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Liverpool Biennial 2018: Artists Showing at Bluecoat

published by The Bluecoat

Liverpool Biennial is the UK’s largest international visual arts festival taking place over 15 weeks at Bluecoat and across ...


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The Bluecoat Leading up to the First World War

As we welcome the giants' return to Liverpool-  we reflect on our own history during the First World War.

The Bluecoat was a charity school dating from the early 18th century until it moved to new premise in the suburbs in 1906. The following year a group  of artists, the Sandon Studios Society, moved into the vacant building and established an artistic colony and eventually managed to buy the building in 1927. It has been an arts centre ever since, making it the oldest in the UK.

In the years before the First World War, Sandon artists were active in the building, working in their studios and staging shows, including Roger Fry’s famous First Post-Impressionist exhibition in 1911. Brought from London where it had caused great controversy a few months earlier, it included works by Cézanne, Matisse and Picasso, and at the Bluecoat was significant in being presented alongside work by Liverpool artists. 

Some of those Liverpool artists continued to work in the building, sculptor Herbert Tyson Smith designing the cenotaph outside St George’s Hall, one of the finest war memorials in the country. Edward Carter Preston designed the bronze memorial plaques presented to families of British servicemen and women killed in the First World War. Several Sandon artists, including Gerard  Chowne and Donald Maclaren, were killed at the front. Will C. Penn served with the Liverpool Regiment and was wounded at Arras, nearly losing his right hand. Albert Lipczinsky, a German/Polish emigré, was interned as an ‘enemy alien’ at start of war, in a concentration camp near Chester. 


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About the Bluecoat

Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, Bluecoat showcases talent across visual art, music, dance, live art and literature. As the most ...

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