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‘Paradise Lost’, in reference to the poem by John Milton, will present a view of the First and Second World Wars and their aftermath which characterised much of the innovative British art of the twentieth century.


The art during this period represents a powerful paradox of mourning and recovery, expressed in psychologically-charged paintings of sinister landscapes. Artists such as Ayrton, Minton, Nash and Piper returned to naturalism, infused with a kind of longing for an impossible reunion with the past, uncontaminated by modernity.


"The woods of Arcady are dead,
And over is their antique joy;
Of old the world on dreaming fed;
Grey Truth is now her painted toy;
Yet still she turns her restless head"
W. B. Yeats

34 artworks
  • Winter Stream 1945
    Michael Ayrton (1921–1975)
    Oil on board
    H 57.8 x W 83.3 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Winter Stream
    © estate of the artist. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Wood on the Downs 1929
    Paul Nash (1889–1946)
    Oil on canvas
    H 71.5 x W 92 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Wood on the Downs
    Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • A Yorkshire Landscape
    Matthew Arnold Bracy Smith (1879–1959)
    Oil on canvas
    H 50.7 x W 60.9 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    A Yorkshire Landscape
    © by permission of the copyright holder. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Walled Pond, Little Bredy, Dorset 1923
    John Northcote Nash (1893–1977)
    Oil on canvas
    H 56.2 x W 76.4 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Walled Pond, Little Bredy, Dorset
    © the artist's estate / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • The Loading, Landings, Newfoundland Lumberjacks at Work in Scottish Forest 1940
    David Macbeth Sutherland (1883–1973)
    Oil on canvas
    H 61.1 x W 86.5 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    The Loading, Landings, Newfoundland Lumberjacks at Work in Scottish Forest
    Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • South Coast Beach 1939–1942
    Eric Ravilious (1903–1942)
    Watercolour on paper
    H 43 x W 54.5 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    South Coast Beach
    Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Train Landscape 1940
    Eric Ravilious (1903–1942)
    Watercolour on paper (collage)
    H 44.1 x W 54.8 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Train Landscape
    Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Coastal Defences 1940
    Eric Ravilious (1903–1942)
    Pencil, pen, ink & watercolour on paper
    H 41.8 x W 58.1 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Coastal Defences
    Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Derelict Building 1941
    Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887–1976)
    Oil on canvas
    H 43.3 x W 53.2 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Derelict Building
    © The Estate of L.S. Lowry. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • The Old Cinema 1933
    Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887–1976)
    Oil on canvas
    H 43 x W 62 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    The Old Cinema
    © The Estate of L.S. Lowry. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Still Life, Pointed Lace 1947
    William George Gillies (1898–1973)
    Oil on canvas
    H 87.6 x W 112.5 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Still Life, Pointed Lace
    © Royal Scottish Academy / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Trees and Coppice 1928
    William George Gillies (1898–1973)
    Oil on canvas
    H 89 x W 124 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Trees and Coppice
    © Royal Scottish Academy / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Honeysuckle and Sweetpeas c.1945–1946
    Winifred Nicholson (1893–1981)
    Oil on board
    H 45.5 x W 74.1 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Honeysuckle and Sweetpeas
    © trustees of Winifred Nicholson. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • The Farm Pond 1930
    Duncan Grant (1885–1978)
    Oil on canvas
    H 59 x W 81.5 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    The Farm Pond
    © Estate of Duncan Grant. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • The Barn at the Pond 1925
    Duncan Grant (1885–1978)
    Oil on board
    H 60.1 x W 83.5 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    The Barn at the Pond
    © Estate of Duncan Grant. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Mount St Hilarion, Cyprus 1948
    David Bomberg (1890–1957)
    Oil on canvas
    H 72.5 x W 92.5 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Mount St Hilarion, Cyprus
    © the estate of David Bomberg. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • One of the Stations of the Dead 1933–1937
    Wyndham Lewis (1882–1957)
    Oil on canvas
    H 127.6 x W 75.8 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Northern Adventure 1929
    Paul Nash (1889–1946)
    Oil on canvas
    H 92.7 x W 71.6 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Northern Adventure
    Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Park Place, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire 1941
    John Piper (1903–1992)
    Oil on canvas on panel
    H 45.8 x W 61.1 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Park Place, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
    © the Piper Estate / DACS 2021. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Landscape and Windmill 1945
    John Minton (1917–1957)
    Oil on canvas
    H 56.5 x W 76.5 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Landscape and Windmill
    © Royal College of Art / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Seated Girl Holding a Piece of Sewing 1915–1925
    Gwen John (1876–1939)
    Oil on canvas
    H 41 x W 33 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Seated Girl Holding a Piece of Sewing
    Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Pieta 1914
    James Pittendrigh MacGillivray (1856–1938)
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Outcast Coal Production – Depositing Earth from Buckets 1943
    Graham Vivian Sutherland (1903–1980)
    Pencil, oil pastel & gouache on paper
    H 70 x W 85.3 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Outcast Coal Production – Depositing Earth from Buckets
    © estate of Graham Sutherland. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Weather Forecast 1944
    John Tunnard (1900–1971)
    Oil on board
    H 64.1 x W 79.6 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Weather Forecast
    © the estate of John Tunnard. All rights reserved. DACS 2021. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • The Farmyard, Garsington, Oxfordshire 1925
    Gilbert Spencer (1892–1979)
    Oil on canvas
    H 61 x W 71.5 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    The Farmyard, Garsington, Oxfordshire
    © estate of Gilbert Spencer. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Southwold, Suffolk 1937
    Stanley Spencer (1891–1959)
    Oil on canvas
    H 57.9 x W 89.9 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Crucifixion 1921
    Stanley Spencer (1891–1959)
    Oil on paper on canvas
    H 70.7 x W 111.6 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Resurrection, Re-Union 1945
    Stanley Spencer (1891–1959)
    Oil on panel
    H 89.9 x W 165.9 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Boundary Stream
    Ivon Hitchens (1893–1979)
    Oil on canvas
    H 51.1 x W 105.3 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Boundary Stream
    © the artist's estate. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Sussex Landscape
    Ivon Hitchens (1893–1979)
    Oil on canvas
    H 56.3 x W 61.4 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Sussex Landscape
    © the artist's estate. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Still Life, Fruit
    Bernard Meninsky (1891–1950)
    Oil on canvas
    H 40.5 x W 50.8 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Still Life, Fruit
    Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Classical Landscape 1939
    John Armstrong (1893–1973)
    Oil on board
    H 47.8 x W 58.3 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Classical Landscape
    © the artist's estate / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • Local Defence Volunteer 1939
    Edward Baird (1904–1949)
    Oil on canvas
    H 91 x W 69.5 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    Local Defence Volunteer
    Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

  • A Scottish Policeman 1941
    James Cowie (1886–1956)
    Pastel on paper
    H 51.7 x W 36.6 cm
    Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
    A Scottish Policeman
    © the artist's estate. Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums