Sweet Toof in private collections
Historical Context of United Kingdom
Britain has been an important centre for artistic production for centuries. While it gained vast wealth from colonisation and the ascent of its Empire, it was also exposed to the cultural supremacy of other countries and continents. In the modern period, Britain had been to a great extent eclipsed by the importance 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 centre in the development of the avant-garde. This includes the Arts and Crafts Movement, a cutting-edge movement setting the tone for artist-led organisations, guilds and organisational co-operative types that would later develop into a template of sorts for bohemian artists movements of the Twentieth Century. Important artistic movements that epitomize British modernism include for instance Vorticism, involving artists associated with the Bloomsbury group. Some significant British artists of the modern and contemporary period 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.