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Holiday

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    London (printed)

  • Date:

    1947 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Tunnard, John, born 1900 - died 1971 (artist)
    Baynard Press (printer)
    School Prints Ltd. (commissioned by)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour lithograph

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Frances Marks

  • Museum number:

    E.240-2006

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case MB2G, shelf DR112, box MP343

There is something celebratory about the figures in this image, which evoke a sense of flags, banners or even people playing ball on a sea-shore. John Tunnard turned to abstract painting, after initially painting farm or coastal scenes, around 1934. Influenced first by Miro and Ben Nicholson, by 1940 his work also showed his interest in the natural world. When a coastguard during the 1939-45 war Tunnard also produced oil and gouache paintings which evoked sea or cliff scenes.

Set up in 1945 by Brenda Rawnsley, the School Prints scheme commissioned well-known artists to create lithographs, which would then be printed in large numbers and sold cheaply to schools for display in classrooms; the aim was to give 'school children an understanding of contemporary art'. Each lithograph had a drawn frame so that the print could be pinned to the wall. In the spirit of post-war optimism, artists responded enthusiastically. The scheme was a unique attempt at giving children access to original works of art in a period of austerity but ended in 1949 because of financial problems. Many of the prints depict a familiar world of everyday rural or urban life, some presenting a version of the pastoral idyll and others scenes of entertainment or leisure.

Physical description

Colour lithograph with a abstract shapes against a background representing the edge of the sea. This seems to represent a beach, pier or grassy outcrop, with greenish-brown sand, grass or paving in the foreground leading to the sea in a kind of arc; blue waves can be seen at either side in the background and an expanse of grey-blue sky with full sun, which appears white with blue and pink highlights. Abstract shapes in white, blue, red, orange, pink and yellow are suspended in the air or sit on the ground; attached to a cross-shaped flagpole are streamers in the same colours. The border is pale green with printed double line, and there is a narrower darker green edge.

Place of Origin

London (printed)

Date

1947 (printed)

Artist/maker

Tunnard, John, born 1900 - died 1971 (artist)
Baynard Press (printer)
School Prints Ltd. (commissioned by)

Materials and Techniques

Colour lithograph

Marks and inscriptions

"Holiday" by John Tunnard. S.P.18.
Bottom left margin

Printed in England at The Baynard Press for School Prints Ltd, London.
Bottom right margin

John Tunnard, 47.
Bottom right of image, artist signature

Dimensions

Height: 497 mm, Width: 760 mm

Object history note

Gift of Frances Marks, from her late father's collection

Historical context note

School Prints series was published in the 1940s. The idea behind the series was to commission established artists to create lithographs which could be editioned in very large numbers and sold cheaply to schools, for display in corridors, classrooms and assembly halls. The pupils would enjoy direct contact with new works of art. The entrepreneur, Mrs Brenda Rawnsley, wrote: 'We are producing a series of auto-lithographs, four for each term, for use in schools, as a means of giving school children an understanding of contemporary art.'

In the spirit of post-war optimism, the artists responded enthusiastically, and submitted sketches to the selection committee, chaired by Herbert Read, which included influential R.R. Tomlinson, London County Council Senior Inspector of Art. Many of the prints depict a familiar world of everyday rural or urban life, some presenting a version of the pastoral idyll (John Nash 'Harvesting') and others scenes of festivity (Barbara Jones 'Fairground'), entertainment (L.S. Lowry 'Punch and Judy') or leisure (John Tunnard's surrealist 'Holiday'). Each lithograph had a drawn frame around the image so that the print could be pinned to the wall.

Descriptive line

Colour lithograph, 'Holiday', John Tunnard, School Prints series; London, 1947

Materials

Ink; Paper

Techniques

Lithography

Subjects depicted

Sea; Flag-poles; Sun; Streamers

Categories

Prints

Production Type

Limited edition

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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