• Search Icon
  • Toggle Menu
  • Close Menu

The Art

Search for information about all the works of art and craft we have donated to museums

The London Group







Not for Profit Society / Public Sector Organisation


View website


The London Group was formed by an amalgamation of the Camden Town Group and the English Cubists (later Vorticists) in 1913. This grouping of radical young artists came together as a reaction to the stranglehold which the Royal Academy had on exhibiting new work. Founder members included Spencer Gore, Percy Wyndham Lewis, Walter Sickert and Jacob Epstein. The London Group decided on a written constitution and a number of officers to run the Group's affairs. Members were to be elected to the Group based on a democratic election. A Working Party was set up to organise The London Group's exhibitions which were to revitalise contemporary visual art, bringing in new European developments in painting and sculpture, especially from France. Artists exhibited their own choice of work. The London Group made no judgemental decisions on members' work, a tradition proudly defended to this day.

The beginning of the First World War and the early death of the first President, Harold Gilman, were inauspicious moments for the new group, yet it survived and, in the Twenties, developed into a progressive and critically acclaimed venue for contemporary artists. Roger Fry and the Bloomsbury set were extremely influential in the Group during this decade. 

The London Group held exhibitions at The Mansard Gallery (Heal's), London between 1917-24 and the forewords were written by John Maynard Keynes (1988-1946)

The Thirties saw a greater diversity of activity. There was a healthy exchange between the more objective Cézanne salon and the Surrealists, for example. Again, the Group survived another World War, managing to mount exhibitions throughout the early Forties.

As Europe healed its wounds The London Group was to enter into a golden period in the 50's and early 60's. There were regular, affordable venues to hold annual exhibitions, large enough to offer space for every member to show more than one work and to invite non-members through open submission. The highlight of this period was The London Group Jubilee Exhibition held at the Tate Gallery in 1964.

In the 1970s The London Group became the major vehicle for young artists emerging from art school in the way the Young Contemporaries was for art students. It held major open exhibitions across London including the Royal College of Art, The South London Art Gallery and Camden Art Centre. The nature of contemporary visual art and its consumption began to change and diversify and this change was reflected in the membership and exhibition strategies of the Group. The last large 'open show' was launched by Lord Gowrie, the then Minister for the Arts, and was also The London Group's 80th Anniversary Exhibition, held at the Concourse Gallery, Barbican in 1993. The 90th Anniversary Exhibition in Cork Street saw the launch of The London Group website and a commemorative yearbook published in 2003.

At present The London Group has more members than at any point in its history and continues to function without style or dogma, being the only democratically run group which survives into the 21st century. It has recently reintroduced the open submission exhibition and diversified into small group exhibitions for all its members.

David Redfern (2013)


You Might Also Like