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Private & Public: Finding the Modern British Garden

Liss Llewellyn’s Gallery Manager, George Richards, delivers an exclusive talk that focusses on some of the key themes of our 2023 exhibition, Private & Public: Finding the Modern British Garden, focusing particularly on the ‘public’ aspect of this exhibition, and the rise of urban garden painting during the Edwardian and Interwar periods.   

The talk explores the work of artists from the Camden Town Group – who recorded the scabrous façades and shabby gardens of the City – before charting the surge in images of public recreation, as artists painted pleasure parks and funfairs, and sought to capture these fresh, modern experiences.    

From here, the discussion considers these urban views amidst the popularity of flâneuse novels such as Virginia Woolf ’s Mrs Dalloway (first published in 1925), and the vogue for ‘street haunting’, as Woolf referred to it, could be said to have found its pictorial form during this period, as works in the exhibition reveal a number of artists’ delight in painting quirky facades, secret courtyards, unexpected green spaces and ordered, historic squares.  These authors championed a new way of seeing and valuing urban and suburban space, and many artists appear to have answered this call, creating a slew of marvellous, somewhat off-kilter metropolitan scenes.