Archives & Library

The Leicester Galleries and its Exhibition Catalogues

The Leicester Galleries was a commercial art gallery that operated in central London between 1902 and 1977. It was particularly known for exhibiting British and French artists’ work and for promoting the work of leading modernist painters and sculptors. The Centre’s Library holds one-third of the gallery’s entire output of 1,400 exhibition catalogues, donated by Peter and Renate Nahum in January 2020. The collection is fully catalogued and available for research. This spotlight feature highlights some of the key artists and themes promoted by the gallery and illustrates some of the catalogues in the Library’s holdings.

Caricature

Caricature was another popular strand in this period. There were exhibitions of the work of Thomas Rowlandson in 1903 (10) and Phil May in 1903 (9), 1908 (98), and 1912 (171). In 1911, the gallery began a lifelong exclusive relationship with Max Beerbohm that led to ten exhibitions, the catalogues for seven of which are in the collection, ending with a memorial exhibition in 1957 (1117).

“Society in Late Victorian Days” was an exhibition of the work of caricaturist George du Maurier held in 1910 (128). It was accompanied by a substantial sixty-page catalogue, one of the few illustrated at this time, that included caricatures and their accompanying text.