Feliks Topolski (1907-89)

Topolski studied at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Art before coming to London in 1935.  During the Second World War he was an official war artist . In 1959, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, commissioned Topolski to create a mural depicting the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Topolski painted portraits of contemporaries, including the authors H. G. Wells, Graham Greene, John Mortimer and Evelyn Waugh, and politicians Harold Macmillan and Aneurin Bevan.  He also painted murals, contributed to BBC programmes, as well as designing for the theatre, and making illustrations for magazines and newspapers.

This England depicts an English crowd with Churchill at the centre and is part of the School Print Series.   Towards the end of the Second World War Brenda Rawnsley and her husband Derek had the idea of bringing contemporary art to young children who would otherwise not have had the opportunity to see ‘good’ work. Within a few years Brenda had set up School Prints Ltd to sell original lithographs to schools and had commissioned several of the most important living artists for her scheme. Brenda Rawnsley sought the advice and assistance of the art historian Herbert Read and between them they chose the artists. The printing was undertaken by the Baynard Press from stones or zinc plates drawn by the artists, who were asked to use no more than six colours. The prints, being original lithographs, were often the first real art seen by young people of that period and are typical of their time.

This England
49.5 x 76 cm