Art in Exile
Join Rebecca Newell, Head of Art at Imperial War Museums (IWM), for a fascinating talk to commemorate Battle of Britain Day.
In 1939, as the threat of war drew closer, London's galleries and museums prepared their priceless collections for evacuation to the safety of country estates and later, buried them underground in disused slate quarries.
With colleagues from other national museums, IWM staff too recognised the threat to the 4,000 paintings, sculptures and drawings that had amassed during and after the First World War, and, as the threat grew, a decision was made: a save list would be drawn up.
What was saved and why? What does the list tell us about the people making the decisions? What was prioritised – and deprioritised – in the tricky balance between protection and display? What lessons were learnt about museums and collections? And what does this tell us about the patronage and vision of the arts when Britain faced invasion.