The Archives & Access project has enabled Tate to digitise a selection of artists’ archives and make these available online. A selection of archive material records and images relating to the following artists are available to browse and search in the Art & artists section of our website. More material will be released online throughout the year. This project has been made possible through a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
- Eileen Agar
- Kenneth Armitage
- Francis Bacon
- Anita Bartle
- James Boswell
- Ian Breakwell
- Stuart Brisley
- Felicia Browne
- Prunella Clough
- Cecil Collins
- Jacob Epstein
- Henri Gaudier-Brzeska
- Stephen Gilbert
- Thomas Cooper Gotch
- Ian Hamilton Finlay
- Nigel Henderson
- Barbara Hepworth
- Josef Herman
- Klaus Hinrichsen
- Ivon Hitchens
- David Jones
- Barbara Ker-Seymer
- Ronald Moody
- Paul Nash
- Paul Neagu
- Ben Nicholson
- John Piper
- Donald Rodney
- Ethel Sands
- Graham Sutherland
- Henry Scott Tuke
- Keith Vaughan
- Aubrey Williams
- Scottie Wilson
Eileen Agar (1904–1991) painter, photographer, collagist and assemblagist was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She initially studied art at the Byam Shaw School of Art in 1919 and then with the sculptor Leon Underwood. In 1924 she travelled to Paris and Spain, where she was influenced by Goya and El Greco. Between 1925 and 1926 she studied at the Slade School of Art under Henry Tonks and met her future husband, the Hungarian poet, Joseph Bard shortly afterwards. He and Agar lived in Paris between 1928 and 1930, but she continued to exhibit at many London galleries and in Rome. In 1934 Agar became a member of the London Group and in 1936–8 her work was selected to be shown in various international surrealist exhibitions. Agar’s early work was abstract reflecting the influence of Brancusi and Cubism, but during the 1930s and through her friendship with Paul Nash (with whom she had an affair), she became aware of and influenced by surrealism. Her photographic oeuvre highlights her surrealist sensibilities and the cross-fertilisation with Nash’s own photographic output. Retrospectives of her work were held in 1964 at the Brook Street Gallery and in 1971 at the Commonwealth Art Gallery.
Available online are all of Agar’s photographic output, comprising more than 1,000 negatives, from the 1930s–60s, including some remarkable surrealistic images, such as rocks – with their human-like shapes – at Ploumanach, Brittany, taken in 1936. Other subjects include architecture, landscapes, and seaside towns and villages, along with portrait and group photographs of Eileen, Joseph, and their friends, including notable artists and fellow surrealists such as Man Ray, Paul Éluard and Pablo Picasso.
Additionally, a range of Eileen Agar’s artworks and writings which shed light on her working methods, including her extensive use of found objects, and her involvement in the surrealist movement. Several of Agar’s writings and notebooks, which provide some insight into her life, working methods, and reflections on art, can also be seen online.
Kenneth Armitage (1916–2002), sculptor, was born in Leeds. He attended Leeds College of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art, where he met his wife, Joan Moore (1909–1996). Following military service in the Second World War, Armitage taught sculpture at the Bath Academy of Art from 1946 to 1956. Armitage began to establish his reputation during this period, holding his first solo show at Gimpel Fils in 1952 and participating in the Venice Biennale in both 1952 and 1958. Once he had finished teaching at Bath, Armitage was largely based in London, moving in 1959 to the studio in Olympia that he would occupy until his death. Much of his early work concerns the human figure, employing flattened forms and often with a playful element. Later work revealed the influence of his interest in archaeology and nature, and he completed a large series of works inspired by the oak trees of Richmond Park, London, in the 1970s and 1980s. Although primarily a sculptor, he drew throughout his career, including a series of illustrations Chaucer’s Reeve’s Tale.
Available online are Armitage’s letters to Joan Moore, his wife, from soon after they first met in 1938 to the end of the 1950s. His letters reflect on his artwork, his teaching and colleagues, and on his relationship with Moore. One of Armitage’s notebooks for the period is also available, and records details of the work that he completed during these years.
Francis Bacon (1909–1992), painter, was born in Dublin to English parents. The family later moved between Ireland and England, with Bacon attending boarding school in Cheltenham. In 1926 he arrived in London with an allowance from his mother after his father had thrown him out of the family. Bacon travelled in 1927 to Berlin and Paris, where he saw the Picasso exhibition at Galerie Paul Rosenberg. Returning to London, Bacon began working as a furniture and interior designer, whilst also continuing his early efforts in painting under the influence of Roy de Maistre. An early work, Cucifixion 1933, was shown at the Mayor Gallery in 1933 and included in Herbert Read’s Art Now, published in the same year. However, Bacon destroyed much of his early work, claiming Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion 1944 as his first mature work. Erica Brausen of the Hanover Gallery became his dealer, holding his first post-war solo exhibition in 1949. The exhibition included his first paintings of Popes, a series which did much to establish his reputation. In 1961 he moved to Reece Mews, London, which remained his studio until his death. As his reputation grew, major retrospectives of his work were held at Tate Gallery (1962), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1963), and Grand Palais in Paris (1971). Further international exhibitions followed, before Bacon’s death in Spain in 1992.
A selection of letters from Bacon to Erica Brausen and Arthur Jeffress of the Hanover Gallery and a number of drawings and notes by Bacon, all from the 1950s, are available online. In his correspondence, Bacon writes about his current work, plans for exhibitions, and advances of money.
Anita Bartle (1876–1962), author and journalist, was born in Brierly Hill, Staffordshire and lived in Clifton, Bristol. She was a regular contributor to the Daily Chronicle, 1900–1903 as well as Punch. She wrote various other publications, including; This is My Birthday October 1902, The Madonna of the Poets 1906 and, The Akathistos Hymn from the Ancient Greek 1922. She was the subject of the portrait, Anita (Tate,T07136) by William Orpen in 1905, which the artist presented to her upon her marriage to A.G. Brackenbury in 1906.
Available online are two annotated copies of Bartle’s book This is my Birthday. This was produced and published in 1902 using extracts from her column for the Daily Chronicle. It documented the birthdays of notable figures with related quotes from various authors. In the books Bartle collected sketches, autographs, poems and musical notations from leading figures in the art, literary, musical and political worlds.
James Edward Buchanan Boswell (1906–1971) painter, illustrator, print-maker and art editor was born in New Zealand and studied at the Elam School of Art in 1924 before moving to London where he was a student at the Royal College of Art, 1925–9. He began exhibiting in galleries in London and with the London Group in 1927 and continued to do so until 1932 when he gave up painting. From 1932, when he joined the Communist Party, he concentrated on graphic work, producing lithographs – with James Fitton – between 1933 and 1939. He was a founder member of the Artists’ International Association and became Art Editor of Left Review. From 1936–41 and again from 1945–7 he was Art Director for the Shell Petroleum Company and served in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the war years. He began to paint again after the war and started to exhibit his work again but also continued with his literary activities as Art Editor of Lilliput, 1947–50 and Editor of the house journal of J Sainsbury Ltd. Boswell exhibited at the Royal Academy 1945–60.
Available online are Boswell’s sketchbooks illustrating many of the artist’s interests and activities. There is a particularly fine series of war sketchbooks covering the period Boswell was in Scotland (1941–2) and Iraq and Malta (1942–4) serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps. Many of these images are satirical in nature. The Sussex coast features prominently in the drawings as do scenes of London life, especially street markets. His interest in Punch and Judy and the theatre is also apparent and many of the post-war sketchbooks form a record of his travels in Bucharest (1953), Paris (1953), Chartres (1956), Dieppe (1958) and Marseilles (1959).
Ian Breakwell (1943–2004) multi-media artist was born in Derby. He studied at Derby College of Art, graduating in 1964, and the West of England College, Bristol. Here, Breakwell ran the innovative Bristol Arts Centre illustrating his early interest in a diverse range of media, from painting, concrete poetry and literature to film, video, performance and installation. Breakwell held Fellowships at King’s College and Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge 1980–81; the John Brinkley Fellowship at the Norwich School of Art 1982–3, and was Artist in Residence, Tyne Tees Television 1985, Durham Cathedral, 1994–5, Digital Fellow in the Faculty of Visual and Performing Arts at Newcastle College, 1995–6 and Henry Moore Fellow for Spring 1997 with co-fellow David Batchelor at the Byam Shaw School of Art, London. Breakwell began a ‘continuous diary’ project in 1965 as ‘a collection of observations celebrating everyday life in both verbal and visual form’. Diary was published in 1986 by Pluto Press and was serialised on Radio 3 and televised on Channel 4.
Available online is material relating to the Bristol Arts Centre and letters to Breakwell from Ivor Davies (a member of the Honorary Committee for the Destruction in Art Symposium, 1966). A number of Breakwell’s intensely observational notebooks, which feature diary entries, ideas for works, correspondence, and photographs have also been digitised as well as sections from files relating to some of Breakwell’s notable performances, placements and other activities, such as: Face History 1969, Buffet Car News and The Institution 1971, Circus 1978, the painting series, National Sport 1985, The Auditorium 1988, Mask to Mask 1993, and his Durham Cathedral residency, 1996.
Stuart Brisley, performance and multi-media artist was born in 1933 in Haslemere, Surrey. He studied at Guildford School of Art (1949–54) and the Royal College of Art in London (1956–9), as well as the Akademie der Bildende Künste in Munich (1959–60) and Florida State University in Tallahassee (1960–2). Often regarded as a pioneering figure in British performance art, Brisley’s work covers a wide range of media including painting, sculpture, community projects, pseudo-curatorial installations, sound, video, films, and teaching. Central to his work is an involvement with political and social issues, and a desire to constantly challenge established cultural and social norms. In his capacity as a student advisor, and later Emeritus Professor of Media Fine Art at the Slade School of Fine Art, Stuart Brisley has influenced younger generations of British artists. Brisley has also occupied several artist in residencies and placements including positions with Hille (1970), Artist Project Peterlee (1976–7), The Imperial War Museum (1987), and New Dance Horizons, University of Regina, Canada (2000).
Available online are project files and a notebook kept by the artist which document important ideas, performances, installations, exhibitions and sound works, such as White Meal 1967, A Celebration for Institutional Consumption: Menu (for 12 people) 1970, and the picture board for Beneath Dignity 1977. Significantly, there are a series of photographic boards created during Stuart Brisley’s time as Community Artist with the Artist Project Peterlee, 1976–7. And finally, there are images and other material relating to The Cenotaph Project c.1989, by Stuart Brisley and Maya Balcioglu; source material relating to the study for Semenal Sequences 1995–6 (now in the British Museum); and printed material about Voices from Erehwyreve 2000.
