School Room

MODERN BRITISH (20th Century ) Biography

School Room (Scotland, 1927)

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Tempera on canvas
Signed A. Miller Parker and dated 1927 lower left


61.00cm high
45.50cm wide
(24.02 inches high)
(17.91 inches wide)
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Private Collection, Washington, D.C.

Exhibition History

London, Godfery Phillips Galleries, The NEO Society: 1st Exhibition, 9 May - 7 June 1930, number 45

Description / Expertise

The School Room represents an art class at Maltman's Green School in Gerrard's Cross, where Agnes Miller Parker had begun to teach in 1920 after she had resigned her post as `instructress' at the Glasgow School of Art. She and her husband, the artist William McCance, lived in Earl's Court where they found themselves in the middle of a post-war artistic revolution. They befriended an exciting and innovative group of artists and writers including William Roberts, who, in 1924, rented a room in their house.
The School Room conveys William Roberts's influence over her work, where his unique sculpturally volumetric figures are in contrast to Wyndham Lewis's angular forms. Agnes Miller Parker paints her pupils hard at work with paint pots, crayons and paper in a dynamic maze of interlocked forms. Arms and legs, tables and chairs jut out from every direction in a struggle of conflicting geometrical shapes. Futuristic colours glow and interact. Ezra Pound had first coined the term `Vorticism', suggesting that the temper of the times was an immense `moral vortex'. Parker uses a spiralling force to emphasise the sheer enthusiasm and intense vitality of activity in the classroom. Agnes Miller Parker's talent was unquestionably the most promising phenomena of contemporary Scotland in regard to art. (Hugh McDiarmid, Contemporary Scottish Studies, 1925.)