Roaring Twenties: Art, Design and High Society

Roaring Twenties: Art, Design and High Society

Date: Thursday 1 November  - 2pm

Speaker: Jo Banham

Like its name, the Roaring Twenties was a loud and boisterous decade, marked by novelty, modernity and huge social, technological, and economic change. Following the dark days of the Great War, it spawned a generation of wealthy and privileged Bright Young Things who were determined to shock and who broke with the conventions of the past to pursue a life of hedonism and promiscuity, fuelled by an endless round of champagne, cocaine, parties and jazz.

The Roaring Twenties was also a period of enormous vitality in art and design. Fashionable society was immortalised by portraitists like John Lavery and Cecil Beaton who brilliantly captured the glamour of the age. Leisure, pleasure and the excitement of jazz were portrayed in paintings by Burra and Roberts, while the speed of the city and travel were explored in work by McKnight Kauffer and Nevinson.  Furniture and decoration showed the influence of Cubism, Vorticism and other styles associated with the avant-garde, while events like the discovery of Tutankhamun’s Tomb ushered in an obsession with all things Egyptian and Oriental.

This lecture aims to conjure up the energy and originality of the decade and to explore the lives of its leading figures and examples of its most innovative art and design.

About: Jo Banham

Jo is a freelance curator, lecturer and writer. Previously Head of Adult Learning at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and before that Head of Learning and Access at the National Portrait Gallery, and Head of Public Programmes at Tate Britain. She has also been Curator of Leighton House and Assistant Keeper at the Whitworth Art Gallery. She has published on many aspects of Victorian and early 20th century decoration and interiors. She is currently curating an exhibition on William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement for the Juan March Fundacion in Madrid and the Museu Nacional d’Art Catalunya in Barcelona. She is also Director of the Victorian Society Summer School.

Roaring Twenties: Art, Design and High Society