Bexhill De La Warr Pavilion Lecture Series


Thursday 5, 12, 19 and 26 May.


£11.00 per lecture, members £10 per lecture, £40 for the whole series

Sussex is a county in which many of the leading writers, artists, composers, architects and patrons of British Modernism lived at key moments of their lives: Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant at Charleston; Virginia and Leonard Woolf at Rodmell; Roland Penrose and Lee Miller at Farley Farm; Eric Gill and David Jones at Ditchling. From Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff’s De La Warr Pavilion at Bexhill to Basil Spence’s University of Sussex at Falmer, Sussex is also rich in modernist architecture. In this series of four lectures, academics from the University of Sussex explored the influence of Sussex on the development of British Modernism and the influence of modernism on Sussex.

Thursday 5th May – Alistair Davies: Modernism in Sussex  

Many of the leading writers, artists, composers, architects and patrons of British Modernism lived in Sussex at key moments of their lives. Sussex is also rich in modernist architecture, most notably the iconic De La Warr Pavilion at Bexhill. Why Sussex? The lecture explored the reasons for this remarkable concentration in one county and describe the inter-connection between very different experimental writers and artists.

Thursday 12th May – Hope Wolf: Sussex Modernism and Public Art  

This lecture was interested in the scale and ambition of modernist artworks created in Sussex. It explored the ideas underpinning the making of public art and architecture. It included a discussion of the De La Warr Pavilion, and considered artwork in churches and other institutions, including the University of Sussex. Monumental spatial interventions were contrasted with smaller scale transformations of space – in the home, and in individual literary and artistic works.

Thursday 19th May – Alistair Davies: The Two Keiths: Keith Vaughan and Keith Douglas

The painter and photographer Keith Vaughan and the poet Keith Douglas (who was brought up in Bexhill) were both educated at Christ’s Hospital in West Sussex. They both explored in very different and distinctive ways the possibilities of masculine identity in the 1930s and during the Second World War. The lecture brought these two remarkable figures together in illuminating contrast.

Thursday 26th May: Hope Wolf: Sussex Modernism and the Coast  

Why in Sussex did modernism take the particular forms that it did? While there are many answers to this question, this lecture focused on topography, and particularly on the way in which the coast featured in modernist artistic and literary works created in Sussex. It explored connections between Surrealism and the sea, and also the way in which looking out to, and listening out for, Europe – especially in the context of wartime ¬ impacted upon how Sussex was imagined and represented. The lecture included a discussion of the Edward Wadsworth’s mural at Bexhill.

For more information please see the De La Warr Pavilion website:

The talks were presented by the Centre for Modernist Studies at the University of Sussex. For more on Sussex Modernism and the Centre for Modernist Studies please see: