Art in Britain 1900-1950

Ref: C3742763

The first half of the twentieth century was marked by rapid technological and social change, as well as, of course, by two world wars. This course will review how British artists engaged with such issues. At the same time, art itself was changing rapidly across Europe and America, and we will consider how British artists responded to such developments, whilst often seeking to retain something distinctively British. The main topics to be covered are the Edwardian Age; modernism in the early twentieth century; art of the First World War; tradition and modernism in the inter-war years; social comment; the Second World War and beyond. It is intended that one session will consist of a gallery visit to London.

Course aim

To consider a range of works of art from the period, linking them to their social, political and historical contexts, and to broader developments taking place in European art.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • think critically about and discuss artworks from the period within a broader historical context.
  • describe some of the ways in which British artists of the period chose to engage with ideas of modernity and modernism.
  • look at examples of art from this period and comment sensibly on them.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • There will be informal verbal feedback as appropriate.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No preparatory reading is required. Some suggestions for general reading include: Susan Compton (ed), British Art in the 20th Century: The Modern Movement (1987) Chris Stephens (ed), The History of British Art: 1870-Now (2008)

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course information sheet

Art in Britain 1900-1950


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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