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From Egg to Bacon: English Painting 1850-1950

Report of the lecture given by Linda Smith BA (Hons) MA, on Wednesday 24th March 2009

On 25 March we had the pleasure of hearing Linda Smith talking about a hundred years of British art. Linda is an experienced gallery guide and lecturer and her fame has even spread to the other side of the world. In August she will be lecturing in Newcastle, our Australian 'twinned' NADFAS group.

Her slides showed a wide variety of paintings beginning with the genre paintings of Augustus Egg and ending with Paolozzi's Pop Art

The various movements overlapped. We saw Millais's painting of Ophelia, which portrayed the decorative style of the Pre-Raphaelites, and Tissot's paintings of high society. In the same period Whistler was painting his impressionistic scenes of Cremona, which Ruskin criticised so strongly, and Aubrey Beardsley was shocking the general public with his erotic black and white illustrations.

At the beginning of the 20th Century the Post-Impressionist influence was very strong and some artists, such as Vanessa Bell and the Bloomsbury Group, concentrated on shapes and bright colours depicting a wide range of subjects. Abstract art developed during the early 1920s and we saw examples of the work of Wyndham Lewis and David Bomberg. War Artists were represented by Chris Nerison and Paul Nash, whose painting of an aircraft dump in World War 2 entitled 'Totes Meer' was very poignant

Linda's last slides included a rather grotesque painting by Stanley Spencer entitled 'Double Nude' (which may have caused Margaret Thatcher to refer to him as 'that man who paints those dreadful pictures!').

Hopefully Linda Smith will return to Cranleigh DFS to show us her sequel to this interesting lecture.

Maureen Hellyer