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A l'Heure de l'Observatoire, les Amoureux, 1934 Painting by Man Ray. Courtesy Telimage
A l'Heure de l'Observatoire, les Amoureux, 1934 Painting by Man Ray
Art & artists >

Symposium: Surrealism in Britain, 1925 - 1955

Sat 6 Oct, 10am - 4pm

Coinciding with the exhibition Lee Miller and Surrealism in Britain at The Hepworth Wakefield (22 June – 7 October 2018) this one-day international symposium aims to rethink Surrealism in Britain through an expanded lens. The deliberately broad time-frame allows for exploration of Surrealism’s presence in Britain before its supposed arrival in 1936 and in the post-war era.

Bridging fine art, fashion and journalism with an eye for the extraordinary, Lee Miller’s photography provides a useful starting point for a renewed consideration of a broad range of Surrealist practices as they unfolded in Britain between the 1920s and 1950s.

Questioning familiar narratives, the symposium aims to reconstruct intricate networks of artists and writers – friends, lovers and rivals – through which Surrealist ideas circulated and mutated during a turbulent historical period.

Supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.

Book your place online

Ticket price includes refreshments.

A proportion of tickets for all bookable events and workshops are available at member rate, find out more about membership.

PANEL ONE: Collecting and Display (chair: Eleanor Clayton)

Dr Caterina Caputo (The Frick Collection, New York): The London Gallery and the promotion of “new” Surrealists in the UK: the case of Paul Delvaux.

Katia Sowels (Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris), The London Gallery as a Surrealist Laboratory: the Surrealist Objects & Poems Exhibition, November-December 1937

PANEL TWO: Surrealism and Popular Culture (chair: Dr Hilary Floe)

Dr Marjorie Coughlan (University of York): Surrealism, Surrealisation and Photomontage in the Public and Private Photography of Angus McBean (1904-1986)

Niall Billings (The Courtauld Institute), “In the end, she dies”: an exploration of surrealism within Powell and Pressburger’s The Red Shoes

PANEL THREE: Surrealism and its Afterlives (chair: Clare Nadal)

Dr Lisa Maddigan Newby (University of East Anglia), Ethnographic Surrealism in Postwar London

Dr Catriona McAra (Leeds Arts University), Surrealist Souvenirs: The Prime Minister’s Bracelet and Leonora Carrington’s Postcards


Dr Patricia Allmer (Edinburgh College of Art), “Temple of Sight” – British Surrealism and the Crystal Skull

Followed by a panel discussion and Q&A

Eleanor Clayton, Dr Patricia Allmer (Chair: Dr Rachel Stratton)