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Review: Art Deco By the Sea celebrating the British Seaside

Review: Art Deco By the Sea celebrating the British Seaside

Art Deco by the Sea is the title of a major new book and exhibition examining British coastal culture between the First and Second World Wars. Image credit: Designs for Midland Hotel, Morecombe, Oliver Hill & John Dean Monroe Harvey Drawing, 1932, © RIBA Collections

The exhibition opened in Norwich by the Sea at the Sainsbury Centre on the 9th February and runs until June 2020. The book features Art Deco fashions and the more ephemeral and popular culture of the seaside from theatre performances, circuses, fairgrounds, casinos and fun fairs.

The new and exciting age of Mass tourism was spurred by the Holiday and Pay Act of 1938, giving the right to paid holiday for all workers. The term Art Deco was coined in the 1960, referring to the predominant decorative art style of the 1920s and 1930s, characterized by precise and boldly delineated geometric shapes and strong colours and used most notably in household objects and in architecture.

Through paintings, posters, brochures, drawings, photographs, fashion, furniture, ceramics and textiles and iconic examples of architecture the exhibition shows how Art Deco altered the look of the British seafront. The 1920s and 30s also witnessed the advent of the healthy body culture, when sunbathing, swimming and a host of other outdoor activities became fashionable.

The exhibition’s over 130 works also highlights the interiors and fashion, with striking designs from renowned manufacturers such as Poole Pottery, ECKO radios and Crysède textiles. A significant group of Art Deco paintings, underpinned by a fashion for realism, brought together for the first time.

Where: University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk, NR4 7TJ

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Opening times
Tue – Fri, 10am – 6pm
Sat – Sun, 10am – 5pm

Closed Mon, including bank holidays.

Free Parking for exhibition visitors – see website for more details

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