Picasso in Britain: Art, Politics and Outcry

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) had a tumultuous relationship with Britain over the course of his life, related to both his personal politics and the shock of his art. This hour-long talk examines the lasting effects of Picasso on Britain, looking not only at the artists two visits to England (1919 and 1950) but also the turning point that the display of his monumental Guernica (1937) in 1938-9 precipitated for British artists. This relationship – and the surrounding public controversies – reveal a multitude of fascinating connections between the most prolific artist of the twentieth century and a country on the verge of its global artistic renaissance.

To find out which Arts Society chapter I will be presenting this talk at next, please email me.


Room by room guide of Tate Britain’s Picasso & Modern British Art (15 Feb – 15 Jul 2012)

Room by room guide of Tate Liverpool’s Picasso: Peace and Freedom (21 Apr – 30 Aug 2010)

The Rethinking Guernica Project, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (with online catalogue of archival materials and preparatory drawings)

Piecing together Guernica – BBC News Magazine

Picasso’s Guernica discussed by Melvyn Bragg and guests, In Our Time Radio/Podcast (2 Nov 2017)

Art and Architecture Towards Political Crises: The 1937 Paris International Exposition in Context – culturedarm.com


Roland Penrose. Picasso: His Life and Work. London: Victor Gollancz, 1958.

John Richardson. A life of Picasso (Vol.1, 1881-1906) (Vol. 2, 1907-1917) (Vol. 3, 1917-1932). London: Pimlico.

Antony Penrose. The Boy Who Bit Picasso. London: Thames & Hudson, 2010.

James Beechey and Chris Stephens, ed. Picasso & Modern British Art, exh. cat. London: Tate, 2012.

T.J. Clark. Picasso and Truth: From Cubism to Guernica. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013.

Gijs van Hensbergen. Guernica: The Biography of a Twentieth-Century Icon. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2005.

Lynda Morris and Christoph Grunenberg, ed. Picasso: Peace and Freedom, exh. cat. London: Tate, 2010.

Rachel Flynn. ‘I do not seek Picasso, I find…’ in Tate Etc. issue 24: Spring 2012 (accessible online)

Helen Little. ‘Guernica… In a car showroom?’ in Tate Etc. issue 24: Spring 2012 (accessible online)

Ronald Alley. Picasso: The Three Dancers. London: Tate Gallery, 1986.

Achim Borchardt-Hume and Nancy Ireson, ed. Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy. London: Tate Publishing, 2018.

Late Picasso: Paintings, Sculpture, Drawings, Prints, 1953-1972, exh. cat. London: Tate Gallery, 1988.

George Orwell (ed. Peter Davison). Orwell in Spain: the Full text of Homage to Catalonia, with Associated Articles, Reviews and Letters from the Complete Works of George Orwell. London: Penguin, 2001.

Helen Graham. The Spanish Civil War: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

George Steer. The Tree of Gernika: A Field Study of Modern War. London: Faber and Faber, [1938] 2011.