Michaela McManus in private collections
Historical Context of United Kingdom
The UK has been an important centre for artistic production for centuries. While it accumulated vast wealth from colonisation and the ascent of its Empire, it was also exposed to the cultural supremacy of other countries and continents. Throughout the contemporary period, Britain had been to a great extent overshadowed by the status of its European neighbours on one side, and of the United States on the other. But in the late 19th century, Britain became a significant focal point in the development of the avant-garde. This includes the Arts and Crafts Movement, a major movement paving the way for artist-led organisations, groups and organisational co-operative types that would later become into a template of sorts for bohemian artists movements of the Twentieth Century. Ground-breaking artistic movements in British modernism include for example Vorticism, comprised of artists part of the Bloomsbury group. Some noteworthy British artists of the modern and contemporary era include Stanley Spencer, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Leon Kossoff, Frank Auerbach, David Hockney, Bridget Riley, Paula Rego - and in more recent years the YBA generation led by Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Marc Quinn, Chris Ofili and others.