The British School at Rome

For two decades Liss Llewellyn has championed the work of the unsung heroes of the British School at Rome. Of particular interest are the first generation of Scholars (working in the four separate disciples of painting, sculpture, print making and architecture) who were at the School during the inter-war years.

In a wider context, our site serves as a focal point for artists who were especially influenced by Piero della Francesca.

  • James-Woodford: The-Blue-Towel,-1920s--1950s
    James Woodford: The Blue Towel, 1920's /1950's
  • Alan-Sorrell: -Part-3,-Illustration-for-The-Broken-Gates,-circa-1950
    Alan Sorrell: Part 3, Illustration for The Broken Gates, circa 1950
  • Sir-Thomas-Monnington: Design-for-the-ceiling-of-the-Mary-Harris-Memorial-Chapel,-(pale-ground)-University-of-Exeter,-1956
    Sir Thomas Monnington: Design for the ceiling of the Mary Harris Memorial Chapel, (pale ground) University of Exeter, 1956
  • Job-Nixon: Temples-of-Venus-and-Rome,-Rome-
    Job Nixon: Temples of Venus and Rome, Rome
  • Robert-Austin: Portrait-of-Noel-Edwards,-1936
    Robert Austin: Portrait of Noel Edwards, 1936
  • James-Woodford: Woman-carrying-baskets-and-pot-plants,-accompanied-by-a-dog-and-a-pram,-circa-1925
    James Woodford: Woman carrying baskets and pot plants, accompanied by a dog and a pram, circa 1925
  • Winifred-Knights: Study-for-St-Martin-altarpiece,-angel-from-the-waist-down-
    Winifred Knights: Study for St Martin altarpiece, angel from the waist down

Catalogues of Rome Scholars

Murals & Decorative Painting 1920-1960

Published: October 2013
352 pages, 130 colour illustrations
ISBN: 978-1-908326-23

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

This book is illustrated with a series of specially commissioned photographs that record some of the least known but most remarkable mural cycles in Great Britain. In the vast majority of cases these works have previously only been reproduced in black and white if at all. … Today murals are rarely seen as the artist intended. Often they are partially obscured, especially where there has been a change of building use. Frequently works are completely covered up or painted over – examples include murals by Mary Sargent Florence, Mary Adshead, Eric Ravilious, Dora Carrington, William Roberts and Gilbert Spencer. Where murals survive they are more often than not displaced works. Historic photographs showing John Piper’s The Englishman’s Home at The Festival of Britain, in situ on the river side of the Homes and Gardens Pavilion on Belvedere Road, come as a revelation; a digital reconstruction of Frank Brangwyn’s Empire panels for The House of Lords, seen in situ as they were originally intended, gives a dramatically more favourable impression than their final installation in The Brangwyn Hall, Swansea.

Alan Sorrell - The Life and Works of an English Neo-Romantic Artist

Published: September 2013
208 pages, over 150 illustrations
ISBN: 978-1-908326-37

Chosen one of the best art books of 2013 by Brian Sewell Nominated for the William MB Berger Prize for British Art History.

It is particularly fitting that this book should be published to coincide with the Sir John Soane’s Museum’s aptly titled exhibition: ‘Alan Sorrell – A Life Reconstructed’. This makes it possible at last to assess the full range of Sorrell’s work and the underlying poetic vision that runs through it. Comprising a series of essays the book sets out to chart Sorrell’s life and achievements, as well as illustrating the range and diversity of his talents, most works having never previously been reproduced. … Alan Sorrell (1904-1974) attended the Royal College of Art in the mid-1920s during a period which saw the emergence of talents such as Edward Bawden, Eric Ravilious, John Piper, Henry Moore and Barnett Freedman. This book demonstrates that though Sorrell’s work has been less well documented his talent was comparable to that of artists more usually associated with the RCA’s formidable reputation during the interwar years.

Murals & Decorative Painting 1910-1970

Published: February 2013
128 pages 114 illustrations
ISBN: 978-0-9567139-6

The murals that were produced in this country in the twentieth century remain as one of the great inventive achievements in modern British art. Highly original in their approach to design, balancing varying degrees of modernity or tradition, they demonstrate the creative drive of their makers and contain singular expressions of the aesthetic, personal and social concerns that typify the ages from which they come. Some are celebrations of simple human pleasures, perhaps to decorate a refreshment room, an ocean liner or a dining room. Others are intended to be the highest expressions of their art, ambitious allegorical or decorative compositions that like the frescoes of the Renaissance would speak through the ages to later generations. The individuals and committees who commissioned them similarly believed they would both represent the best that Britain had to offer and mark the high accomplishment of contemporary society, elevating the public and private spaces they occupied and inspiring moral purpose.

Stanley Lewis

Published: 2010
176 pages +140 illustrations
ISBN: 978-0-9930884-3

Stanley Lewis (1905-2009) was reluctant to sell his art during his life-time. He kept all his major works. He later gave some to museums. He turned down offers from galleries, preferring to work without constraints, choosing to eam a much needed regular income through teaching (over 10 years at Newport School of Art and 22 years as Principal of Carmarthen School of Art). His work is highly distinctive and he remained faithful throughout his life to a graphic and stylised manner developed early on in his career. Perhaps the most enduring aspect of his legacy is the remarkable cycle of paintings exhibited at the Royal Academy celebrating Welsh subjects: The Welsh Dresser, The Welsh Mole Catcher and The Welsh Farmer. Stanley also strongly identified with the land: on the one hand his calling to art was a vocation; on the other his approach was disarmingly unpretentious.

Robert Austin

Published: 2002
48 pages +65 illustrations

Printmaker and draughtsman, Robert Austin was born in Leicester. He studied at the School of Art there and at the Royal College of Art, 1914-16 and 1919-22, winning the Rome Scholarship for engraving in the latter year. He taught engraving at the Royal College of Art, 1927-44, becoming Professor in the Department of Graphic Design, 1948-55. He showed with RWS, of which he was a member and President; RE, of which he was a member; and the RA, to which he was elected in 1949. Austin was a meticulous craftsman-engraver and a vigorous draughtsman, as his series of drawings of Women's Auxiliary Air Force and ballooning activities done during World War II shows. The Tate Gallery holds his work.

Thomas Monnington

Published: 1997
64 pages 43 illustrations

Lawrence Gowing describes Monnington as a compositional master in the tradition of the great Tuscan and Umbrian fresco painters and quotes lohn Lessore, former pupil, as saying: 'If anyone ever understood composition, he did, and so drawing, the volume and movement of which he explained geometrically, not in terms of measurement and surface realism: the appearance was always subordinate to the underlying structure ... Every pencil mark tells us a bit more about this unique character, the extraordinary originality of his mind, every period of his life – the Slade. Italy, the early portraits and murals (House of Commons. Bank of England). the ceilings. the Stations of the Cross, the abstracts, every period makes its own contribution. Only in this way can we grasp the size of his mind and how it evolved and absorbed such an astonishing range of experience, art and life, all perfectly connected and related.’

Winifred Knights

Published: 1995
60 pages 49 illustrations

Winifred Knights exhibited her work with reluctance, and a retrospective exhibition of her major paintings would total seven in number. She worked inordinately slowly, with consummate care: nothing in her work was left to chance, everything was prepared and thought out. Her reluctance to exhibit was not related to strong self-criticism, indeed the opposite would be true: her son John remembers her total confidence in her work. She attended the Slade School of Art, London, from October 1915 to July 197, when she won the Second Prize for Figure Drawing. During this period she began to be recognised as an outstanding draughtswoman. In 1920 became the first woman to win the prestigious Prix de Rome.

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