Surreal FriendsSurreal Friends

Surrealism in Sussex

29 May – 12 September

Drawing inspiration from the rich tradition of Surrealism in Sussex including the famous benefactor and resident of West Dean, Edward James, and Chiddingly residents Lee Miller and Roland Penrose.

Sussex has a strong link with Surrealism through Edward James in West Dean, West Sussex and Roland Penrose and Lee Miller in Chiddingly, East Sussex. Edward James had one of the most important collections of Surrealist art in the world with works by Salvador Dalí, Max ErnstRené Magritte, Man Ray and 100 works by Leonora Carrington. He transformed the Lutyens designed hunting lodge near West Dean into a Surrealist dream with the help of among others Salvador Dali's Mae West lips sofas and lobster telephones, carpets with a imprint of Tilly Losch's feet and Edward Jame's dog, and a glass bath with gold fish. The main house is now West Dean college.

The writer and painter Roland Penrose and the photographer Lee Miller entertained their international artistic friends at Farley Farm in Chiddingly. Both were part of the Parisian art scene in the 1930's and forged friendships with Pablo Picasso, Paul Éluard, Man Ray, Max Ernst and many others. Penrose with Andre Breton organised the first Surrealist exhibition in London in 1936. Carrington met Penrose and Miller through Max Ernst in 1937. She would continue her friendship with Lee Miller, and when in England with her young children she would stay at Farley Farm.

The Penrose's son Anthony, has opened the Farley Farm up to the public.