Alan Sorrell: reconstructing the past

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The Sir John Soane’s Museum in London has been hosting an exhibition Alan Sorrell – A Life Reconstructed (ed. Sacha Llewellyn and Richard Sorrell; Sansom & Company, 2013). The excellent illustrated catalogue contains a number of essays:

  • Richard Sorrell: Introduction: a portrait of my father
  • Peyton Skipwith, The Royal College of Art & the 1930s: developing a sense of design and form
  • Sacha Llewellyn, The British School at Rome 1928-1930: ‘The stirring up process’
  • Brian Foss: Alan Sorrell’s war, 1939-46: a view from above
  • Alan Powers, Murals and public paintings: ‘community service’
  • Sara Perry and Matthew Johnson, Alan Sorrell as reconstruction artist: making ‘dry bones live’
  • Richard Sorrell, Travels and direct-observational painting
  • Ian Sanders, Chronology

There are some unexpected images: Sudanese Express Passing Abu Simbel (1961), Construction of a Runway at an Aerodrome (1946), Istanbul: the wall of Manuel Comnenus (1954). The final section showing covers from his volumes of reconstructions reminds us of the legacy of Sorrell.

Author: David Gill

David Gill is Honorary Professor in the Centre for Heritage at the University of Kent, and Honorary Research Fellow in the School of History and an Academic Associate in SISJAC at UEA; Professor of Archaeological Heritage.

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