For the past 500 years Britain, and British art, have been shaped by successive waves of migration.
Elements thought of as most typically British - landscape painting, for instance - were introduced by foreign artists, attracted by the promise of lucrative commissions.
European academic painters and British artists who travelled to study in Italy helped introduce a neoclassical vocabulary to British painting.
In the second half of the nineteenth century American artists like James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent trained and exhibited in Paris before settling in London, while French artists such as Henri Fantin-Latour and Alphonse Legros made regular visits to England.
The east London Jewish diaspora produced a number of significant artists in the early twentieth century, including David Bomberg, Jacob Epstein and Mark Gertler.
Refugees from the rise of Fascism in Europe in the 1930s included Naum Gabo, Oskar Kokoschka, Piet Mondrian and Kurt Schwitters.
Artists who made their way to Britain from countries in the former British Empire included Frank Bowling, Rasheed Araeen and Aubrey Williams. In the 1970s the rise of conceptual art saw a generation of artists like David Medalla, David Lamelas and Gustav Metzger who were international in their attitude to their work and their own identity.
The charged socio-political climate of the 1980s challenged artists like Black Audio Film Collective, Keith Piper, Sonia Boyce, Donald Rodney to explore being both 'Black' and 'British'.
Finally, London's current position as an international hub, a cultural meeting point in a constant process of reinvention, sees artists like Peter Doig, Steve McQueen, Wolfgang Tillmans and Tris Vonna Michell networked globally as never before.
Including artist interviews, texts by leading curators and critics, extensive illustrations and a timeline, this important book tells the previously hidden story of the vital part migration has played in the shaping of British art and culture.
- Format: Paperback / softback
- Pages: 128 pages, 60 colour
- Publisher: Tate Publishing
- Publication Date: 13/01/2012
- Category: History of art / art & design styles
- ISBN: 9781849760072