A Crisis of Brilliance, 1908-1923: Nash, Nevinson, Spencer, Gertler, Carrington, Bomberg

ISBN: 9781857598186
Artist(s): Various
Author(s): David Boyd Haycock, Frances Spalding, Alexandra Harris
Format: paperback
Year published: June 2013
Publisher: Scala
Publisher Location: London
Total Pages: 176
Illustrations: Includes 110 colour illustrations

Artist(s) Biographies:

Author(s) Biographies:


1 available


  • Illustrated follow-up to the author David Boyd Haycock’s first book on the subject, a group biography, A Crisis of Brilliance, which was published to much acclaim in 2009
  • Includes contributions by Frances Spalding, the leading art historian and biographer of the Bloomsbury Group, and by Alexandra Harris, whose Romantic Moderns won the Guardian First Book award in 2010
  • Accompanies an exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery, curated by the author, which opens in June 2013

David Bomberg, Dora Carrington, Mark Gertler, Paul Nash, C.R.W. Nevinson and Stanley Spencer – six of the most important and distinctive British artists of the twentieth century – had all been students together at the Slade School of Art in London. They formed part of what their drawing teacher, Henry Tonks, described as the school’s last ‘crisis of brilliance’. For young British artists working in the years immediately before the Great War it was an exciting and demanding time as various Modernist movements fought for precedence: Primitivism, Futurism, Cubism, Vorticism and Expressionism. Each of the six artists found their own distinctive response.

David Boyd Haycock’s group biography, A Crisis of Brilliance, was published to much acclaim in 2009. Jenny Uglow wrote in her review in the Guardian, ‘We should call for a joint exhibition of [their] work, to complement the moving portrayal of their lives in this engrossing and enjoyable book.’

This book marks the fulfilment of that wish. It features Haycock’s selection of 70 works, ranging from their early student drawings, watercolours and oil paintings, to the first great mature works that they made during and immediately after the Great War of 1914-18.


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