Welcome to The Higgins

Contact us

The Higgins Bedford

Castle Lane
MK40 3XD

t: 01234 718618

f: 01234 718619

e: thehiggins@bedford.gov.uk

Contact Us >

You are here: Home Page / Exhibitions-1 / Past Exhibitions / The Unknown Artist 2010

The Unknown Artist 2010

detail of sketch for Hyde Park, Stanley Lewis

Share this page


The Unknown Artist: Stanley Lewis and his Contemporaries

12th June - 5th September 2010 at Bedford Gallery


Born in 1905, Stanley Lewis was described as one of the most important artists of his generation. From his time at the Royal College of Art (1925-30), Lewis continued to paint every day until his death in 2009 at the age of 103. This was the first major exhibition of this talented but little-known artist, held alongside works from the Cecil Higgins Collection by Lewis’ tutors, friends and influences, including William Rothenstein, Augustus John and Stanley Spencer.


Stanley Lewis’ work belongs in a category of traditional art created by men and women who were the contemporaries of the first generation of modern artists in Britain. In this art, drawing is seen as the foundation of truth. Students in British art schools in the 1920s came at the end of this long tradition of teaching; gaining a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, Stanley flourished under the tutorship and friendship of, among others, William Rothenstein.


Stanley Lewis turned down the offer of contracts from art dealers and galleries during his lifetime, preferring to work without constraints on what he should produce, choosing instead to earn a much-needed income through teaching. Asked aged 103 if he was ready for his first ever show, Stanley puffed on his cigar and with a faint chuckle replied, “I think I am ready”. Shortly before he died he wrote “when my exhibition is up and running, open a good bottle of champagne and celebrate…no doubt I will be there in spirit to keep an eye on things”.


This exhibition was organised in partnership with Liss Fine Art.



Monday 7th June 2010 - Feature in The Telegraph


Thursday 10th June 2010 - Feature in The Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/portrait-of-an-unknown-artist-stanley-lewis-1996649.html