Revisiting Modern British Art
Revisiting Modern British Art is a wide-ranging and thought-provoking publication presenting new perspectives on established narratives on the widely covered subject of modern art in Britain from the early 20th-century through to the present day. Featuring contributions from various experts, the texts reassess subjects such as Surrealism, the rise of private patronage, and nationality, illustrated heavily throughout.
The design of the book plays on the British tradition, pulling on a host of historical references that often include international input. From the journals, The Critereon*, Horizon† and Typographica‡, the many works of Herbert Reed, the influential group catalogue, Circle, and a variety of publications illustrated by the likes of Vanessa Bell, Ben Nicholson, Edward Bawden and John Piper.
210 × 260 mm
Thorowgood Grotesque, Burgess
The book is split into two sections, highlighted through the use of a bold colour dividing page, titled ‘MOMENTS’ or ‘STRUCTURE’ in a heavy weight of the recently revived Thorowgood Grotesque, one of the earliest sans serif designs to be commercially available in Britain.
Each essay starts with a divergent layout to the rest of the book, a single column of text with a large all-caps title that draws attention to the beginning of a new chapter. Before continuing with a double-column layout that gives opportunities for artwork to integrate into the text where they are mentioned.
Imagery is often pulled out from text pages and enlarged. Positioned to draw attention to relationships between works and sized to indicate their scale in comparison to each other.
The publication is primarily set in the serif typeface, Burgess, by Colophon Foundry. An idiosyncratic and subjective reinterpretation of midcentury Times New Roman, using the more decorative bold weights as a starting point, which gives the lighter text weight a higher level of contrast between line weights than is usually expected. A contemporary interpretation of the almost ubiquitous work of Stanley Morrison, who first created this type style in 1931.
* The Criterion was a British literary magazine published from October 1922 to January 1939, dedicated to the maintenance of standards and the reunification of a European intellectual community. It was, for most of its run, a quarterly journal, although for a period in 1927–28 it was published monthly. It was created by the poet, dramatist, and literary critic T. S. Eliot who served as its editor for its entire run. It included contributions from many influential writers, such as Luigi Pirandello, Virginia Woolf, Ezra Pound, E. M. Forster, and W. B. Yeats.
† Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art was a literary magazine published in London, UK, between 1939 and 1950. Published every four weeks, it was edited by Cyril Connolly, who made it into a platform for a wide range of distinguished and emerging writers. Connolly founded Horizon after T. S. Eliot ended The Criterion in January 1939, with Peter Watson as its financial backer and de facto art editor, and Stephen Spender as an uncredited associate editor until early 1941. It made a significant impact on the arts during and just after the war, featuring special issues dedicated to Irish, Swiss, and American art.
‡ Typographica was a visual arts magazines published by Lund Humphries in two series from 1949 to 1967. The brainchild of a 25-year-old typographer, Herbert Spencer (1924–2002), it was unusual not only for the originality of its editorial vision and its exceptional production values, but also for its longevity, especially since it was never expected to make a profit. The magazine featured contributors from both Britain and abroad, exploring the international and domestic arts scenes.