• 27 Jan 2017

Our latest Drawing Room Display 'The Price of War' is the first to just use items from a single archive collection but showcase items from across the different Paul Mellon Centre archive collection. The use of items from a variety of archives allowed for a more diverse and comprehensive look at the elements which affected the art world during World War II, elements such as the destruction and exhibition of art during this time.

The items on display range from a photograph from the Tate Photographic Archive (and the only known image) of Richard Wilson's The Destruction of Niobe's Children which belonged to the National Gallery was completely destroyed by enemy action in 1944 to a letter from the W. G. Constable Archive that art historian Constable wrote to his publisher Herbert Read in 1939 asking 'What are we to do about Wilson?', who was the subject of Constable's research when war began.

Also included in the display is a copy of This man: a sequence of wood-engravings by Elizabeth Rivers, one of the few known copies in existence. Taken from the Peter & Renate Nahum collection held here at the Centre, This man  was the first book to be illustrated by Irish artist Elizabeth Rivers. Published in 1939 by Guyon House Press it is likely that most copies and all of the illustration blocks for the book were lost during enemy action on the Press in 1940 making copies of this publication extremely rare. Rivers' was seemingly affected by the war as her later work becamse darker and more stylised, just one example of the effects of war on many artists from this period. Alongside this publication being on display, an electronic tablet is also set up in the Drawing Room with This man fully digitised

The display will be held in the Drawing Room and available to view for free during the Centre’s opening hours: 10am – 5pm Monday to Friday, from 16 January to 28 April 2017.

Read further:
'A Rare Treasure' - Frankie Drummond Charig's report of acquiring This man 

Associated event:
Concealment & Deception: The Art of the Camoufleurs of Leamington Spa, 1939-1945
Research Lunch
Paul Mellon Centre
3rd March 2017 | 12.30-2.30pm
Chloe Johnson and Jeff Watkin, from Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum, discuss the group of 230 artists and designers who made a secret contribution in World War 2 by creating camouflage schemes to conceal possible targets.
The seminar will also include a free tour of 'The Price of War' display.

PMC Recommends: 
Perspectives of Destruction: Images of London, 1940-44 
Museum of London
27 January-8 May
A free exhibition which explores the way artists and photographers responded to the bombings of London during the Second World War. Works by Graham Sutherland, John Piper and Bill Brandt are included amongst others.