Introduction to Modern British Art (Held in Reading)

Course summary

  • Wed 04 Oct 2017 to Wed 06 Dec 2017
  • 7:00-9:00pm 10 meetings
  • Room 113, Building 22, London Road Campus, University of Reading, RG1 5AQ
  • From £173.00
  • 10 CATS points
  • Course code R17P219ARW
  • +44 (0)1865 280892
  • Course ended

Introduction to Modern British Art (Held in Reading)


In this course art made by British artists, or art made in Britain will be reviewed in the context of the great modern movements of the European avant garden.

British artists have traditionally been famous for their innovative approaches to traditional subject matter such as landscapes, portraits and still life painting.  This course will examine new, fresh approaches to these subjects taken by groups of artists working at the turn of the 20th century.  In addition there will be a critical examination of the contribution of European avant garde movements, particularly after the London Post Impressionist Exhibition in 1910. The impact of the two world wars on British art will also be considered.

Major artists explored will include James Guthrie, Walter Sickert, Paul Nash, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Lucien Freud, Francis Bacon,  David Hockney and the YBAs.

Programme details

Term Starts:   4th October

Week 1:          Introduction - Art Colonies

Week 2:          The Camden Town School, Post Impressionism and Bloomsbury

Week 3:          Vorticism and the Great War

Week 4:          Realism between the wars: Spencer and Lowry

Week 5:          Between the wars: Piper, Nash and Sutherland

Week 6:          St Ives and Modernism - Hepworth and Moore

Week 7:          Pop, Op and Abstraction

Week 8:          The Body - Bacon and Freud

Week 9:          Modernism and the YBAs

Week 10:        Britain, Art Now


Background Reading

British Art Since 1900 by Frances Spalding (Thames and Hudson)


Recommended reading

All weekly class students may become borrowing members of the Rewley House Continuing Education Library for the duration of their course. Prospective students whose courses have not yet started are welcome to use the Library for reference. More information can be found on the Library website.

There is a Guide for Weekly Class students which will give you further information. 

Availability of titles on the reading list (below) can be checked on SOLO, the library catalogue.

Recommended Reading List 


Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to do so.


Course Fee: £173.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00


Dr Sandra Smith

Sandra Smith is an art historian and has worked for Oxford University's Department for Continuing Education for several years.  She also teaches adult classes for the WEA and Art History and Classics in a Local School.  She lives in Reading.

Course aims

This course aims to introduce students to the major developments in British Art in the late 19th and 20th centuries.

Course Objectives:

By the end of the course students should be able to:

Describe at least one work by James Guthrie, Stanhope Forbes and Duncan Grant

Describe the contribution made by Paul Nash to war art

Begin to discuss the contribution of Barbar Hepworth and Henry Moore to the development of modern sculpture

Teaching methods

Lecture with slides and discussion

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

Discuss the development of modern British art in the context of international modernism and the place of Britain in a changing world.

Assessment methods

Either 2 short essays or one longer essay or a presentation.

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form.


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)