Felicia Mary Browne (1904–1936) painter, sculptor and teacher was born in London. She attended courses at the Slade School of Fine Art, 1920–8 and was awarded the Certificate in Drawing. In 1928 Browne went to Berlin intending to study sculpture. Whilst there she also spent time learning metal-working and stone masonry and witnessed the rise of Nazism. On her return to London in the early 1930s Browne became involved in the Artists International Association (AIA) and the Communist Party. She continued to study at Goldsmiths College and the Central School of Arts and Crafts. During this time Browne also travelled in Eastern Europe, visiting Russia, Hungary and Czechoslovakia and sketching the townscapes and peasants there. In early 1936 Browne started working as a scullion in a tea shop where she attempted to persuade other members of staff to join a trade union. In July of that year she went on a driving trip to France and Spain with her friend Edith Bone, a left-wing photographer. On arriving in Spain they were caught up in the Spanish Civil War and on 3 August Browne joined a Communist militia. She was killed in action on 25 August 1936 in a failed attempt to dynamite a Fascist munitions train becoming the first British volunteer to die in that conflict. A memorial exhibition was organised by Browne’s friend Nan Youngman in October 1936.
Available online are letters written by Browne, including an account of the drive with Edith Bone from London to Barcelona, 1936 as well as many drawings and a sketchbook covering her travels through Europe and first-hand depictions of people caught up in the Spanish Civil War.
Prunella Clough (1919–1999) painter and teacher was born in London, the niece of the designer Eileen Gray. From 1938–9 she studied at Chelsea School of Art, where her teachers included Graham Sutherland, Julian Trevelyan and Henry Moore. The Second World War interrupted her studies and she went to work as an engineer’s draughtsman and mapper with the American Office of War Information. After the war, she returned to art school, this time at Camberwell, studying part time with Victor Pasmore. Her first exhibitions were in the late 1940s at the Leger Gallery and Roland, Browse and Delbanco in London. Despite her own private nature, she was a key figure in British art, and her circle from the 1950s included Michael Ayrton, Keith Vaughan and John Craxton. Her work evolved into the abstract style for which she is best known, although it always retained a figurative base. Clough taught at both Chelsea (1954–69) and Wimbledon (1966–97) Schools of Art. She enjoyed a number of major solo exhibitions, including at the Whitechapel in 1960, curated by Bryan Robertson, and at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge in 1999, shortly before she was awarded the Jerwood Prize for painting.
Available online are writings by the artist, including a diary, and notebooks. In addition, there are black and white photographs of the artist and a selection of images taken by her, including a photograph album, as well as colour photographs of items that interested the artist. Finally, there are a series of worked postcards.
Cecil Collins (1908–1989) painter, print-maker, poet and teacher was born in Plymouth, Devon. He won scholarships to Plymouth School of Art (1924–7) and the Royal College of Art (RCA), London (1927–31). At the RCA he met and married, a sculpture student, Elisabeth Ramsden. They lived in London and Speen, Buckinghamshire, where they met Eric Gill and David Jones. In 1933 the Collinses visited Paris, where they saw the work of Paul Klee. Collins held his first exhibition at the Bloomsbury Gallery in October 1935, which included The Fall of Lucifer 1933 presaging the mystical direction of his work. In 1936, the couple moved to Devon, attending Tobey’s classes at Dartington Hall, with Collins teaching there, 1939–43. Between 1944 and 1948, the Collinses divided their time between London and Cambridge. This period saw Collins’s own major text written in 1944, The Vision of the Fool published in 1947 and exhibitions at the Lefevre Gallery confirming his links with the poets of the ‘Apocalypse’ group and an inclination towards a visionary Neo-Romanticism in painting. In Cambridge from 1948, the Collinses were friendly with painters Nan Youngman and Elisabeth Vellacott jointly founding the Cambridge Society of Painters and Sculptors (1955). From 1951, Collins taught life drawing at the Central School of Art and Crafts and the City Lit., London and had a major retrospective at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1959. In 1970 the Collinses moved to Chelsea where the artist received a number of religious commissions throughout the 1970s. In 1989, a frail Collins was able to attend the opening of a major retrospective of his work at the Tate Gallery.
Available online are a selection of sketches and sketchbooks by the artist dating from 1920s–80s as well as printmaking experiments and studies of ‘Microscopic Forms’ as part of Nature Data.
Jacob Epstein (1880–1959), sculptor, was born in New York. After studying in Paris in 1902, Epstein settled in London in 1905 and became a British citizen in 1907. In 1907–8 Epstein was commissioned to produce eighteen naturalistic figures for the façade of the British Medical Association Building, London. Epstein became a founding member of the London Group in 1913, and that same year had his first solo show at the Twenty–One Gallery, London. Epstein’s work includes large–scale sculptures such as Jacob and the Angel 1940–1 (Tate, T07139). Epstein was married twice, first to Margaret Dunlop and later to Kathleen Garman whom he had met in 1921. Epstein was knighted in 1954.
Available online are letters written by Jacob Epstein to his children, Peggy Jean and Jackie, his granddaughter, Leda, and his son-in-law, Norman Hornstein between 1948 and 1959. The correspondence discusses family news, financial matters and his artistic practice. There are also photographs of Epstein and his sculptures. In addition, there is a separate small cache of correspondence consisting of seventeen letters from Jacob Epstein to the art collectors, Mr and Mrs Samuels. The correspondence charts the beginnings of a more personal relationship between Epstein and the Samuels, who in the 1940s began to visit the artist and buy work directly from him.
Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (1891–1915) sculptor and draughtsman was born in France. He first came to England in 1906. Self-taught as an artist, he visited Holland, Belgium and Germany in 1909 and by 1910 had settled in Paris where he met Sophie Brzeska. In 1911 they moved to London and he began to use her name. By 1913 he had established a studio in Putney, met Middleton Murray and Ezra Pound and, from October, worked at the Omega Workshops. During this period he also met Horace Brodzky, Wyndham Lewis and T.E. Hulme. He exhibited at the Allied Artists Association and with the Grafton Group in 1914. He was a founder member of the London Group and from 1914 he was associated with the Vorticists, contributing to Blast, numbers I and II, and to the sole Vorticist exhibition, at the Doré Gallery in London, in 1915. He joined the French army during the First World War and was killed in the trenches at Neuville-St.-Vaast, France. A memorial exhibition was held at the Leicester Galleries in 1918 and retrospective exhibitions organised by the Arts Council in 1956–7 and 1983.
Available online are four seminal sketchbooks by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska – comprising over 200 pages of drawings – which provides an insight into the artist’s progress, especially his transition towards a Vorticist aesthetic, between 1910 and 1914.
Stephen Gilbert (1910–2007), painter, architectural designer and sculptor, was born in Fife, Scotland. He was the grandson of the sculptor Sir Alfred Gilbert. He attended the Slade School of Art in 1929–32, originally studying architecture before turning to painting. He lived in Paris from 1938–9, painted in Dublin during the war, before returning to French capital in 1945. By 1948 his painting became abstract and at this time he became a member of the CoBrA Group. In 1954 he joined the Groupe Éspace and began making three-dimensional constructions formed from sheets of aluminium.
Available online are two documents written by the artist, The Plastic Elements of Construction 1954, and an autobiographical essay on his life up until 1982. A small cache of figurative and abstract drawings, dating from 1945, have also been digitised.
Thomas Cooper Gotch (1854–1931), painter, was born in Kettering. He was trained in London and Amsterdam. While at the Slade he met Caroline Yates, whom he married in 1881, and Henry Scott Tuke, who became a close friend. Moving to Newlyn in 1887, he continued to paint en plein air, an approach he had adopted while in Paris and which he shared with many fellow members of the Newlyn school. Gotch’s work includes portraits, which were an important source of income, landscapes, and allegorical genre paintings.
Available online are a range of Thomas Cooper Gotch’s personal records including photographs, sketches and autobiographical notes. During the First World War, Gotch involved himself in the Newlyn Artists’ Belgian Relief Fund, records from which are included in this collection. Also available is a diary kept by Caroline Gotch, documenting a trip she and her husband took to Australia in 1884.
Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925–2006), sculptor, graphic artist, poet and landscape designer, was born in Scotland. He briefly attended Glasgow School of Art and first made his reputation as a writer, publishing short stories and plays in the 1950s. In 1961 he founded the Wild Hawthorn Press with Jessie McGuffie and within a few years had established himself internationally as Britain’s foremost concrete poet. His publications also played an important role in the initial dissemination of his work as a visual artist. As a sculptor, he has worked collaboratively in a wide range of materials, having his designs executed as stone-carvings, as constructed objects and even in the form of neon lighting. In 1966 Finlay and his wife, Sue, moved to the hillside farm of ‘Stonypath’, south-west of Edinburgh, and began to transform the surrounding acres into a unique garden, which he named ‘Little Sparta’. He revived the traditional notion of the poet’s garden, arranging ponds, trees and vegetation to provide a responsive environment for sundials, inscriptions, columns and garden temples. As the proponent of a rigorous classicism and as the defender of ‘Little Sparta’ against the intrusions of local bureaucracy, he insisted on the role of the artist as a moralist who comments sharply on cultural affairs.
Available online are 45 postcards by Ian Hamilton Finlay from 1969–75. Most of the postcards were created in collaboration with other artists and were all printed by the Wild Hawthorn Press, founded by Ian Hamilton Finlay and Jesse McGuffie.
Nigel Henderson (1917–1985), painter, collagist and photographer, was born in London. Henderson’s initially studied biology at Chelsea Polytechnic during 1935–6. An ex-serviceman’s grant enabled Henderson to study at the Slade School of Art, 1945–9, where he met Eduardo Paolozzi. Henderson and Paolozzi collaborated on many projects including two exhibitions at the ICA: Growth and Form in 1951 and Parallel of Life and Art with Peter and Alison Smithson in 1953. They were both founder members of the Independent Group. In 1954, the Hendersons moved to Essex where they founded Hammer Prints Limited with Eduardo and Freda Paolozzi. Henderson’s first solo show was held at the ICA in 1961 and his last at the Norwich School of Art Gallery, 1982. Henderson taught at Colchester School of Art, 1957–60 and later became Head of Photography at Norwich School of Art.
Available online are a large quantity of photographs taken by Nigel Henderson since the 1940s. Included in this selection is an extensive series of images of the East End of London which Henderson shot between the late 1940s and early 1950s. This collection of images records aspects of one of London’s working-class communities and covers events such as celebrations for the 1953 Coronation of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II. Other subjects of these photographs include family members, jazz musicians and other geographical locations.
The photographs also document a number of Henderson’s artistic works and partnerships and contain portraits of artists such as Eduardo Paolozzi and his artwork, images of the construction of Hunstanton Secondary Modern School, designed by Alison and Peter Smithson and reproductions of the photographic boards Henderson produced for the exhibition Parallel of Life and Art at the ICA.
Also included are photographs taken by other people of Nigel Henderson and other members of his family.
