Tate Archive

Exhibition marking 50 years of the Tate Archive delves deep into 20th century British art

Image: Derek Jarman, Pages from A blueprint for Bliss, 1989 Sketchbook © 2018 The Keith Collins Will Trust / Derek Jarman [1989]

A new display to mark Tate Archive’s 50th anniversary features items from over 100 collections, focusing in particular on the 20th century.

Tate Archive is 50: A Journey through the World’s Largest Archive of British Art explores artworks and artefacts ranging from 1600 to the present day, with material selected for each year from 1900-1999 to fully immerse visitors into the last century of UK art.

Sketchbooks and preparatory drawings sit alongside unpublished photographs and letters in a show curated by Tate archivist Adrian Glew and the gallery group’s archive team – Andrey Lazarev, Clare Sexton, Darragh O’Donoghue, Derek Rice, Federica Berretta, Nastasia Alberti, Peter Eaves and Victoria Jenkins.

What to look out for

The diverse show plays host to a plethora of items rarely seen before, including:

  • Derek Jarman’s handcrafted sketchbook A blueprint for Bliss (1989)
  • Sketchbook 1 (1982-83) by Donald Rodney
  • Materials from The Thin Black Line, one of three important exhibitions curated by Lubaina Himid in the early 1980s
  • Recently discovered 1940s photographs of paintings and sculptures by abstract artist Marlow Moss
  • S. Lowry’s Mill at Farnworth, 1921
  • Jamaican-born sculptor Ronald Moody’s original typescript for An Exile Looks Back
  • First World War medals belonging to sculptor Julian Phelps Allan OBE

As per the new industry norm, visitors must book a timed ticket in advance to visit the new anniversary display at Tate Britain, which will run until next autumn.