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 an Academic Associate in SISJAC at UEA; Professor of Archaeological Heritage.

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