I understand
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1895 – 1980

The Farm
Oil on canvas
51 x 61.5 cm
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society, 1935 © Estate of John David Roberts. By permission of the Treasury Solicitor. Photography Jerry Hardman-Jones


At the age of 15 Roberts won a scholarship to the Slade School of Art in London, where he came into contact with a number of brilliant students including Paul Nash, Stanley Spencer and David Bomberg.

Having originally intended to be a poster designer, he was associated for a time with Roger Fry’s Omega Workshops – an experimental design collective – and also with Vorticism, an aggressively abstract pre-war movement. Roberts’ style is characterised by his distortion of figures, his use of contrasting bold colours and angular compositions and structures.

This painting represents the first of many generous contributions to Wakefield’s collection by the Contemporary Art Society.