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.

The War in Art

Even though, according to Oliver Brown, visitors seemed content to view images of English landscape during the First World War, the gallery tried to show works associated with the war where possible.

In 1915 and 1916, they put on exhibitions of the work of the American artist Joseph Pennell. The first included drawings and lithographs of London in War-Time (209), the catalogue for which was not illustrated. In Germany at Work (224), images of German industry at the outbreak of war were exhibited. In the catalogue, Pennell comments that he was forbidden to continue working there after war broke out. Each image listed has a brief and often amusing caption.