Stanley Spencer, Paul Nash, Mark Gertler, Richard Nevinson and Dora Carrington were five of the most exciting, influential and innovative British artists of the twentieth century. From diverse backgrounds, they met in the years before the Great War as students in London at the Slade School of Art, where they formed part of what their teacher, Henry Tonks, described as the school’s last ‘crisis of brilliance’.
Using letters, memoirs and biographies, the author and curator of A Crisis of Brilliance recreates in intimate detail the formative years of these supremely gifted and committed painters. Click here to view a u-tube video clip. It is the story of individual artists and their times – from Sufragettes to the Great War. It is an exploration of artistic ambition, struggle and success; and of lives linked by close friendships, fierce rivalries and love.
They became Futurists, Vorticists and ‘Bloomsberries’, and befriended the leading writers and intellectuals of the time, from Virginia Woolf and Rupert Brooke to D.H. Lawrence and Katherine Mansfield. They and their Bohemian colleagues led the way in fashion with their avant garde clothes and haircuts; they slept with their models and with prostitutes; their tempestuous love affairs descended into obsession, murder and suicide. And as Europe plunged into the madness of the ‘War to end Wars’, they responded to its horror with all the passion and genius they could muster.
David Boyd Haycock is the author of Paul Nash, William Stukeley, Mortal Coil and A Crisis of Brilliance: Five Young British Artists and the Great War. He has held research fellowships at Wolfson College, Oxford, the University of New South Wales, The Center for Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Studies, UCLA, and the London School of Economics. For almost two years he was a curator at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.