The Omega Workshops (2)

I have been reflecting on the exhibition at Charleston about the Omega Workshops. The traditional view of the Omega Workshops is that it was somewhat amateurish – a group of well-to-do artists experimenting with the decorative arts and interior design in a way that was commercially unsuccessful. But what comes across is that it was a big and ambitious enterprise, occupying Roger Fry in the middle phase of his life and offering a bespoke service across the full range of household goods – carpets, screens, chairs, ceramics. The exhibition makes one adjust one’s view not just of the Omega Workshops, but of the role of Fry in making it happen, even if it ended, as it did, in commercial failure.

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5 thoughts on “The Omega Workshops (2)

  1. edward chaney says:

    It’s an irony that the then (relatively) young turk Wyndham Lewis pulled out half the most talented members of the group (to form the Rebel Art Centre) partly because he thought Fry had diddled him out of a commission but partly also because he didn’t think this ‘family party of strayed and Dissenting Aesthetes’ were robustly modernist enough; yet he ended up as a pioneering anti-modernist, writing a book called The Demon of Progress in the Arts…

  2. Well-to-do, yes. But not amateurish. Roger Fry was a serious artist and writer, and if Duncan Grant was rather less talented, Charleston makes it clear that they were an
    interesting and talented group.

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