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The Grey Horses by Tom Gentleman

The Grey Horses by Tom Gentleman
Accession Code: wu0203
Title: The Grey Horses
Date completed: 1946
Medium: Prints
Location Name: Mathematics Institute
Location Description: Infant and Family Room
Location Floor: C0.15

This work was part of a series of lithographs published at the end of the Second World War. The purpose was to provide schools and other public institutions with examples of work by good artists at a low cost. The lithographs were all of uniform size so that they could be interchangeable in a single frame or group of frames to allow them to be rotated. The contributing artists were chosen by a committee chaired by the art historian Herbert Read. Despite the hardships which came with the end of the war and anxieties about the immediate future, the images chosen by the artists are colourful and reassuring, for the most part focusing on familiar aspects of British life and culture. Published in 1946 and 1947, the series turns its back on the privations and tragedies of the war years and makes an optimistic statement about the future.

The impact of this stylised image of a familiar street scene of that period is achieved through Tom Gentleman's use of simplified shapes and flattened blocks of colour. The boy in blue admiring the McMullen's brewery dray horses is the artist's son David, now an artist and also represented in the Warwick collection.