As I’m lucky enough to live on Brook Green in West London and I’ve been interested in the artistic history of the area, I was very pleased to discover that an exhibition focussing on Brook Green Artists 1890-1940 would be on show at the local Hammersmith Library.
the exhibition organiser, local resident Gilia Slocock explained her motivation behind the exhibition –
The idea that Brook Green was home to a number of artists and designers at different times, many of whom must have known each other, is a really fascinating one, and one I’ve long been meaning to research further myself. There are other parts of London (such as Holland Park, or Camden) which are better known as artists’ enclaves, but this area was home to a thriving artistic community too.
When I spoke to Gilia at the exhibition, she said that she decided to see her idea through when she was walking around on Cork Street and saw that there was a Cyril Power print in the window of the Redfern Gallery and so she was inspired by seeing that there is interest in Brook Green artists
The exhibition displays prints of work by artists Cyril Power, Sybil Andrews, Leon Underwood and work by Silver Studio. Silver Studio was located at number 84 Brook Green, just a few doors down from where I live and there is a blue plaque up on the wall of the building stating: THE SILVER STUDIO Established here in 1880 ARTHUR SILVER 1853-1896 REX SILVER 1879-1965 HARRY SILVER 1881-1971 Designers lived here.
Silver Studio was an important textile design studio in the UK from 1880 until the middle of the twentieth century. Founded by Arthur Silver, the studio designed some of the most famous fabric, wallpaper, carpet and metalwork designs for companies such as Liberty’s, Turnbull and Stockdale, Sanderson and Warner and Sons Ltd. Below you can see a selection of the Hero design which was designed by Arthur Silver in 1895. It was then sold to Liberty’s of Regent Street who still use it today! These four colourways are for furnishings fabric.
In 1901 Silver’s son Reginald (Rex) Silver took over the studio and ran it until 1963. At its most productive, the studio created more than 800 designs per year. The studio was renowned for its distinctive Art Nouveau style, although over the years they produced a wide variety of different designs and styles, including many of the famous “Liberty”-styles. The Silver Studio collection is now housed at Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (MODA) Middlesex University.
My favourite images from the exhibition are those from the 1930s that depict movement, ranging from tube trains and escalators to dancers and skaters. I was reminded of the portrayals of dynamism by Italian Futurists in the early 1900s such as Umberto Boccioni and Carlo Carrà which I love and enjoy encountering at the Estorick Collection in North London.
I really enjoyed seeing more Silver Studio designs and felt that the artistic feel of the Brook Green neighbourhood came to life in this exhibition.
There are a couple of days left to see the exhibition at Hammersmith Library which I highly recommend
- Friday, July 5 – 11am to 4.30pm
- Saturday, July 6 – 11am to 4.30pm