A Crisis of Brilliance

The Slade School and the Revolution in British Art 1910-1945

thursday 16 november 2023

Digby Hall, Hound Street, Sherborne

The students who studied at the Slade School of Art in London between 1910-1914 would go on to become some of the most significant names in C20th British art. They included Dora Carrington, David Bomberg, Mark Gertler, Paul Nash,
C.R.W. Nevinson and Stanley Spencer. They lived through one of the most exciting and disturbing periods in European art and culture, when the traditional canons that had been established during the Renaissance were blown apart by waves of Modernism: Post-Impressionism, Cubism, Futurism and the First World War. The three lectures in this Study Day will explore how, in the space of just a few decades, the art world changed forever, and they look at some of the leading young British  who were swept up in that revolution. Each lecture leads on to the next in chronological order, looking at the chief themes and personalities involved, and focussing in on a range of particular works, from both national and private collections

Presenter: David boyd haycock

David Boyd Haycock Read Modern History at the University of Oxford, and has an MA in the History of Art and a PhD in British History. He is the author of a number of books, including Paul Nash (2002), A Crisis of Brilliance: Five Young British Artists and the Great War (2009) and Augustus John: Drawn from Life (2018); he has lectured widely at galleries and museums in the UK, including Tate Britain, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Watercolour Society and Pallant House. He was formerly a Research Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford, and at UCLA, and was Curator of Maritime and Imperial History at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. He is now a freelance writer and lecturer..

Programme for the day

             “Lytton Strachey” by Dora Carrington               (1916, The National Portrait Gallery)


10:30 Lecture 1

“The Slade Way”

By the early 1900s the drawing master Henry Tonks had helped to make the Slade the foremost art school in England. This opening lecture explores his methods, the various talented young students he taught, and how they responded to what Stanley Spencer called the ” Slade Way”.

11:30 Coffee break

          “The Merry-Go-Round” By Mark Gertler            (1916, The Tate Gallery)

11:50 Lecture 2

The Crisis of “isms”:

The years immediately before the First World War were some of the most exciting and challenging in the history of British art, as various new movements offered an almost overwhelming series of inspirations and opportunities to reimage the world. This lecture explores these movements, and how the young Slade artists responded to them in their varying ways.

13:00 Luncheon

              “The Menin Road” by Paul Nash                (1918-19, Imperial War Museum)

14:00 Lecture 3

Young British Artists and the Great War:

With the outbreak of world war in August 1914, the direction of everyone`s lives suddenly changed forever. This lecture explores how war offered both danger and opportunity, and how many of the Slade artists would respond with some of the most important paintings of their careers.

15:00 Questions and Answers
15:30 approx Closure and departure


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