The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Shell Guides: Surrealism, Modernism, Tourism at the Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture

LONDON.- This exhibition explores the creative forces that created the Shell County Guides. It considers their widespread cultural influence on our shared understanding of Britain and British-ness.

From the 1930s to the 1980s, innovative writers, artists, designers and academics combined their efforts to produce that most ordinary of books, a guide. In the 1930s, the editor of the guides, John Betjeman, gathered together an odd mixture of young artists and authors like Paul and John Nash, Robert Byron and John Piper. These artists represented some of the best of British creative talent of the mid twentieth century.

The first of these, The Shell Guide to Cornwall, was published in 1934, followed in rapid succession by guides to Devon, Dorset, Derbyshire, Oban and The Western Isles. Publication of The Shell Guide ceased in the 1980s as Britain went abroad, but they remain the most Modern and comprehensive guide to Britain, a powerful but understated synthesis of good writing, good imagery and good design.

This exhibition draws on MoDA’s JMRichard’s collection, which includes many of the Shell Guides plus, examples of other works by key contributors.

Shaping an understanding of Britain’s landscape
The Shell Guides were aimed at a new breed of car-driving metropolitan tourists. They were for those who sought guides that were neither too serious nor to shallow and who took pleasure in the ordinary and peculiar culture of small town Britain. In the three decades after the Second World War the Shell Guides provided a surreptitiously subversive synthesis of the British countryside.

They revelled in the unconventional, the surreal and the mystical which - through the seemingly “public-library ordinariness” of the guides - became ingrained in the British middle class imagination. The Shell Guide Britain is the Britain of ancient landscapes and barely-covered paganism that informed our post war view of ourselves from Stig of the Dump to The Wicker Man via Quatermass.

A creative force in twentieth century art and design
The guides were illustrated using the most modern and often surrealist photographs, small intimate sketches by the authors and reproductions of English romantic and popular prints.

This incongruous mix of old and new was combined with a graphic layout that blended the contemporary style of the Architectural Review with arcane nineteenth century typefaces. By the end of the 1930s the Shell Guides were among the most avant-garde publications in Europe - though devoted to a subject that was almost the cultural opposite.

Today as new generations re-discover Britain there are new guides in print and on the web. The best of them owe a clear debt to the Shell Guides’ understanding of non-metropolitan Britain.

Today's News

May 13, 2008

One of America's Greatest Artists, Pop Art Pioneer, Robert Rauschenberg Died in Florida at 82

Picasso Museum in Malaga Presents Restored Books Made by the Artist

Battlefields of the Civil War: Photography by William Earle Williams at Houston's MFA

Cleveland Museum Says Discussions are Continuing Between the Museum and the Italians

Asa Ames Exhibit at the American Folk Art Museum in New York

Architectural Projects by Stephen Taylor and Ryue Nishizawa at The Canadian Centre for Architecture

Brit Art of the Sixties Set to Open at Mark Barrow Fine Art

Manfred Leve: Glances and Sights, Photography from Five Decades at Gallery Ficher Rohr

Halcyon Gallery to Hold First Gallery Exhibition of Bob Dylan Art

Chinese Imperial Jades in the Collections of The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art Transforms Gallery into Hallucinatory Space

Spencer Tunick and Vienna's Kunsthalle Gather 1,840 People to Pose Nude at Stadium

Blake Fitch: Expectations of Adolescence at Light Work in Syracuse

The Shell Guides: Surrealism, Modernism, Tourism at the Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture

Future Tense: Reshaping the Landscape Presents Work by Artists Who are Taking a Critical Look at the Environment

Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Belgium Celebrate Architect Joze Plecnik

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Boy and an amateur archaeologist unearth legendary Danish king's trove in Germany

2.- Exhibition at The Met illustrates what visitors encountered at The palace of Versailles

3.- Philadelphia Museum of Art opens "Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950"

4.- Exhibition at Michael Hoppen Gallery presents a cross-section of works from Thomas Mailaender's career

5.- New York's Chelsea Hotel celebrity door auction raises $400,000

6.- Stevie Ray Vaughan's first guitar drives Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Auction to nearly $2.9 million

7.- Lichtenstein's Nude with Blue Hair tops $2.4 million sale of Modern & Contemporary Prints & Multiples

8.- $6.7 million Fancy Intense Blue Diamond sets auction record at Sotheby's New York

9.- Mexico court blocks sales of controversial Frida Kahlo Barbie doll

10.- Dutch museums to conduct new research on the paintings of Pieter de Hooch

Related Stories

Important Judaica and Israeli & international art bring a combined $7.9 million at Sotheby's New York

Tunisia to auction ousted despot's treasures

Andy Warhol's Mao portraits excluded from the Beijing and Shanghai shows next year

China criticises French Qing dynasty seal auction

Christie's announces auction marking the first half century of the popular and luxurious interiors shop Guinevere

Nine new exhibits debut at San Diego International Airport

Rembrandt masterpiece "Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet" back on display at National Museum Cardiff

Amber: 40-million-year-old fossilised tree resin is Baltic gold

Egyptian artist Iman Issa wins the Ist FHN Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona Award

The main chapel of the Basilica of Santa Croce open for visits after five year restoration

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful