British Surrealism

As well as specialising in the purest of the British Surrealists – Banting, Colquhoun and Armstrong – Liss Llewellyn have, for over three decades, drawn attention to artists less frequently associated with Surrealism: work from the interwar years by, for instance, the Zinkeisen sisters, Harry Epworth Allen, Charles Mahoney, Victor Wood, Kenneth Rowntree and Harold Yates.

  • Anna-Zinkeisen: Caledon-Jade-Green,-late-1940s
    Anna Zinkeisen: Caledon' Jade Green, late 1940s
  • Charles-Mahoney: The-Artists-hand
    Charles Mahoney: The Artist's hand
  • Harry-Epworth-Allen: Bridge-in-a-Landscape,-circa-1950
    Harry Epworth Allen: Bridge in a Landscape, circa 1950
  • Harry-Epworth-Allen: Preparing-the-Ground,-late-1920s
    Harry Epworth Allen: Preparing the Ground, late 1920s
  • Marion-Adnams: Medusa-Grown-Old,-1947
    Marion Adnams: Medusa Grown Old, 1947
  • John-Armstrong: The-bird,-circa-1927
    John Armstrong: The bird, circa 1927
  • Evelyn-Dunbar: Seven-Days,-inscribed-on-stretcher-�Design-for-mural�
    Evelyn Dunbar: Seven Days, inscribed on stretcher �Design for mural�

Catalogues with works by British Surrealists

SANCTUARY: Artist-Gardeners 1919-39

Published: January 2020
80 pages
ISBN: 978-1-9993145-5-2

Many of the artists in this catalogue had a particularly strong attachment to gardens and gardening – taking their activities as plantsmen and plantswomen as seriously as they took their art. Charles Mahoney shared his unbridled enthusiasm for plants with Edward Bawden, Geoffrey Rhoades, John Nash and Evelyn Dunbar who swapped cuttings with each other by post. Evelyn Dunbar, along with Charles Mahoney and John Nash, produced books on the subject. And most of Harry Bush’s oeuvre evolved around painting and repainting his garden in the London suburbs of SW19.

Art, Faith & Modernity
edited by Sacha Llewellyn and Paul Liss

Published: June 2019
224 pages
ISBN: 978-1-9993145-0-7

Nominated for the William MB Berger Prize for British Art History

No account of 20th Century British art can overlook the numerous works of the period that were essentially “religious” in their content. Art, Faith & Modernity examines this question in Paul Liss‘ and Alan Powers’ essays and demonstrates the wide range of expression in more than 175 colour reproductions.

Anchored by Alan Power’s defining essay, Art Faith and Modernity presents a poignant argument – both visual and cerebral – for a reassessment of the important place that religious art continued to occupy in 20th century Britain. Art, Faith & Modernity is part of Liss Llewellyn’s on-going programme of exhibitions, produced in partnership with museums and cultural institutions, which seeks to reappraise some of the unsung heroines and and heroes of Modern British art.

World War II
War Pictures by British Artists

Published: July 2016
240 pages, colour illustrations
ISBN: 978-0-9930884-2

Nominated for the William MB Berger Prize for British Art History.

Instantly recognisable with their distinctive colour-coordinated covers, the eight volumes which make up War Pictures by British Artists were published by the Oxford University Press some 75 years ago. Created to achieve wider appreciation of the artworks commissioned by the War Artists’ Advisory Committee (WAAC), the eight themed pocket books played an important role in how the war was perceived by those living through it and how it would be remembered by future generations. ‘What did it look like? they will ask in 1981, and no amount of description or documentation will answer them’; so wrote Kenneth Clark in the unsigned text introducing the original series.

This new publication is the third in a series of Liss Llewellyn projects on war art.

Evelyn Dunbar (1906-1960)
The Lost Works

Published: June 2015
196 pages, colour illustrations
ISBN: 978-1-869827-93

Included in The Guardian's choice of best books of 2015.
Nominated for the William MB Berger Prize for British Art History.

The rediscovery of this important collection of works by Evelyn Dunbar is a particularly engaging story. When in September 2012 the BBC Antiques Roadshow was held at Cawdor Castle, amongst the dolls, items of furniture and bric-a-brac that were brought by the queues of people waiting in the inevitable rain was a painting by Dunbar. It was the kind of moment that the television producers must cherish. The Neo-Romantic painting entitled “Autumn and the Poet” (1960) had been brought to the roadshow by a relation of the artist and after it was appraised by Rupert Maas before the cameras it was sold and subsequently donated, through the initiative of LISS LLEWELLYN, to Maidstone Museum and Bentlif Art Gallery. Ordinarily this outcome might have been the happy ending to a story, but in this case it was only the beginning. None of the works in the collection had previously been recorded, and so it is a remarkable discovery underpinning her position as one of the most significant female figurative artists working in Britain during the twentieth century.

Kenneth Rowntree
A Centenary Exhibition

Published: March 2015
128 pages, +125 colour illustrations
ISBN: 978-0-9930884-1

Nominated for the William MB Berger Prize for British Art History.

Kenneth Rowntree has always been highly regarded by those familiar with his work. The essays in this catalogue, which embrace new research and scholarship, reveal him to be an artist of great scope and variety. His early work reflects the inspiration and creative dialogue that came out of his friendship with Eric Ravilious (1903–1942) on account of whom Rowntree moved to Great Bardfield during the 1940s. During this period he was particularly preoccupied with Kenneth Clark’s Recording Britain project…. At the end of the war he joined the teaching staff at the Royal College of Art. In 1951 he was commissioned to undertake murals for the Lion and Unicorn Pavilion for the Festival of Britain. As Professor of Fine Art in Newcastle (1959–1980) he was at the epicentre of an important northern school of modernism that revolved around his friends Victor Pasmore (1908–1988) and Richard Hamilton (1922–2011). Even in retirement, his work, in its return to figuration from abstraction, displays his consistent qualities of humour and inventiveness. Rowntree’s oeuvre is both influenced by and anticipates a wide variety of artistic styles, from Ravilious to David Hockney, from the Euston Road School to the Dadaism of Kurt Schwitters. His work, however, remains unmistakably his own.

Liss Fine Art 2014

Published: October 2014
80 pages 78 illustrations

Unsung heroes aside, the greatest strength of this catalogue comes from the large number of remarkable works by women artists. This goes some way to redressing an imbalance: the story of 20th century British Art is told almost always through the work of male artists in spite of the fact that more women than men went to art school in the first half of the 20th century. The Liss Fine Art bias towards women is not intentional. Yet in the search for the best of the less familiar of 20th century British art a disproportionate number of works by women artists come to the fore. This catalogue includes outstanding works by Margaret Gere, Clare Leighton, Kathleen Guthrie, Rachel Reckitt, Barbara Jones, Mary Adshead, Evelyn Dunbar, Paule Vezelay, Muriel Pemberton and Dorothy Mahoney.

Archibald Ziegler

Published: 2011
32 pages 22 illustrations
ISBN: 978-0-9567139-2

Ziegler was born in London in 1903 and studied at the Central School of Arts and Crafts. He subsequently (from 1927 to 1930) studied at the Royal College of Art under William Rothenstein, whom he recalled as a lively and inspiring Principal. After leaving the RCA Ziegler taught drawing and painting at St. Martin's School of Art (where he was a visiting instructor for Figure Drawing and Painting) and Art History at Morley College in London and for the Worker's Educational Associa-tion. His work was widely reproduced in publications including Illustrated London News, Country Life, Architectural Review, Master Builder, Architecture Illustrated, Studio Artist, Courier, London Mercury Leader, Bookman and The Artist. His Royal Academy exhibits (which between 1931 and 1970 numbered 12) were mostly of his locality: Chelsea in the 1930s, Hendon and Hertfordshire in the 1940s and Hampstead from the 1950s onwards. In the final year of his life, 1971, Ziegler was given an exhibition at Kenwood House, London – the first living artist to be so honoured

Damn the War

Published: 2008
140 pages +75 illustrations

The paintings produced during both Wars represented a new departure: the aim was no longer to produce eulogies to heroic military leaders and national triumph. Rather, artists sought to portray the impact of war on society as a whole, in battle and on the home front their body of work providing a unique portrait of a nation in bloody conflict and social upheaval. The artists of both Wars adapted and directed their work towards national needs, recognising the importance of recording as well as responding to the events and individuals around them, often taking huge risks to create their works. Some paid with their lives. Eric Ravilious, death in 1942 was one of the great tragedies of the War Artists schemes. The pictures reproduced in this catalogue capture the breadth of experience of civilian and military life. the national mood at home and the contrasting and varied responses to the two World Wars. They also provide a fascinating cross-section of artistic practice during two of the most critical periods in twentieth-century British history.

John Cecil Stephenson

Published: 2007
64 pages 41 illustrations
ISBN: 978-0-905062-42

Cecil Stephenson was one of the pioneers of abstract art in England, along with Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, John Piper, Edward Wadsworth and half-a-dozen others. This move towards abstraction had two principal strands, one leaning towards surrealism and the other to geo-metric abstraction, or Constructivism as it came to be known. Stephenson and his friends were mostly in the latter camp, and the London Gallery exhibition drew them together along with a distinguished group of foreign exhibitors including Moholy-Nagy, Calder, Giacometti, Helion and Naum Gabo. Just as Mondrian began his journey towards non-figuration through the modification and simplification of forms, natural and man-made – branches of trees and elements of church architecture – so Stephenson began his through isolating and refining industrial elements – cogs, axles, wheels, pistons, etc – derived from the multiple pieces of machinery he managed to house within his Hampstead studio.

British Paintings & Works on Paper

Published: 2005
240 pages 176 illustrations

Many of the artists featured in this catalogue — Monnington, Jas Wood, Banting, Colquhoun, Stephenson, Medley, Rowntree, Vaughan, Canney and Nockolds —moved freely between figurative and abstract art. It was part of their journey. In their ambitious exploration to find a pure art that went beyond reality, they often stopped, or hesitated, and in many cases returned to figurative painting. Artists such as Bush, Knights, Kelly and Cundall remained throughout their lives purely figurative. Their best work, however, is underpinned by an economy of design, which not only verges on the abstract, but was fed by the compositional purity developed by the pursuit of abstraction.

Charles Mahoney

Published: 1999
72 pages 75 illustrations

Mahoney's aims as artist and teacher were of a similar nature to those of the early artist-craftsmen such as Giotto. Teaching, for him, was not just a means of earning a living; it was a calling to which he devoted a major part of his life and an enormous amount of physical and nervous energy. With his appreciation of history he may have been able to afford to take a long view of the development of style, but he was passionate that students should learn their craft from the bottom up. Provided the skills were passed on the future was assured. Just as good gardeners propagate and plant for the future. Mahoney, through passion and zeal, nurtured and encouraged those students who were sympathetic to his approach to history and art.

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