The Working Artist by Theresa Kneppers

Many of the artists in the Borough Group had to supplement their income by having various jobs alongside their artistic work. Cliff Holden worked as a designer and silkscreen printer,  Edna Mann, Miles Richmond, and Dorothy Mead all taught at various points throughout their lives. Mead also worked as an animator. 

Throughout the 1960's and 70's Dorothy Mead held teaching positions at Morley College and Goldsmiths College

At Morley College, she taught from 1963-65 and again from 1973-75. Under the title "Painting", her classes encouraged the use of different media but the focus was still on oil painting from life. 

She also worked on animation projects such as "Polygamous Polonius", directed by Bob Godfrey. The film is available to watch on the BFI platform

Godfrey's career as an animator spanned more than fifty years and counts several popular children's cartoons. 

He was nominated for the Academy Awards multiple times and won for the short animation film "Great" from 1975. 

 Dorothy Mead, photograph by Bryan Long, courtesy of Val and Bryan Long

Dorothy Mead, photograph by Bryan Long, courtesy of Val and Bryan Long

Research about the Open Air Exhibition of Paintings in 1948 by Theresa Kneppers

In 1948, the Victoria Embankment Gardens where the site of an “Open Air Exhibition of Paintings”. The exhibition was organised by the London County Council.

The intent was to allow student and amateur painters to exhibit and sell their paintings. This was to help student painters find work after finishing their education. Similar exhibitions in New York inspired the exhibition.

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Research: Borough Group and Art in Public Spaces by Theresa Kneppers

Borough Group Outdoor Exhibition.JPG

In 1948, members of the Borough Road group exhibited paintings and drawings at an open air exhibition at the Victoria Embankment Gardens. This was covered by the South London Press.

The Open Air Exhibition of Paintings was organised by the London County Council and the intention was for amateur and student painters to exhibit and sell their works. Alongside the painting exhibition, an Open Air Sculpture Exhibition was organised in Battersea Park with commissioned artists.

The idea of having works of art was a part of a Labour policy to make art accessible and to move art into easily accessed spaces, such as public parks. The focus was on the sculpture exhibitions.

Today, the practice of exhibiting paintings outside might bring associations with paintings sold to tourists on holiday.

To have paintings exhibited in a park in London would be uncommon. Using public spaces for art is an interesting idea beyond cultural regeneration and sculptures put up by developers to ‘brighten up’ areas in need of regeneration.

In today’s London, many public spaces and parks are privately owned, potentially restricting the public’s access to and use of the space. These semi-public spaces are known as privately owned public spaces (POPS) and are usually monitored by security firms.

Could an outdoor painting exhibition work in today’s London? Would it be relevant?

Eyres, Patrick; Russell, Fiona. (2006) Sculpture and the Garden; Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.; pp. 139


The Making of an Englishman Fred Uhlman, a Retrospective by Theresa Kneppers


PhD student Nicola Baird has co-curated with Rebecca Lodge the show The Making of an Englishman opening today at Burgh House:

Supported by Arts Council England, The Making of an Englishman is the first UK retrospective of Uhlman’s work in 50 years and the first exhibition of the artist’s work in Hampstead, where he lived for many years and was so influential in establishing a refugee community. The exhibition brings together paintings and drawings dating from 1928 to 1971, most notably a selection of early Mediterranean scenes, a number of drawings executed whilst in internment on the Isle of Man during the Second World War, loaned from the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, and the Welsh landscapes for which he became well known. The exhibition will also include previously unseen archival material and objects of personal collection including a number of items from Uhlman’s seventy-two-piece collection of African sculpture, the majority of which is now on permanent display at the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle, as well as representations of the artist by celebrated Dadaist, Kurt Schwitters, fellow Hampstead resident, Milein Cosman, Polish-Jewish painter and printmaker, Jankel Adler and sculptress of luminaries, Karin Jonzen.

Wednesday 24 January – Sunday 27 May

Burgh House & Hampstead Museum
Burgh House
New End Square
NW3 1LT