Art Term

London Group

The London group was an exhibiting group founded in 1913 to organise modern art exhibitions in Britain

David Bomberg
In the Hold (c.1913–14)

The London Group took over from the Camden Town group and its stated aim was ‘to advance public awareness of contemporary visual art by holding exhibitions annually’. Its first president was Harold Gilman, one of the leading Camden Town painters. As an exhibiting society the London Group was specifically in opposition to the conservatism of the Royal Academy. It was also in opposition to the New English Art Club which, once avant-garde, had become conservative.

Its strength was that it embraced the whole spectrum of modern art in Britain at the time, spanning Camden Town, Bloomsbury and vorticism. The first exhibition was held in 1914 at the Goupil Gallery in London. This and the next few exhibitions included some of the icons of modern British art of the time. Among these was David Bomberg’s In the Hold, Jacob Epstein’s Rock Drill and Mark Gertler’s anti-war painting Merry-Go-Round. The London Group flourished in the 1920s, when the Bloomsbury painter and critic Roger Fry played a prominent role, maintaining its support for the principles of modern French art.

From about 1930 it gradually lost its pre-eminence as the showcase for modern art in Britain, but the group still exists and holds exhibitions.

  • Camden Town Group

    The Camden Town Group were a British post-impressionist group founded by Walter Sickert in London in 1911

  • Bloomsbury

    Bloomsbury is the name commonly used to identify a circle of intellectuals and artists who lived in Bloomsbury, near central London, in the period 1904–40

  • Vorticism

    The vorticists were a British avant-garde group formed in London in 1914 with the aim of creating art that expressed the dynamism of the modern world

Explore this term

  • Dealing joyously with gross material facts

    James Beechey

    Modern Painters: Sickert's famous dictum heralded a move towards a gritty realism in British painting

  • Women that a movement forgot

    Brigid Peppin

    The short-lived Vorticist movement was often seen as a predominantly masculine, muscular affair, but as one of the descendents of the group of female painters of the period reveals, their work was equally compelling and innovative – and deserves to be better known today

Selected artists in the collection

Selected artworks in the collection