This England

Print
1947 (printed)
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Feliks Topolski was Polish born but from 1935 worked in London for a Polish satirical newspaper. He became official war artist and painted portraits of the Royal Family and other large-scale paintings such as one commemorating the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and 'Cavalcade of the Commonwealth' for the Festival of Britain, 1951.

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 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.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Colour lithograph
Brief Description
Colour lithograph, 'This England', Feliks Topolski, School Prints series; London, 1947
Physical Description
Colour lithograph in predominantly pinks and blues showing a lively sketched scene with Horse Guards in red wearing busbies, one on horseback, another soldier in blue on horseback and two men in top-hats and tails. Several other people are in the image, including an archbishop. In the background to the right is some sort of tent structure. To the top left is blue sky. The margin is white with two thinly drawn line borders in pink and blue.
Dimensions
  • Height: 497mm
  • Width: 760mm
Production typeLimited edition
Marks and Inscriptions
  • Printed in England at The Baynard Press for School Prints Ltd, London. (Bottom right margin)
  • Feliks Topolski (Bottom right of image, artist signature)
  • "This England" by Feliks Topolski. S.P.19. (Bottom left margin)
Credit line
Given by Frances Marks
Object history
Gift of Frances Marks, from her late father's collection
Historical context
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.
Subjects depicted
Summary
Feliks Topolski was Polish born but from 1935 worked in London for a Polish satirical newspaper. He became official war artist and painted portraits of the Royal Family and other large-scale paintings such as one commemorating the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and 'Cavalcade of the Commonwealth' for the Festival of Britain, 1951.



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 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.
Other Number
SP19 - School Prints number
Collection
Accession Number
E.253-2006

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record createdNovember 26, 2007
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