The 1951 Festival of Britain showcased achievements in science, technology, industry, architecture and the arts in venues across the country. Much of what was built for the Festival was dismantled at the end – but there are some remarkable remnants.
As well as personal memories and mementos passed through families, the Festival survives in a number of intriguing and unexpected places.
Reg and Joy Bond, who had come to the festival from New Malden, Surrey. Image kindly supplied by their granddaughter, Becky.
Here we take a look at 8 examples:
1. Susan Lawrence and Elizabeth Lansbury Schools, London Grade II listed
Part of the Festival of Britain was a ‘Live Architecture’ exhibition in the Stepney / Poplar area of London. Nearly a quarter of buildings in the area…
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I recently spent some time in the store of the University of Salford Art Collection, which has been acquiring contemporary art since the university’s inauguration in the late-1960s, and finding out about its history and future plans from curator and assistant curator Lindsay Taylor and Steph Fletcher.
To read my interview visit http://theshriekingviolets.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/an-education-through-art-university-of.html.
There aren’t too many people perhaps who would compare Harlow to Florence, or at least not favourably, but withhold the cynicism because the Italian city did inspire an important part of the New Town’s founding vision. Frederick Gibberd, Harlow’s architect-planner, believed that the ‘Civic Centre should be home to the finest works of art, as it is in Florence and other splendid cities’. Later, his book Town Design set out his vision of the ‘kind of environment he hoped to achieve, one in which the creative arts were to be valued and given an important role in the community’. (1)
Gerda Rubinstein, Portrait bust – Sir Frederick Gibberd (1979) in the Gibberd Gallery, Harlow Civic Centre
What follows is a roughly chronological run-through of some of the sculptures and art works dotted around Harlow which aimed to fulfil the ideals of Gibberd and those who supported him. It’s not a…
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An artist who showed at Pictures for Schools.
Peter Laszlo Peri, the émigré artist, lived a most extraordinary life. By his death in 1967, he had left an innovative body of work that was characterised by the social awareness of his life and the spirit of the post-war years.
Peri’s most famous work, The Sunbathers, created for the Festival of Britain in 1951 was thought to be lost, but last year it was miraculously discovered in a hotel garden in London. We’re crowdfunding to secure its restoration and return to public display – find out more here.
Peter Laszlo Peri’s sculpture The Sunbathers on the north wall of Station Gate at the Festival of Britain, 17 May 1951. Image credit PA Images
Lead image: Peter Peri working outdoors with some of his sculptures around him
watched by onlookers over the garden gate, Tate Archive ©Tate, London 2017.
Peri was born in Budapest, Hungary in…
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The Manchester Modernist Society are proud to presents an exhibition of Galt toys, games, puzzles, catalogues and books. At the Manchester Central Library Commencing Tuesday 4th April running until Wednesday 31st May 2017 St Peters Square, City Centre, M2 5PD Monday: 9am-8pm Tuesday: 9am-8pm Wednesday: 9am-8pm Thursday: 9am-8pm Friday: 9am-5pm Saturday: 9am-5pm Sunday: closed Entrance […]
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the visual atmosphere of Pictures for Schools, which was largely dominated by realism and familiarity (though there were a few more bold or abstract artists, such as Tadek Beutlich). A high proportion of the artists who sold and exhibited work had been war artists, or involved in projects such as Recording Britain, to document places at risk of disappearing due to war and modernisation. One of them (and the best-named!) was Malvina Cheek, who primarily sold and exhibited paintings of trees at Pictures for Schools. I recently found at that she died last year, at the age of 100, making her one of the longest-surviving artists of that era. Read her obituary in the Guardian here.