London Group Archivist David Redfern LG takes us on a historical tour of the ‘look’ of The London Group.
The history of The London Group can be read from many sources, but by far the most stimulating is reading exhibition catalogues which were printed to accompany most of the Group’s exhibitions. The information contained therein is invaluable, names of participating artists, titles of works, dates, prices, dimensions but not least the catalogue covers which display the prevailing graphic taste of the time and which were quite often designed “in house” by a London Group member; in particular, current member Jane Humphrey who has designed many of the Group’s recent catalogues. Given that the Group has just refreshed its brand and logo it is timely to look back at catalogue covers from the past and to relish their, sometimes quirky, appeal.
Newsletter catalogue covers
The London Group president at the time is indicated in italics
With immaculate timing the enlarged Camden Town Group, renamed The London Group, holds its first exhibition a few months before the planet’s first world war. The planet and the group survived.
Membership numbers were declining and so officers decided to organise a major retrospective in order to recruit more members, which proved to be successful.
It would appear that there was some confusion as to whether this was the Group’s thirty-seventh or thirty-eighth exhibition, but then again, there was a war on.
The poor quality and A5 size of paper is testimony to the scarcity of materials at the end of the Second World War.
This was the year of the Festival of Britain and The London Group played its part in the celebrations by organising two massive open submission exhibitions.
The Group did not only show in London. Here a selection of works from the 1954 Members’ Exhibition was toured to Southampton.
A major retrospective of the first fifty years of The London Group at the capital’s most auspicious contemporary art gallery.
These capacious exhibition galleries were situated opposite the Royal Academy on Piccadilly. Sculptures of famous historic artists can still be seen on the façade of the building.
The London Group’s first woman president, Dorothy Mead; sadly she died in 1975. Mead had close links with David Bomberg and the Borough Group.
The current president, Neville Boden, had links with the organisers of this well-known and respected art institution.
The well-appointed gallery at the RCA was offered for hire as a number of London Group members taught at the College and got a good deal.
The Group was never one to let an anniversary go unmarked.
The selection committee of Robin Klassnik, Angela Flowers, Jenni Lomax and Louisa Buck was chaired by president Philippa Beale.
The Lethaby Gallery was situated deep within the warren of the old Southampton Way building, hired by the Group during the academic summer recess.
Seventy-one out of a total of ninety members took part in this exhibition. Total costs for hiring the Bankside Gallery and other expenses came to £7,533.72. The Group recently showed here again in November 2022.
This was the first annual exhibition at The Cello Factory, for many years thereafter the Group’s happy home.
One hundred years since the Group’s formation in November 1913 a major celebration is held at The Cello Factory, so big it had to be shown in two parts.
The London Group returned to Southampton in an ambitious exhibition showing past London Group members’ work from the gallery’s permanent collection alongside current members. Bomberg and Rego were both members of The London Group.
David Redfern LG, 2022
The historical London Group catalogues display celebrating the Group’s extraordinary 109-year history, curated by David Redfern LG as part of our 2022 Annual Exhibition at Bankside.