Bank Holiday in the Park

William Roberts, Bank Holiday in the Park, 1923
© The Estate of John David Roberts

'The cubistic figures of William Roberts [are] apparently remote from anything like naturalism . . . Yet, observed with the intention of finding the essential simplicities of nature under the masquerade of cylindrical convention, there is evidence enough that these brilliantly transformed men and women are in every crowd through which we pass; gesture, pose, grimace come to seem, as in all good caricature, more real than the original reality, and the violent attack of the method is seen to cover subtleties that could only have been developed by intimate study of the contemporary scene.'
Elisabeth Luther Carey, New York Times, 6 September 1931

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'For more than 60 years William Roberts pursued his course without any apparent hesitation or second thoughts. The continuity, the sustained gaze on an England progressing from hobble skirt to mini skirt is remarkable. Roberts was more than a single-minded styliser, though. He composed his pictures with a marvellous thoroughness. He was wise to the absurdities of the human condition; murderous instincts and reflex greed. His paintings both confer dignity and poke fun.'
William Feaver, The Observer, 5 October 1980

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'Early in life Roberts discovered the narrow range of subjects he wished to represent.'
John Rothenstein, Modern English Painters, vol. 2: Lewis to Moore (1956)

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'If subjects taken from War, Rural Life, Modern Town Life, Greek Mythology, Christian Mythology can be called narrow, I would be interested to know Rothenstein's definition of a wide range.'
William Roberts, A Reply to My Biographer Sir John Rothenstein (1957)

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Unless otherwise indicated, all images and writings by William Roberts reproduced on this website are copyright the Estate of John David Roberts and are reproduced by permission of the William Roberts Society.