“British Art, the Artists’ International Association and The Spanish Civil War” – references and resources (for Orpington WEA)


After our wonderful Orpington WEA meeting on Saturday 4th March, 2023 all about British art, the AIA and the Spanish Civil War, I’ve put together some resources for further research – a combination of books and online sites. It’s far from complete but I hope will be useful as a starting point!

The most immediate reference is “Conscience and Conflict: British Artists and the Spanish Civil War” by Simon Martin and Paul Preston. It’s the catalogue to an exhibition at Pallant House Gallery back in 2014 but remains in print and available. There is also information on the Pallant House website.

The Artists’ International Association book seems sadly to be out of print, but the artists we looked at briefly included:

Pearl Binder

There’s a fabulous article on her at Spitalfields Life

James Boswell

The Tate has a number of his images

Clive Branson


Gilbert Daykin

For his extraordinary depiction of miners, see the Science Museum

Cliff Rowe

Over 100 works by him are on the Art UK

and for Albert Turpin (as well as the rest of the East London Group): “Bow to Biennale” by David Buckman

and the footage I mentioned of various artists (including Nan Youngman and Priscilla Thornycroft) painting hoardings for the Send Aid to Spain campaigns can be seen via Pathe News.

Nancy Cunard‘s “Authors Take Sides” pamphlet has been digitised and is on the British Library website.

Other books of interest might include Charlotte Philby’s novel “Edith and Kim” which brings the photographer Edith Tudor Hart’s biography to life; also Sarah Watling’s new book “Tomorrow, Perhaps the Future” which is a group biography of a number of writers and activists who went to Spain. [Both are absolutely brilliant!]

For Felicia Browne‘s tragic story, there’s a great article by Fisun Guner in the Guardian;

Browne’s sketchbooks are at the Tate Archive.

We also mentioned paintings and sculptures of John Armstrong (Pro Patria, Revelations, Encounter in the Plain), Barbara Hepworth (Monument to the Spanish Civil War), Henry Moore (Spanish Prisoner), F.E. McWilliam (Spanish Head) and the teenage artist Ursula McCannell (Spanish Mother and Child).

Dora Maar‘s photographs documenting Picasso working on Guernica can be see c/o the Reina Sofia Museum and there’s an article by Fiona MacDonald on the BBC website: “The Story of a Painting that Fought Fascism”.

For a history of the Spanish Civil War, I would suggest anything by Paul Preston.

The International Brigades Memorial Trust website is definitely worth visiting too.

We also mentioned

And, finally, two documents, the first is the brochure of the Basque Children’s Aid meeting at the Royal Albert Hall:

and secondly the remarkable photograph (from the Working Class Movement Collection) of Republican soldiers looking at paintings that had been rescued from the Madrid galleries and put on show in Valencia:


About TheCommonViewer

Independent Researcher: gently exploring the art and artists of early 20th century Britain (with forays elsewhere, in particular Russian Art History); the Art, Books & History Group meets monthly in Southend-on-Sea Twitter: @TheCommonViewer

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