Virginia Woolf and Countess Jowitt in Boris Anrep’s “The Awakening of the Muses” [1933; National Gallery]
There was so much interest following our discussion about the mosaicist Boris Anrep on Saturday at The Beecroft that, as promised, I’ve listed a number of key references below (just click on the underlined links), and I shall continue chasing others to include. It certainly seems there is so much more for us to discover. Also, do please send me anything further you find, whether articles/images on Anrep or any other (20th-century) mosaicists – including photographs/snapshots if you espy something interesting on your travels: the mosaic really does seem to be an art that is often ‘hidden in plain sight’.
With regard to an overview of Boris Anrep’s life and career, Wikipedia is the best place to start, along with the Ben Uri Research Unit which also includes a brilliant listing of further resources.
The essay I shall try to get hold of – and which might answer lots of questions – is “Boris Anrep: A Russian artist in an English interior” by Olga Kaznina [Journal of European Studies: Volume 35, Issue 3]; I shall let you know!
To go into further detail with regard to the Second Post-Impressionist Exhibition (1912), in which Anrep curated the Russian Section, visit the Database of Modern Exhibitions which includes Anrep’s catalogue essay “The Russian Group”, and to see more about the artist who inspired Anrep’s turn to art, Dmitrii Semenovich Stelletsky, there’s a great article in the Bonhams Magazine.
Regarding Anrep’s return to Russia (WWI) and his meeting with Anna Akhmatova, there is an article on the Afisha.London website. For Anna Akhmatova’s life in full I’d suggest Elaine Feinstein’s biography “Anna of all the Russias”. The documentary/ film I flagged up by Teatro Fabrico is called “The Black Ring” which (and I’ve not watched it yet, tells the (love) story of Akhmatova and Anrep. And the apparently final images of Akhmatova made by Anrep are at Mullingar, Ireland – Finlan O’Toole’s article is from The Irish Times,
Ethel Sands’ Chelsea House / Bloomsbury
The most brilliant essay – with images of the Bloomsbury Group – regarding Anrep’s early mosaic work in the London house of Ethel Sands is by Jane Williams and can be read in the British Art Studies journal (you’ll need to log in as an Independent Researcher, which is free and will give you access to 100 articles a month).
The Lady of Fashion?
The intriguing mosaic commissioned for Sir William Jowitt at 35, Upper Brook St Mayfair that depicts Various Moments in the Life of a Lady of Fashion (1922) – that Lady being Lesley Jowitt who was shown telephoning in bed, in her bath, and at a nightclub – are apparently now at the Birmingham City Gallery; I shall contact.
Maud Russell was a great patron of the arts in the mid-20th century and supported Anrep’s work; at her house (now National Trust) there is an angel mosaic with her portrait.
Boris Anrep’s archive is in the National Art Library; the V&A has some images of preparatory sketches online.
Pierre Roy’s painting “Boris Anrep in his Studio, 65 Boulevard Arago” (1949), is at Tate.
Tate Britain – The Blake Room, which illustrates Blake’s idiosyncratic Proverbs & can of course be visited.
Bank of England mosaics – film/presentation on their Museum website.
National Gallery: see the blog post by Mike Pitts – which includes the floor plans of Anrep’s mosaics at the National Gallery with a ‘who’s who?’ should you be visiting.
According to Historic England, other sites in London with mosaics by Anrep include Westminster Cathedral, the Greek Cathedral of Agia Sophia and the Church of Notre Dame de France; I shall try to visit/ take photographs.
Anna Akhmatova by Anrep at Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar, Ireland [mid-1950s]
Other (20th century) mosaicists &c:
There is a British Association for Modern Mosaic (BAMM); the website is bamm.org.uk and Twitter: @BAMMosaic, however they seem to be more for practitioners/courses. Perhaps more relevant in terms of modern history is to keep an eye on the Twentieth Century Society pages.
Edouard Paolozzi‘s mosaics are on the platform levels of Tottenham Court Road Tube station (Central line, so you’ll need a ticket) and there are good images and a film about the 2017 restoration work at Art in the Underground.
In David Buckman’s book on the East London Group, “From Bow to Biennale”, he has a chapter about the ‘mosaic revival’ of the 1930s. Not many images sadly, but John Cooper was the leading light of the revival and one of his mosaics can be found on the floor of The Wharrie Cabmen’s Shelter, Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead (photo c/o Historic England)
Let’s keep our eyes peeled!