Barbara Hepworth (1903–1975) sculptor was born in Wakefield. She attended Leeds School of Art 1920–1 and the Royal College of Art 1921–4 where she met sculptors Henry Moore and John Skeaping, whom she later married in 1925. The couple lived in Italy in 1924–5 returning to London in November 1926 and moving to Hampstead in 1928. They joined the London Group and the 7 & 5 Society in 1930–1. In 1929 Hepworth and Skeaping’s son Paul was born. However, their marriage was slowly deteriorating and they divorced in 1933. In 1931 she first met Ben Nicholson and shortly after this the two started a relationship. Three years later she gave birth to triplets, Simon, Sarah and Rachel, and she married Nicholson in 1938. Hepworth and Nicholson became members of Abstraction-Création in 1933 and Unit One in 1934. At the outbreak of the Second World War, the Hepworth-Nicholson family took refuge in St Ives. In 1949 she bought Trewyn Studio in St Ives, where she lived for the rest of her life after her divorce from Nicholson two years later. Hepworth was awarded the CBE in 1958 and the DBE in 1965.
Available online is the collection of Hepworth’s sculptural record books. Compiled by Hepworth throughout her life, these forty-five volumes give a complete record of her work from 1925–75. The volumes contain detailed records about each of her sculptural artworks including information on medium, dimensions, sales and exhibitions, often with a photograph of the sculpture.
Josef Herman (1911–2000) painter, was born in Warsaw, Poland and attended the Warsaw School of Art. During the Second World War he emigrated firstly to Belgium and then to the UK. In 1944 he moved to the Welsh mining village of Ystradgynlais, where he lived for eleven years. While in Wales he created work which reflected the community around him, focussing on the Welsh landscape and people and included mining as a key theme. In 1981 Herman was awarded an OBE and was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in 1990.
Available online is a collection of drawings and watercolours by Herman. They are mostly of the people and streets of Ystradgynlais dating from 1944–55. The collection also includes drawings made on a tour of France and Italy in 1948, and studies for major works like South Wales 1951, Three Miners 1953 and In Homage for the uprising of the Warsaw Ghetto 1945.
Klaus Hinrichsen (1912–2004), art historian and businessman, was born in Lübeck, Germany. Whilst at school, Hinrichsen co-edited a magazine called Viereck or Four Corners, which was admired by the local museum curator, who asked Hinrichsen to help him organise exhibitions, mostly of German Expressionists. In 1931, Hinrichsen read art history, theatre history and archaeology at Munich University completing his PhD, on the early baroque sculptor Tonnies Evers, in 1937. Being half-Jewish he found it difficult to get work though the specialist art publisher, Thieme-Becker Kunstlerlexicon, managed to commission articles from him. Whilst visiting relatives in England, in 1939, he erroneously told his family that he had broken his leg so that he could not be enlisted in Germany. In London, Hinrichsen was sent by the Quakers to entertain East End workers in factory canteens. However, like the dadaist Kurt Schwitters and other German-speaking ‘aliens’, he was later interned in Hutchinson Camp, Douglas, Isle of Man, 1940–1 becoming head of the cultural department of the internees’ ‘university’. Following his release, Hinrichsen joined the Home Guard, and, after the war, began a successful career in pharmaceuticals. He also became the chronicler of art in internment and after speaking about Schwitters, who died in 1948, on BBC Radio 4 in 1986, Hinrichsen was contacted by Schwitters’ latter companion Edith Thomas with whom he stayed in almost daily contact until her death.
Available online are items, including poems, articles, photographs, some newspapers and an identification badge, relating to the Hutchinson Internment Camp and the inmates’ ‘university’ as well as some of Hinrichsen’s writings about his time there, particularly meeting and befriending Kurt Schwitters.
Ivon Hitchens (1893–1979), painter, was educated at St John’s Wood School of Art and at the Royal Academy Schools. During the early part of his career Hitchens lived and worked in London, where he exhibited with the 7&5 Society and became part of the London Group. Forced to leave London in 1940 after his home was damaged by a bomb, Hitchens moved to a woodland near Petworth, West Sussex, where he remained until his death. Landscapes became the focus of much of his work and he often painted outdoors in the area around his home. Working on broad canvases, his tonal approach, broad brushstrokes and blocks of colour reflected the experience of being in the landscape before him.
Hitchens also undertook a number of large-scale commissions, and available online are sketches related to one of these – the mural he completed for Cecil Sharp House, the London headquarters of the English Folk Dance and Song Society. This was Hitchens’s largest work to date, and the largest work of its kind in the country when it was completed in 1954. Also available are two letter from Hitchens to Alan Bowness, and notes written by Hitchens, again for Bowness.
David Jones (1895–1974), painter and poet, was born in Brockley, then in Kent. At the age of fourteen he attended Camberwell Art School in 1909. At the outbreak of the First World War he enlisted with the Royal Welch Fusiliers serving on the Western Front during 1915 to 1918. After demobilisation in 1919 Jones studied at Westminster School of Art. In 1922 he joined Eric Gill’s Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic at Ditchling, Sussex and joined him in 1925 at Capel-y-ffin, where he worked as an illustrator for several years. He later published several poems including ‘In Parenthesis’ in 1937 about his experiences in the First World War and ‘The Anathemata’ in 1952.
Available online are 109 sketches and two sketchbooks made by Jones. Included are juvenile works and material executed whilst a student at both Camberwell and Westminster Schools of Art. Studies include Dice Players at the Foot of the Cross, Mr Gill’s Hay Harvest 1926, The Lord of Venedotiia c.1945–50 and Trystan Ac Essyllt c.1960–2.
