Sussex Modernists: Retreat and Rebellion (Two Temple Place, London, until 23 April 2017, free) explores the artists who found this corner of England both a haven and an inspiration during the war-torn 20th century. This eclectic group of objects draws you into the avant-garde world of a once eccentric Sussex.
The exhibition is all the more powerful for its striking Victorian setting in an imposing neo-gothic palace. You truly appreciate the ambition of Salvador Dalí’s garish red ‘Mae West’s Lips’ sofa (1938)against the contrast of the traditional interiors.
Separated by just 50 years, both building and exhibition highlight the major changes that occurred in British society and art during the early 20th century; shown not least by the number of powerful female voices in this exhibition. It is only right therefore that we examine and honour this period of British art again, and again, and again…
My favourite piece: a pair of simple but beautiful garden rollers by Eric Gill (1920), inscribed with an English folksong for broken hearted lovers:
'For the grass that has often times been
Trampled underfoot, give time
It will rise up again’
Words by Benedict Leigh, archaeologist and curator at The British Museum for The Iris Letter male edition, March 2017.