Felicia Browne

Letter from Felicia Browne to Elizabeth Watson

In Tate Britain

Created by
Felicia Browne 1904–1936
Letter from Felicia Browne to Elizabeth Watson
Date not known
Document - correspondence
Tate Archive
Purchased by Tate Archive from Jim Sproule, Lin Sproule and Felicia France, November 2010.
TGA 201023/2/8


In this letter Browne discusses her political views, particularly the issue of leisure under capitalism. She believes that leisure is only available to the few as the result of the 'continual work & the most idiotic kind of drudgery' of the majority of the population in contrast to the lives of South Sea islanders. She also contemplates the ultimate goal of leisure in the future which she views as the exploration of consciousness itself, referring to the Surrealists as a group who are already doing this to some extent. She also refers to a Gertrude Stein book [possibly 'The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas'] suggesting that there are certain groups of literary and artistic people who were 'playing at being poor' without any real insight into the lives of people experiencing genuine poverty. Browne goes on to discuss the difference between 'imaginative reality' and fantasy and the difficulty of determining what reality is for different people, arguing that current 'artificial' conditions tend to divorce people from reality causing stress and mental breakdown. She mentions work exhibited at the Surrealist exhibition and its similarity to work produced by the insane and her view that all human beings have an element of insanity in them. The letter concludes with Browne's struggle to produce paintings and sculptures whilst at the same time being fully committed to the Communist party.

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