Barbara Ker-Seymer (1905–1993) was born in Kensington, London. Ker-Seymer studied art at Chelsea Polytechnic (1921–25), where in 1921 she met the artist Edward Burra and the dancer William Chappell, who became lifelong friends. She was a student at the Royal College of Art from September 1925 to July 1926. In common with Burra, she was interested in jazz music and the cinema. In 1929 Ker-Seymer began to learn photography as assistant to her friend Olivia Wyndham, a society photographer in Chelsea. By 1932 she was working independently as a photographer and had a studio in New Bond Street. Her work was often experimental and showed the influence of recent developments in German photography, especially in its use of sharp focus, negative printing and close ups for portraits. She experimented with unusual lighting and backgrounds, such as sheets of corrugated iron, and knew Man Ray. A number of her photographs appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Tatler, Town and Country, and in Unit One (1934), edited by Herbert Read. In the later 1930s Ker-Seymer worked on behalf of the Colman Prentice agency as a fashion photographer for Elizabeth Arden and Jaeger clothes. During the Second World War she worked on instructional films for the British Army with Larkins & Co. Thereafter, she abandoned professional photography and, in 1951, opened a launderette in Victoria, London. In 1941 she married Humphrey Pease but was divorced the following year. She married John Rhodes, with whom she had a son, Max, in 1945. They were divorced in 1955.
Available online are seven photograph albums compiled by Barbara Ker-Seymer from 1928 to 1944. The albums contain photographs of Ker-Seymer, various locations in England and France, and her friends – including many notable figures of the period.
Jamiacan-born sculptor, Ronald Moody (1900–1994), came to England in 1923 to study dentistry at King’s College, London. He became interested in philosophy and art, moving in a circle of artists and writers. Following his encounter with Egyptian art at the British Museum, and after acquiring a studio in 1934, Moody began working in wood with Wohin and Johanaan completed in quick succession. After successful exhibitions in the USA and Europe, Moody moved to Paris in 1938 where he married Helene Coppel-Cowan. Two years later, they fled to Marseille. In May 1941 Helen accepted repatriation whilst Ronald, who no longer had valid papers, escaped to Spain returning to Liverpool via Gibraltar. In 1946, Moody held his first solo exhibition at the Arcade Gallery, London. A year later he contracted TB, but during three year’s recuperation, he wrote several short stories and a series on the History of Art, which was broadcast on the BBC Overseas Service in 1949. After his recovery Moody continued to write and broadcast as well as experimenting with works in concrete. During the 1960s and 1970s, Moody became increasingly involved in social and political activism, becoming a member of the Caribbean Artists Movement in 1967 and participating in Festac ‘77 (the 2nd World Black & African Festival of Arts and Culture, Nigeria).
Available online is a cross-section form Moody’s archives including drawings and sketches, some correspondence, writings and photographs.
Paul Nash (1889–1946), painter, was born in London and studied at the Slade School of Art, 1910–11. In 1914, shortly after marrying Margaret Odeh, he served with the Artists’ Rifles 1914–17 and was appointed Official War Artist in 1917. He illustrated and designed several ground-breaking books including Genesis (1924) and Urne Buriall (1932). His ideas about design found an outlet in Unit One which he founded in 1933, the same year he was elected a member of the Council for Art and Industry. Nash exhibited at the International Surrealist Exhibitions in London 1936 and Paris 1938. In 1940 Nash was appointed an official war artist to the Air Ministry, and in 1941–5 to the Ministry of Information.
Available online is a large collection of Paul Nash’s photographs. Paul Nash began using a camera in the 1930s – inspired by a present from his wife of an American-made No. 1A pocket Kodak series 2 in 1931 – and continued until his death in 1946. Many of his photographs show a similar interest in unusual compositions and the same sort of response to the beauty and mystery of the English landscape. They cover many topics from aerodromes, aircraft and aeroplane parts, animals, and archaeological sites and ruins to roads, rock studies, steps, trees, and walls. Nash would often use his photographs as source material for his paintings and direct connections can be made between these images and final artwork, such as the images of wrecked aircraft at Cowley dump, Oxford and the painting Totes Meer (Dead Sea) 1940–1 (Tate, N05717).
In addition, there are letters from Paul Nash to his wife, Margaret, dating from 1913 to 1943. Most of the letters date from the early years of their life together, and they include love letters written before their marriage and other letters which throw light on their relationship. There are also a substantial number of letters written during his service as a soldier and as a War Artist during the First World War. His letters at this time, some of which are illustrated, describe life in the trenches and war-torn landscapes. As well as containing news of his daily life and social engagements, many of the later letters mention the progress of Nash’s work, his artistic and commercial commissions, his exhibitions and his involvement with the contemporary art world. The letters also contain comments on landscapes Nash experienced, giving insights into the inspiration for many of his artworks.
Paul Neagu (1938–2004) was born in Bucharest, Romania. In the 1960s, he attended the Bucharest Academy of Fine Art, although he had originally intended to study philosophy. During this period, Neagu began to acquire a reputation as an influential artist, and was involved in group exhibitions. He first came to Britain, when exhibiting at the Richard Demarco Gallery in Edinburgh in 1969, and by the following year had settled permanently further establishing his reputation with exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford, 1974 and at the ICA, London, 1979. By 1977 Neagu was a British citizen and, during this period, taught at Hornsey College of Art. Although known as a sculptor, Neagu also produced paintings, drawings, and performances. The variety of his work is reflected in the Generative Art Group, whose five fictitious members represented different aspects of his own creative persona. In the 1970s Neagu made the first Hyphen, a tripod form which became a vehicle for his metaphysical ideas. Another series was based around the Starhead form, many of which were intended as large-scale public works. Although based in London, where he taught at Chelsea School of Art (inspiring among others, Antony Gormley and Anish Kapoor), after the Romanian revolution in 1989, he spent more time in his homeland and in France.
