Tate Releases Henri Gaudier-Brzeska sketchbooks As Part Of Online Archive


Enthusiasts from all over the globe can now view Henri Gaudier-Brzeska’s unpublished sketchbooks as the second wave of items for the Archives and Access project is made available on Tate’s website. 

The project draws on the world’s largest archive of British Art – Tate Archive – and brings it together online with Tate’s art collection, making this one of the richest and most comprehensive digital art and archival resources in Europe. It is generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund with a grant of £2 million. The publicly-available items reveal fascinating insights into the lives and work of some of the most important figures in British art.  

Highlights from the newly published archive collections include:

Henri Gaudier-Brzeska’s sketchbooks, two of which depict his interest in symbolism and the evolution of his Vorticist style. They include sketches for works in the Tate collection such as Fish 1914 and Ornament 1914. 

An extensive collection of over 1000 negatives taken by surrealist artist Eileen Agar. The materials include images of coastal scenes in Brittany and Cornwall and a small selection of photographs of Dora Maar, Pablo Picasso and Man Ray on the beach in Juan-les-Pins, France.

Drawings, sketchbooks and letters from artist Felicia Browne, one of the first British volunteers to die in the Spanish Civil War and the only British woman to play a combatant role. The letters and drawings tell the unique story of Browne’s journey to Spain where she joined the militia and was engulfed in the outbreak of the war.

British photographer and society figure Barbara Ker-Seymer’s photographic albums from the 1920s-1930s filled with images of her close circle of friends. Giving an intimate glimpse into the lives of significant figures of the time, the albums include Frederick Ashton, Edward Burra, Jimmie Daniels, David Garnett, Humphrey Spender and Elisabeth Welch.  

A series of photographs, essays and letters from the archive collection of Klaus Hinrichsen. The items give a significant insight into Hinrichsen’s time at the Hutchinson Internment camp on the Isle of Man with Kurt Schwitters and many other artists, musicians and intellectuals. Amongst the material digitised are black and white photographs of life in the camp taken by the commandant, Captain H. O. Daniel.

Nearly 150 unpublished photographs by Prunella Clough, including industrial scenes of Wapping, London, the fishing industry in Lowestoft in the1950s, colourful images of mass produced plastic objects in the 1980s and a unique photograph album compiled by the artist.

Painter Ivon Hitchens’ lyrical designs for his arcadian landscape mural at the folk arts centre, Cecil Sharp House in London.

This is the second stage of the project with the publication of a further 12 collections relating to Eileen Agar, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, James Boswell, Ian Breakwell, Felicia Browne, Prunella Clough, Cecil Collins, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Klaus Hinrichsen, Ivon Hitchens, Barbara Ker-Seymer and Scottie Wilson. The digitisation of archives relating to an additional 25 artists will be completed in summer 2015, including L.S. Lowry, Henry Moore and John Piper. 

Tate is collaborating with five lead partner organisations across the UK along with representatives from more than 70 local organisations on a series of projects which bring together Tate’s newly digitised collection with each region’s own archival sources to explore their local and national heritage using newly generated content and digital tools. The programme involves the Josef Herman Art Foundation Cymru in Ystradgynlais, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and Turner Contemporary in Margate.

As part of opening up access to the Archive, Tate has developed new ways of engaging with these historic materials. This includes a new series of films, Animating the Archives; an online ‘albums’ feature allowing visitors to group together archive items and artworks that they can add to, annotate and share; Archive Gallery tours at weekends; and access to images under a Creative Commons licence. Tate will be the first fine arts organisation to collaborate with the Zooniverse team led by the University of Oxford to crowdsource full text transcriptions of handwritten documents.


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