Municipal Dreams

Last week’s post looked at the LCC’s open-air sculpture exhibitions but arguably the more significant contribution to the worthy attempt to bring art to the people lay in its ‘Arts Patronage Scheme’ inaugurated in 1956. By 1964 when it (and the LCC) were wound up, over 70 works of art had been purchased – adorning schools and housing estates across the capital.

Henry Moore, Two-Piece Reclining figure No. 3, the Brandon Estate, Lambeth  © Steve Cadman and made available through a Creative Commons licence Henry Moore, Two-Piece Reclining Figure No. 3, the Brandon Estate, Lambeth © Steve Cadman and made available through a Creative Commons licence

Many of these were significant pieces by some of the leading artists in the country. Nearly all were modernist works and its efforts were not, therefore, without controversy but they remain: (1)

outstanding in their ambition and coherence…In this respect, the LCC may be said to have assisted in the democratisation, if not the socialisation, of art.

The origins of the scheme are marked by their time…

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