Sargent to Freud: Modern British Paintings in the Beaverbrook Collection


212 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-920674-44-5
DDC 759.2'074'715515




Reviewed by Patricia Morley

Patricia Morley is professor emerita of English and Canadian Studies at
Concordia University and an avid outdoor recreationist. She is also the
author of The Mountain Is Moving: Japanese Women’s Lives, Kurlek, and
Margaret Laurence: The Long Journey Hom


The Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton is perhaps not as well known
as it should be. Sargent to Freud is the catalog for a 1998 exhibition
of its modern British holdings, one that toured Canada, the United
States, and Great Britain from 1998 to 2000. It is also an impressive
tribute and witness to this gallery’s holdings.

Lord Beaverbrook’s roles as politician, financier, and press baron
have been well documented, but this is the first book on his passion for
art. Beaverbrook was attracted to narrative paintings and hence to the
work of painters such as Stanley Spencer, Walter Sickert, William Orpen,
and Augustus John. He was much less interested in modern painters who
rejected nature in favor of formal values.

Ian Lumsden, director of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery for almost 30
years, contributes a long introductory essay on Beaverbrook’s
patronage of modern British artists. Richard Shone, a leading authority
in the field, leads off with an essay on 20th-century British painting.
Each of the catalog’s 56 color reproductions appear opposite a page of
text in both French and English. There is a selected bibliography and
substantial documentation.

This well-written and effectively organized book sheds light on a
valuable collection that deserves to be better known.


Shone, Richard, and Ian G. Lumsden., “Sargent to Freud: Modern British Paintings in the Beaverbrook Collection,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 22, 2024,