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This exhibition explores the art and culture of 1960s Britain through some of the most significant paintings and drawings from the Swindon Collection. It features work by Richard Hamilton, Howard Hodgkin, Michael Craig-Martin and Mary Fedden.


The 1960s was an exciting time in British art. Against a backdrop of growing wealth, pop culture and personal freedom, a new generation of postwar artists were attending London’s art schools, surrounded by an unrivalled cultural scene. British art was infused with the challenges and opportunities found in 1960s Britain, including the tension between personal expression and social responsibility.

19 artworks
  • The Family

    Blackman is an Australian artist who regularly focuses on the human figure in his art. This bold painting shows a group of figures painted in black and grey.


    This painting was given to Swindon in 1962, one year after Blackman featured in an important exhibition of contemporary Australian art at the Whitechapel Gallery in London.

    The Family 1961
    Charles Blackman (b.1928)
    Oil on board
    H 122 x W 106 cm
    Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
    The Family
    © DACS 2021. Photo credit: Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

  • Pastoral

    Pastoral 1965
    Cecil Collins (1908–1989)
    Oil & tempera on board
    H 75 x W 90.5 cm
    Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
    Pastoral
    © Tate Images. Photo credit: Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

  • Box That Never Closes

    Michael Craig-Martin was born in Dublin Ireland in 1941. He grew up and was educated in the United States, studying Fine Art at the Yale School of Art and Architecture. He has lived and worked in Britain since 1966.


    Craig-Martin began making constructions using a variety of materials and colouring them white or silver or leaving the natural wood finish.

    Box That Never Closes 1967
    Michael Craig-Martin (b.1941)
    Blockboard, polyurethane paint, varnish & brass hardware
    H 61 x W 61 x D 61 cm
    Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
    Box That Never Closes
    © Michael Craig-Martin. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photo credit: Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

  • The Thames

    Fedden painted this picture ‘from the garden wall, looking upstream to the island, Chiswick Eyot. It is high summer because angelica and cow parsley are out in the quay in June.'

    The Thames 1962
    Mary Fedden (1915–2012)
    Oil on canvas
    H 49.3 x W 59.5 cm
    Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
    The Thames
    © the estate of Mary Fedden / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

  • Silage Heap near Drumburgh, Cumbria, II 1964
    Sheila Mary Fell (1931–1979)
    Oil on canvas
    H 69.5 x W 90.3 cm
    Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
    Silage Heap near Drumburgh, Cumbria, II
    © the artist's estate / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

  • Grey, Red and Black Verticals

    Terry Frost left school and had a variety of jobs before joining the Commandos in 1939.


    Frost first visited St Ives in 1946 and was influenced by Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth. The artists at St Ives encouraged Frost to move towards abstract painting. He combined this with an interest in modern European art and the work of the great American abstract painters, like Barnet Newman and Willem de Kooning.


    This painting was made at an important stage in Frost’s career. The three curves at the top of the canvas were inspired by Rubens painting of three goddesses. The work is inspired by women, in Frost’s words, “perhaps from a time when woman ruled the world". The smear of thin grey paint suggests a reclining figure.

    Grey, Red and Black Verticals 1962
    Terry Frost (1915–2003)
    Oil on canvas
    H 101 x W 126.5 cm
    Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
    Grey, Red and Black Verticals
    © estate of Terry Frost. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

  • November 1955
    Roger Hilton (1911–1975)
    Oil on canvas
    H 112 x W 86.5 cm
    Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
    November
    © estate of Roger Hilton. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

  • Gramophone 1964–1966
    Howard Hodgkin (1932–2017)
    Oil on canvas
    H 71.5 x W 91.5 cm
    Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
    Gramophone
    © Estate of Howard Hodgkin. Photo credit: Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

  • Painting 1961
    Charles Houghton Howard (1899–1978)
    Oil on canvas
    H 59.4 x W 85 cm
    Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
    Painting
    © the copyright holder. Photo credit: Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

  • Action Painting 1958
    George Melhuish (1916–1985)
    Oil on paper board
    H 56 x W 70.5 cm
    Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
    Action Painting
    © the copyright holder. Photo credit: Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

  • Vortex 1968
    George Melhuish (1916–1985)
    Oil on paper
    H 61 x W 85 cm
    Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
    Vortex
    © the copyright holder. Photo credit: Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

  • The Mysterious Gift 1965
    Desmond Morris (b.1928)
    Oil on canvas
    H 99 x W 70.7 cm
    Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
    The Mysterious Gift
    © Desmond Morris. Photo credit: Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

  • Play: Here We Exemplify (Fugato) the Additive Perseverative and Subtractive Modes, Thesis as Object and Artwork as Residue of Process 1968
    Tom Phillips (b.1937)
    Acrylic on canvas
    H 45.7 x W 152 cm
    Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
    Play: Here We Exemplify (Fugato) the Additive Perseverative and Subtractive Modes, Thesis as Object and Artwork as Residue of Process
    © Tom Phillips. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

  • Night Sky 1957
    Jack Smith (1928–2011)
    Oil on board
    H 58.5 x W 58.5 cm
    Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
    Night Sky
    © the artist's estate/courtesy Flowers Gallery, London. Photo credit: Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

  • Once 1962
    Richard Smith (1931–2016)
    Oil on canvas
    H 213.5 x W 121.5 cm
    Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
    Once
    © the artist's estate. Photo credit: Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

  • Elektra 1969
    George Warner Allen (1916–1988)
    Oil & tempera on canvas
    H 90 x W 100 cm
    Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
    Elektra
    © estate of George Warner Allen. Photo credit: Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

  • Landscape 1956
    Denis Wirth-Miller (1915–2010)
    Oil on canvas
    H 75.5 x W 90.5 cm
    Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
    Landscape
    © the artist's estate. Photo credit: Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

  • Winged Idol 1963
    Roger Leigh (1925–1997)
    Bronze & yew
    H 46.5 x W 47.7 cm
    Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
    Winged Idol
    © the artist's estate. Photo credit: Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

  • The Sibyl 1964
    Cecil Collins (1908–1989)
    Oil & acrylic on board
    H 75 x W 90 cm
    Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
    The Sibyl
    © Tate Images. Photo credit: Swindon Museum and Art Gallery