Independent Spirits

Painting of two men on bicycles talking to a woman.

Christopher Wood, 'French Cyclists' © National Museum Liverpool

As well as the formal groups that made their mark on early 20th century British art, there were key artists who worked more independently and had a more individual style. Some created imaginative and often insular visual worlds. Others produced a deeply personal response to wider events, such as the rise of Surrealism and the Second World War.

The unique, mysterious paintings of Cecil Collins make him one of the period's most distinctive artists. LS Lowry also maintained a characteristic style despite the backdrop of a constantly changing art scene, whilst Ceri Richards' work responded directly to European art movements like Cubism.

Liverpool artists George Jardine and Albert Richards also demonstrated an autonomous approach. Jardine was drawn to the surrealists and Richards won acclaim as an Official War Artist. Lucian Freud's penetrating portraits came to embody the anxiety of the post-war years. Freud's now iconic painting 'Interior at Paddington' was commissioned by the Arts Council for the 1951 Festival of Britain and was later presented to the Walker.

A podcast of the gallery talk on Albert Richards' self portrait, 'The Seven Legends', is available to download, read or listen.