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A Diamond Jubilee Exhibition, celebrating the post-war revival in British art

— February 2012

Associated media

Keith Vaughan, detail of ‘Theseus’ (final study for the Dome of Discovery at The Festival of Britain), c.1950. © The Estate of Keith Vaughan

This spring at The Lightbox gallery and museum in Woking, ‘The Ingram Collection: A Diamond Jubilee Exhibition’(6 March – 15 April) will celebrate HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee by exploring the significant advances in modern British art during the 1950s, when the Queen came to the throne.

The exhibition will illustrate how a combination of events in the 1950s increased the status of British artists and led to one of the most significant periods in modern British art. Director of The Lightbox, Marilyn Scott comments ‘This is a hugely topical exhibition, examining the new flowering in British Art, which ran alongside The Festival of Britain and the huge excitement engendered by Her Majesty The Queen’s accession to the throne in 1952’.

The Ingram collection includes work by  Reg Butler, Lynn Chadwick, Eduardo Paolozzi, Dame Elisabeth Frink, Barbara Hepworth,  Bridget Riley, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Terry Frost, Eric Ravilious and Patrick Heron.

Breakthroughs in modern British art

Following the devastation and unrest of the war years, the Festival of Britain in 1951 was a welcomed opportunity to celebrate the best of British art, design and technology, raising awareness not only within Britain but also on an international level. Keith Vaughan was commissioned to paint the central mural for the Dome of Discovery. A large-scale study, Theseus, the only full oil study in existence, will feature in the exhibition. Explorers can be seen landing on new territory, the central figure holding up a beacon that spreads light across the land, reflecting the optimism of the time. In 1952 the World’s eyes once again turned to Britain as the Queen ascended to the throne. At the same time a group of young British sculptors were also attracting international attention at the Venice Biennale. ‘New Aspects of British Sculpture’captivated international audiences and further raised the profile of British art.

1952 also marked the initial meeting of the Independent Group;a revolutionary group who challenged approaches to modern culture. Artists including Sir Eduardo Paolozzi and Richard Hamilton were among the group who are credited with initiating the Pop art movement and whose ideas and work were instrumental to the direction of British art in the 1950s and ’60s.

The Ingram Collection

The exhibition is drawn from the Ingram Collection, an outstanding private collection of modern British Art on loan to The Lightbox from Chris Ingram, a media entrepreneur. The collection, which is over 350 pieces strong, represents an exemplary showcase of some of the finest examples of works by British artists, with particular reference to the post‐war period.

The exhibition will be on show at The Lightbox gallery and museum in Woking from 6 March until 15 April and entrance is free of charge (donations welcome).


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