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Hampstead in the 1930s – A Walking Tour + Visits
Meet: Hampstead Underground Station
Led by Monica Bohm-Duchen for Martin Randall Travel
As the abundance of wall plaques in the area demonstrates, visual artists have been drawn to the physical and cultural attractions of Hampstead since the late eighteenth century. This London day, however, concentrates on artistic life in Hampstead in the 1930s, the period in which it occupied a unique place in the story of British art and architecture. This was in large measure due to the number of talented émigrés from Nazi-dominated Europe who found refuge here, and the British individuals who welcomed and worked alongside them.
At Burgh House & Hampstead Museum, a private view of selected items from the era and an introductory lecture set the scene. A walk through Frognal before lunch is testament to the pioneering work of modernist architects such as Maxwell Fry and Ernst Freud. In the afternoon, we walk via Downshire Hill (home to Fred and Diana Uhlman, Roland Penrose and Margaret Gardiner), to the Isokon Building in Lawn Road, where by special arrangement we visit the former garage, now a small gallery devoted to the colourful history of these flats, whose tenants included Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer as well as Agatha Christie and a significant number of Communist spies. After taking a look at the Mall Studios, home to what Herbert Read memorably described as a ‘gentle nest of artists’, among them Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson, and the building which was briefly home to Piet Mondrian, the day ends with a visit to the modernist house that Hungarian-born Ernö Goldfinger built for himself nearby 2 Willow Road.
Mid-morning refreshments, lunch and tea provided.
Book this tour at Martin Randall Travel