Building of Britain

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Completed in 1927, this was the last mural painting scheme for the Palace of Westminster. Eight paintings were commissioned from the artists Monnington, Rothenstein, Lawrence, Forbes, Gill, Philpot, Sims and Clausen. Historical advice was supplied by Sir Henry Newbolt, and the artists being supervised by Sir David Young Cameron. ‘The Building of Britain’ brought together images important to the development of the Nation. These included the importance of naval defence, and of transporting expeditions overseas, both essential for an island race; the nobles who protested against oppression; the long struggle for religious freedom; the daring adventure to find the New World in the Elizabethan age; the start of English influence in India; and the union of Scotland and England in 1707. The bold colours and simplicity of line were intended as part of a new direction in mural painting which strove to break with the traditions of the past. They received critical acclaim, being considered well suited for public art.