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Friday, 23 February 2018

Euston Road School - lunchtime talk

Last Friday, Sophie Cummings gave a fascinating talk on the Euston Road School exhibition in the small gallery to a large crowd. The Euston Road School last from 1937-1939, and was characterised by acutely observed paintings often of naturalistic subjects with a bit of a dull appearance, as though they need cleaning.
 I've included three photos of the people who came to listen, it was a very popular talk. Above Curator Sophie Cummings just visible on the right hand side of the photo.

 Below, the gorgeous painting by David Tindle RA, 'Teasel Plant, 21, Warwick Crescent, W2 painted in 1955, influenced by the Euston Road School.
 there were some paintings on loan for the exhibition including some from Basil Rocke, lent by his family. This one below is entitled 'Dried Flowers and Oil Lamp' is very closely observed.

 The painting above is by John Dodgson, 'Landscape, Provence', there's also a preparatory drawing.
Although there's a bit of reflection, you might be able to see the artist in the foreground with a couple in the background. It's by William Roberts, 'Nature Morte', watercolour and pencil on paper. Roberts was an associate of the Euston Road School.
 This drawing is also by William Roberts, it's study for 'Bank Holiday in the Park. Sophie drew our attention to the two dogs in the bottom right of the picture, greeting each other with lots of sniffing as dogs do.
Duncan Grant was an associate of the Euston Road School, seen below the magnificent 'Standing Woman'
 There's also 'Seated Man' by Duncan Grant
 The piece above is by Clive Hicks-Jenkins, 'Burden' and is one of the 50 Gift of 2017, in honour of Meryl Ainslie. It's very good to have this wall signage, really a hangover from the previous Janet Boulton exhibition.
 It was a fascinating and informative talk, here's the Wikipedia entry:


The Euston Road School is a term applied to a group of English painters, active either as staff or students at the School of Drawing and Painting in London between 1937 and 1939. The School opened in October 1937 at premises in Fitzroy Street before moving to 314/316 Euston Road in February 1938. The School was founded by William Coldstream, Victor Pasmore and Claude Rogers. Graham Bell was a substantial theoretical influence on these teachers and Rodrigo Moynihan was also closely associated with the School.Students at the school included Lawrence Gowing, Tom Carr, Peter Lanyon, and Thelma Hulbert. The writer Adrian Stokes and the poet Stephen Spender attended drawing classes. Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant were among visiting teachers to the School.[3] The emphasis was on acute representational painting based on observation. The School emphasised naturalism and realism, in contrast to the various schools of avant-garde art then prevalent. Many of the members were on the political left, and naturalism was seen as an attempt to make art more relevant and understandable to non-specialists and members of the public. To this end, Bell and Coldstream spent three weeks in working-class lodgings in Bolton, Lancashire in April 1938 painting cityscapes showing local factories. The resulting paintings were not highly regarded locally in Bolton. Later in 1938, the Euston Road artists contributed to the Fifteen paintings of London exhibition held at the Storran Gallery. In an attempt to engage the wider public, private invitations were sent to everyone named Brown, in the Post Office telephone directory.
The School closed at the start of the Second World War, as its members joined the Armed Forces, worked as war artists or, in the case of Pasmore, were imprisoned for being a conscientious objector. A small exhibition, Members of the Euston Road group was held at the Ashmolean Museum in 1942. In 1945 Pasmore, Coldstream, Rogers and Gowing were all teaching at the Camberwell School of Art and two further exhibitions followed, The Euston Road School and others at the Wakefield Art Gallery in 1948 and a group retrospective organised by the Arts Council which toured Britain throughout 1948 and 1949. By the end of 1949 the artists had embarked on separate projects, with Coldstream leaving Camberwell for the Slade School of Art.

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