An exhibition celebrating a remarkable generation of artists.
From wood-engraved book illustrations and commercial artwork, to textile and ceramic design, these artists transformed the design world of 20th century Britain.
For a brief period during the 1920s, some of the most celebrated 20th century British artists including Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden and Enid Marx studied together at the Royal College of Art. Despite their different backgrounds and personalities, these artists forever altered the face of design in modern Britain.
In the vibrant Junior Common Room of the Royal College of Art, artists began to form friendships, some of which would last a lifetime. Edward Bawden, Barnett Freedman, Eric Ravilious, Enid Marx and Norah Bradon formed one group, characterised by a rural aesthetic. Edward Burra, William Chappell and Barbara Ker-Seymour however created more urban work, reflecting their interests in jazz music, theatrical performance and the cinema.
All were taught by the painter Paul Nash, who was a tutor at the Royal College of Art between 1924 and 1925. He later recalled this period in an article in Signature Magazine:
“Ten years ago I was teaching design at the Royal College of Art. I was fortunate in being there during an outbreak of talent, and can remember at least eight men and women who have made names for themselves since then in a variety of different directions: in Painting, Edward Burra; Applied Design, Edward Bawden, Barnett Freedman, and Eric Ravilious; Textiles, Enid Marx; Pottery, Bradon; also William Chappel in Stage Design and Barbara Ker-Seymer in Photography.”
This display coincides with our major exhibition, Barnett Freedman: Designs for Modern Britain.
I was fortunate in being [at the Royal College of Art] during an outbreak of talent…