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Modernism on Sea

Art and Culture at the British Seaside


Edited By Lara Feigel and Alexandra Harris

Modernism on Sea brings together writing by some of today’s most exciting seaside critics, curators, filmmakers and scholars, and takes the reader on a journey around the coast of Britain to explore the rich artistic and cultural heritage that can be found there, from St Ives to Scarborough. The authors consider avant-garde art, architecture, film, literature and music, from the early twentieth century to the present, setting the arrival of modernism against the background of seaside tradition.
From the cheeky postcards marvelled at by George Orwell to austere modernist buildings such as the De La Warr Pavilion; from the Camden Town Group’s sojourn in Brighton to John Piper’s ‘Nautical Style’; from Paul Nash’s surrealist benches on the promenade in Swanage to the influence of bunting and deckchairs on the Festival of Britain – Modernism on Sea is a sweeping tour de force which pays tribute to the role of the seaside in shaping British modernism.


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List of Illustrations xi


Illustrations Frontispiece: Paul Nash, Atlantic Voyage, 1931, photograph, Government Art Collection. © Crown copyright: UK Government Art Collection / estate of Paul Nash. Plates 1. De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex. Railway publicity poster, late 1930s. Courtesy of the Society of Bexhill Museums. 2. Walter Sickert, Brighton Pierrots, 1915, oil on canvas. © Tate and estate of Walter Sickert. 3. John Piper, The Harbour at Night, 1933, oil and collage. Private collection. Courtesy estate of John Piper. 4. John Piper, Harbour Scene, Newhaven, 1936–7. Ink, gouache and collage. Courtesy estate of John Piper. Photograph courtesy of Pyms Gallery, London. 5. Postcard, inter-war. From the collection of Fred Gray. 6. Festival Promenade, colour lithograph by Herbert Williams, 1951. Paul and Karen Rennie Collection. 7. Derek Jarman’s Garden at Prospect Cottage. Photograph: Nic Hamilton / Alamy. 8. Paul Nash, Swanage, 1936, pencil, watercolour and photo-collage. Tate Archive. Courtesy of Tate and estate of Paul Nash. 9. Paul Nash, Event on the Downs, 1934, oil on canvas, Government Art Collection. © Crown copyright: UK Government Art Collection / estate of Paul Nash. 10. John Piper, Foreshore with Boats, South Coast, 1933, oil and collage on canvas. Private collection. xii Illustrations Figures 1. De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex. Photograph by Bridget Smith, courtesy of Bridget Smith, the Frith Street Gallery and the De La Warr Pavilion, 2. Stills from Maurice Elvey, Hindle Wakes, 1927, courtesy of the British Film Institute. Working calves; dancing calves; chorus girls. 3. Still from Maurice Elvey, Hindle Wakes, 1927,...

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