Chapel.

C.R.W. Nevinson, Stanley Spencer, Mark Gertler, Dora Carrington, David Bomberg and Paul Nash became some of the most well-known and distinctive British artists of the twentieth century. Students together at the Slade School of Art in London between 1908 and 1912, they formed part of what their esteemed drawing teacher Henry Tonks described as the school’s last ‘crisis of brilliance’. As their talents evolved they became Futurists, Vorticists and ‘Bloomsberries’, and befriended the leading writers and intellectuals of their day.

Nash, Nevinson, Spencer, Gertler, Carrington, Bomberg: A Crisis of Brilliance, 1908-1922 features over 70 original works by the group and explores the artists’ development culminating with a selection of their paintings made during and after the Great War of 1914-18 generating some of the most provoking visual records of that epochal event.

First opening its doors to the public in 1904, Watts Gallery is a purpose-built art gallery created for the display of works by the great Victorian artist George Frederic Watts OM RA (1817-1904). After a major restoration project, visitors can now experience the Watts Collection in the historic galleries displaying the original decorative schemes. Over one hundred paintings by G.F. Watts are on permanent display at Watts Gallery. Spanning a period of 70 years they include portraits, landscapes and his major symbolic works.

Designed and built by Mary Watts, the Watts Chapel is a unique fusion of art nouveau, Celtic, Romanesque and Egyptian influence with Mary's own original style. The Circle of Eternity with its intersecting Cross of Faith is from pre-historic times and symbolises the power of redeeming love stretching to the four quarters of the earth. The dome is traditionally seen as emblematic of heaven, the four panels on the exterior containing friezes symbolising the Spirit of Hope, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Love and the Spirit of Light.

Watts Gallery is currently presenting the first major retrospective exhibition in more than 100 years of eminent Victorian artist, Frank Holl (1845 – 1888). Widely regarded in his own lifetime as a leading figure in social realist and portrait painting, Holl’s early death meant that the artist never fully received the acclaim his work merited. For the first time, this exhibition brings together around thirty of his major works to examine how, during his short career, the artist became a distinct and insightful voice in British painting.


Kirsty MacColl - Days.

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