Circles of Influence
British Art 1915-50: A Diarist’s Perspective
6 February to 19 April 2016
Opening times: 10am-5pm Monday to Saturday
THIS MAJOR exhibition is based on the diaries of the distinguished artist and influential teacher Randolph Schwabe.who was Professor and Principal of the Slade School of Art from 1930-48. The exhibition showcases works by noted artists of the period referred to in Schwabe’s diaries, including Eileen Agar, Dora Carrington, Mark Gertler, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Eric Ravilious, alongside work by Schwabe from both national and private collections.
A key feature of the exhibition are works from the University of Chichester’s Bishop Otter Collection. Of particular significance are paintings by Paul Feiler, Ben Enwonwu - both of whom were taught by Schwabe - Stanley Spencer and Ivon Hitchens, and ceramics by Bernard Leach. These works, displayed together for the first time, will offer unique insights into the artistic and literary circles of British society in the 1920s through to the 1940s.
Attention is also drawn to the leading writers, intellectuals and patrons that Schwabe knew and mentioned in his diaries such as Edmund Blunden, Somerset Maugham, Father Martin D’Arcy and Edward Marsh.
Above image: Monotony by Ben Enwonwu (c) The artist's estate
For nearly two decades, Schwabe diligently recorded in his elegant and well punctuated script his thoughts and subtle comments on people and major events and his own artistic practice.The exhibition has been curated by Dr Gill Clarke, Visiting Professor at the Otter Gallery, who has edited Schwabe's diaries for a new book published to coincide with the exhibition.
Dr Clarke said: “Schwabe’s diaries are candid and witty, providing rich and new material about the practice and spirit of twentieth-century British art, revealing the inter-relationships between familiar figures in the art community and the tensions within.
“The diaries contain passages of illuminating description of artists and critical commentary. International and national events are commented on including the build-up to World War II as well as the running of the Slade and its evacuation to Oxford to share premises with the Ruskin Drawing School in September 1939.” There will be a series of talks by Dr Clarke during the exhibition - visit Events & Workshops to find out more.
Above image: Boats and Sea by Paul Feiler (c) The artist's estate
Top image: Randolph Schwabe by Francis Dodd. Collection Jane & Di Barnes; courtesy the National Portrait Gallery