Available online are six handmade scrapbooks by Paul Neagu, which document the range of his activities from the late 1950s to 2000s. The scrapbooks include photographs of artworks and performances by Neagu and articles about the artist. They appear to have been retrospectively compiled in 2002 and 2003.
Ben Nicholson (1894–1982), painter, was born in Denham, Buckinghamshire. His parents were the artists Mabel Nicholson and William Nicholson. He studied at the Slade School of Art 1910–11 but was largely self-taught as an artist. He married Winifred Roberts and they lived in London and Cumberland between 1920 and 1931. Nicholson was a member of the 7 & 5 Society and was also active in Unit One. During the early 1930s Nicholson made frequent trips to Paris where he met Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Constantin Brancusi, Jean Arp, Piet Mondrian and László Moholy–Nagy. In 1934 he married Barbara Hepworth. In 1937 he was the editor of Circle and from 1939 to 1958 he lived in Cornwall. In 1954 he had a retrospective exhibition at the Venice Biennale, and in 1955 and 1969 at the Tate. Nicholson married a third time to Felicitas Vogler, and in 1958 he moved to Ticino in Switzerland.
Available to view online are a selection of items from the personal papers of Ben Nicholson including writings, correspondence and photographs. The manuscripts selected were written by Nicholson and span the mid-1930s to the early 1980s covering Nicholson’s thoughts on his own art and works by other artists. The digitised correspondence is between Nicholson and his father, William Nicholson illustrating their close relationship and mutual interests in art. Furthermore there is a selection of photographs of Ben Nicholson with his friends and family.
John Piper (1903–1992), painter, photographer, printmaker, designer and art critic, studied primarily at the Royal College of Art, 1927–29. From 1931 Piper participated in London Group exhibitions and, in 1934, he was elected to the 7&5 Society (alongside Ben Nicholson, Ivon Hitchens and Henry Moore). From 1935–1937 he assisted Myfanwy Evans (whom he later married), with the production of a quarterly review of contemporary European abstract painting called Axis. In 1937 Piper was commissioned, by his friend John Betjeman, to write the ‘Shell Guide to Oxfordshire’ eventually editing the series. Piper’s theatre designs began in 1938 and through his friendship with Benjamin Britten, the English Opera Group was founded in 1946. Prior to being appointed an Official War Artist in 1944, Piper recorded bomb-damage in works such as St Mary le Port, Bristol 1940 (Tate N05718). In the 1950s he was asked to design stained glass windows for Oundle School Chapel, followed by other commissions including the great Baptistery window of the new Coventry Cathedral and the windows for the Metropolitan Cathedral of Liverpool. From the 1960s he exhibited at the Marlborough Gallery and took up ceramics. Piper was a member of the Royal Fine Art Commission, served on the Arts Council and as a Trustee of the Tate Gallery for three terms and at the National Gallery for two. He was appointed a Companion of Honour in 1972.
Available online are Piper’s photographs, amounting to almost 6,000 negatives, alphabetically arranged by pre-1974 English and Welsh counties and other nations and regions of the United Kingdom, and then by city, town or village.
Donald Rodney (1961–1998), painter, was born and raised in Birmingham. He studied at Trent Polytechnic in Nottingham and at the Slade School of Art, London graduating with a postgraduate degree in Multi-Media Fine Art in 1985. While at Nottingham he met Keith Piper and Eddie Chambers and together they formed the Blk Art Group. Rodney’s work was politically engaged and dealt with questioning stereotypes around issues of race and black identity. In 1998, Rodney succumbed to sickle cell anaemia and died on March 4.
Available online is the complete set of sketchbooks created by Rodney between 1982 until his death. The sketchbooks played an integral role in his art and contain a mixture of preliminary studies for new artworks, records of past exhibitions and various writings. His drawings and writings bring together diverse personal, cultural, social and political influence.
Ethel Sands (1873–1962), painter, was born in Newport, Rhode Island. She was the first child of Mahlon and Mary Sands who left New York in 1874 to come to England. Ethel Sands travelled to Paris to study painting, where she met Anna Hope (aka Nan) Hudson, an American painter four years her senior. The couple were soon devoted to each other, and spent their lives together until Hudson’s death 60 years later, in 1957. Sands took out a lease on the Manor House of Newington, Oxfordshire, in 1898, and kept the property until 1920. It was here that she and Nan entertained many artists, writers and political figures. Walter Sickert invited Sands to join the Fitzroy Street Group in 1907 and she became a member of the London Group soon after it was founded in November 1913.
Available online are a group of letters sent to Ethels Sands and Nan Hudson from Walter Sickert during the first half of the twentieth century. The letters – some of which are illustrated – include advice on artistic technique and general news, and illustrate the close friendship Sickert had with both women.
Graham Sutherland (1903–1980), painter and designer, was born in Streatham, London. He attended Goldsmiths College School of Art in 1921, specialising in engraving. He started painting more extensively after his first visit to Pembrokeshire in 1935. He was employed as an official war artist during the Second World War. Sutherland moved to the South of France in 1955 and in his later career he adopted Mediterranean subjects.
Available online is a collection of forty sketchbooks by Sutherland. These date from 1935–74 and cover most of his career. They were started shortly after his first visit to Pembrokeshire, when he began the habit of going walking with a sketchbook to jot down the impressions and ideas he could use in his paintings. Sketches in the notebooks relate to paintings such as, Welsh Landscape with Roads, 1936 (Tate, N05666), Black Landscape 1939–40 (Tate, T03085) and Horned Forms 1944 (Tate, T00834).
