TALK: From Cornwall to Catterline

People and places in the art of the Post-war years

Sunday 14 July 2024

7pm • St. George's Guildhall • £15 / Under 25s 50% off

Art historian, critic and biographer, Frances Spalding explores how a sense of optimisim encouraged fresh developments in the post-war period.

Austerity and angst are words often applied to the decade immediately following the Second World War. Feelings  of victory, or happiness or relief  at the return of peace were overshadowed by the extent of the recent atrocities and the implications of the atom bomb. But this was the period that gradually saw through parliament a raft of radical social legislation which bestowed new dignity  on the ordinary man or woman. It was also a period of  reconstruction and progressive planning, of change and alteration. Something of this new optimism entered the arts encouraged fresh developments. Joan Eardley took off for Catterline from Edinburgh as soon as news came through  of a storm approaching. Others made St Ives in Cornwall their base. A new formal and decorative strength entered art, partly inspired by the work of Maisse and Picasso. This was shown to good effect in the  1951 Festival of Britain. By July 1957 Prime Minister Harold MacMillan announced:  ‘Let us be frank about it: most of our people have never had it so good.’


Tickets on sale to Festival Patrons on 29 April and Festival Friends on 7 May.  Become a Festival Friend or Patron to access the priority booking period.

Public booking opens on 13 May.

St. George's Guildhall

King Street, King’s Lynn, Norfolk PE30 1EU

St George's Guildhall is the largest surviving medieval guildhall in England - boasting many original and rare medieval features. The first theatre production was in 1442 and was officially reopened after an ambitious restoration in 1951, marking the start of the first King’s Lynn Festival.

Car Parking
The nearest parking for the Guildhall is on the Tuesday Market Place or behind the Corn Exchange on Common Staithe Quay.  Please note: Charges apply 24 hours a day, including for Blue Badge holders. lease ensure you pay the correct fee.  Current charges are available on the borough council website:

There are stairs to the auditorium with access for those with restricted mobility via a stair climber.  For further accessibility information please contact the box office on 01553 764864

All of our Guildhall festival events have reserved seats.  The following seating plan is to be used as a guide only – for further details please contact the box office.

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