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Friday, 19 February 2016

Gwen Yarker Lecture, The Slade Painters in Dorset, Blandford Art Society; Inquisitive Eyes: Slade Painters in Edwardian Wessex, 1900 - 1914



An excellent illustrated talk by Gwen Yarker yesterday, linked to an exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy - Inquisitive Eyes: Slade Painters in Edwardian Wessex, 1900 - 1914 - until 12 June.

"Featuring artists such as Augustus John, William Orpen and John Everett, Inquisitive Eyes reveals, for the first time, the importance of the Wessex landscape during a pivotal moment in British art.

In the early twentieth-century, a group of radical artists who were associated with the Slade and New English Art Club, explored and expanded the boundaries of art while roaming the hills around Purbeck. This rural Dorset retreat played host to an informal artists’ ‘colony’ - evidently as significant as St. Ives or Newlyn, but hitherto unrecognised.

This ground-breaking new exhibition of works, produced during this fascinating period, offers new insight into the development of British art.

The exhibition also features major works by Roger Fry and Vanessa Bell, whose depictions of the Wessex coastline afford an intriguing comparison with the previously assumed ‘modern’ work of the Slade painters, suggesting that the modernist battle was, in fact, waged upon the beaches of Dorset.

Curated by Gwen Yarker, Inquisitive Eyes is supported by the Foyle Foundation and the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art and is held in partnership with the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich (NMM). Loans will include major works from national collections including the NMM, the British Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, as well as privately owned works by Philip Wilson Steer, Henry Tonks, William Orpen and Vanessa Bell – some unseen for generations".

The catalogue

Evelyn Cheston, Creech Barrow, 1910 

John Everett, Gad Cliff, Worbarrow Bay , c 1909 

Charles Conder, Swanage, c. 1901

Charles Conder, Swanage Bay, c. 1901

Augustus John, The Blue Pool, 1911

Vanessa Bell, Studland Beach, 1911-1912

Arthur Streeton, Everetts Old Mill, Corfe, 1909


"If one wanted to show a foreigner England, perhaps the wisest course would be to take him to the final section of the Purbeck Hills, and stand him on their summit, a few miles to the east of Corfe".


I was honoured by an invitation to talk to the Society on November 19th, 2015, on "Art and the Dorset Landscape".


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