Henry Scott Tuke (1858–1929), painter, was born in York and studied at the Slade School of Art, London. He travelled in France and Italy after leaving the Slade, and on his return to England moved to Cornwall. He became an early member of the Newlyn school, the influence of his time abroad showing in his adoption of painting en plein air. After only a few years, Tuke left Newlyn for Falmouth, where he was to stay until his death. He was a founder member of the New English Art Club and a Royal Academician. In addition to profitable portrait commissions, Tuke’s work records the coastal communities of Cornwall, where he painted local models and maritime scenes. The male nude was a prominent motif in much of his work.
Available online are a diary documenting Tuke’s daily life from 1899–1905; two paintings registers compiled by Tuke which record his paintings, and their exhibitions and sales from 1879–1934; selected sketch books, sketches and scrap books featuring artworks by Tuke; and a series of photographs of Tuke, his family and friends, his house and studio in Cornwall, and models and boats used as subjects for his artworks.
Keith Vaughan (1912–1977), painter, was born in Selsey Bill, Sussex. After attending Christ’s Hospital school, he worked at Lintas advertising agency until 1939. During the Second World War Vaughan joined the St John’s Ambulance as a conscientious objector. Vaughan was part of the Neo-Romantic circle of the immediate post-war period. He taught in London at Camberwell School of Art 1946–8 and the Central School of Arts and Crafts 1948–57 and was a visiting teacher at the Slade School of Fine Art 1959–77.
Available online is a collection of sketches by Keith Vaughan. This material covers the majority of Vaughan’s life including some of his early advertising work from the 1930s with the last sketch dating from 1976. Subjects include the male form, landscapes, and drawings of everyday life including some from his time in the Non–Combatant Corps during the Second World War.
Also online is a selection of Vaughan’s journals. These cover a number of time periods starting with his first journal which he began in August 1939; a group of four journals which detail his time at Eden Prisoner of War Camp in North Yorkshire between 1944 and 1945; and his last journal from 1975 to 1977. These journals are the personal thoughts, to a certain extent about the development of artistic ideas, but also about Vaughan’s mental state, depression, sexual angst and desires.
Aubrey Williams, artist, teacher and cultural activist, (1926–1990) studied art in Guyana. He initially worked as an agricultural field officer, in the hinterland, where he lived with the Warrau tribe. He arrived in Britain in 1952 to take up an Agricultural Engineering scholarship at Leicester University. However, he became disillusioned and travelled through Europe and Britain, meeting Picasso in Paris, but he was disappointed when Picasso thought of him only as a model rather than an artist. That same year, he enrolled as a student of St. Martin’s School of Art, exhibiting at the Archer Gallery in 1954. By now working in a figurative and increasingly abstract style, he mixed with fellow émigrés such as Denis Williams (no relation), who was a tutor at the Slade, and the artist, Frank Bowling. Williams began to show in the New Vision Centre Gallery, and from 1958 he was invited to exhibit in Paris, Milan and Chicago. In the early 1960s, Williams became an active member of the Caribbean Artists Movement (CAM) and taught at Exeter and Wolverhampton Colleges of Art. In 1969, Williams began his most celebrated painting cycle based on the music of Dmitri Shostakovich which he completed by 1981. In 1977 Williams joined twelve other British-based black artists including Ronald Moody, Donald Locke and Uzo Egonu on a visit to West Africa. By 1985, Williams had completed another large series known as the Olmec-Maya paintings based on his deep interest in pre-Columbian art and artefacts. In 1986, after a trip to Guyana, which was filmed and where he was honoured by the government, Williams was appointed to the Art Panel of the Arts Council of Great Britain.
Available online is a cross-section from the artist’s archives including a wide sample of Williams’ art, both figurative and abstract, from throughout his career. It includes paintings, sketches, and small works on paper. The series features works with pre-Columbian or Mayan themes and examples of Williams’ paintings of rare tropical birds. In addition there is a transcript of an interview with Aubrey Williams by Anne Walmsley.
Scottie Wilson (1888–1972), Outsider artist, was born in London (though Wilson believed he was born in Glasgow). Originally named Louis Freeman, he adopted the name of Robert Wilson, and acquired the nickname ‘Scottie’ in the 1930s. He left school at nine and worked as a street trader, shopkeeper and lumberjack. In 1906 he joined the Scottish Rifles serving in India and South Africa, and then again in 1914 on the Western Front and in Ireland. After the First World War Wilson continued street trading in Glasgow and London prior to emigrating to Canada around 1930. It was in the parks of Vancouver that Wilson saw totems that feature prominently in his artwork. He ran a junk shop in Toronto, where he started doodling and drawing full-time. Because he disliked selling sketches he took to hiring out tents, disused cinema foyers, empty shops and, on one occasion, a bus in which to show his work, raising money from donations from visitors. On his return to London in 1945, Wilson took part in the Surrealist Diversity exhibition at the Arcade Gallery, London and, in 1947, his work featured in the Exposition International du Surrealisme at the Galerie Maeght, Paris. His self-referential work was collected by Roland Penrose, Picasso, Magritte and Dubuffet, the latter two of whom became friends. In the 1940s, the textile firm, Ascher commissioned Wilson to design silk squares/scarves and in 1964 he was commissioned by the Royal Worcester Porcelain Company to make designs for ceramics. From the 1950s, Wilson exhibited widely in London.
Available online are some of working materials used by the artist including one of his ever-present fountain pens one of which created drawings of fish and birds, which have also been digitsed. There are also two texts by his great friend, Mervyn Levy. To round off the personal items Wilson’s tweed cap, which was synonymous with the artist, has also been captured digitally.
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