Rosamund West

Research Group: Research Cities, Architecture, Landscape, Environment
Award studied: PhD

Project title

London County Council housing schemes and public art, 1943–1965

Abstract

The 1943 County of London Plan set out to displace half a million people within London. As part of this process the London County Council (LCC) planned to rebuild whole areas and communities, involving new housing estates, hospitals, schools and public parks. This rebuilding of London included the commissioning and purchasing of artworks for these new spaces under the Patronage of the Arts scheme, and included works by artists such as Frank Dobson, Franta Belsky and Henry Moore.

My research concentrates on post-war LCC-funded artworks - mainly sculpture and murals - within LCC residential architecture in the context of LCC planning and architecture. Through analysing the choices of architecture and artwork, and the ideology and intentions of the council, I will investigate how art was used as a tool to redesign the city and its communities.

I am interested in the subject of the artworks and the wider intent; for instance, the focus of neighbourly and mother and child subjects, in relation to the wider context of the re-building of London: the relocation of people and communities; the wish to populate areas with young families and the concern about inner-city desertion - all outlined in the 1943 County of London Plan.

Through an analysis of the role of the LCC as a parent-like figure providing its residents – notably its poorer ones – with works from artists and architects, I aim for a clearer understanding of an architectural plan implemented alongside a patronage of the arts programme, and the common ground between them.

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Funding received

Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture Research Studentship