London's New Scene Art and Culture in the 1960s Lisa Tickner

Publication date:
09 Jun 2020
Paul Mellon Centre
416 pages: 254 x 190mm
80 color + 120 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

A groundbreaking and extensively researched account of the 1960s London art scene

In the 1960s, London became a vibrant hub of artistic production. Postwar reconstruction, jet air travel, television arts programs, new color supplements, a generation of young artists, dealers, and curators, the influx of international film companies, the projection of “creative Britain” as a national brand—all nurtured and promoted the emergence of London as “a new capital of art.” Extensively illustrated and researched, this book offers an unprecedented, rich account of the social field that constituted the lively London scene of the 1960s. In clear, fluent prose, Tickner presents an innovative sequence of critical case studies, each of which explores a particular institution or event in the cultural life of London between 1962 and 1968. The result is a kaleidoscopic view of an exuberant decade in the history of British art.

Lisa Tickner is an honorary professor at the Courtauld Institute of Art and University of London and professor emerita of art history, Middlesex University.

“[E]loquent moments are investigated and analysed in a style that reminds us of the author’s academic credentials, at the same time as showing a wide and warm immersion in her subject and a generous range of reference.”—Julia Sutherland, Financial Times 

“A scholarly, beautifully constructed survey of the London art scene of the 1960s that focuses on a fascinating cast of glamorous characters and gritty drama, with much that resonates with today's art world”—Hettie Judah, Art Newspaper

“Tickner unpicks the myths of London’s Pop Art counterculture, investigating the transformational moments that allowed the avant-garde to flourish.”—Holly Black, Elephant magazine

“[A] handsome new volume, well-illustrated…which tells of the emergence of London as an international art scene, during the years that followed World War II”—Edward Lucie-Smith, ArtLyst

“Tickner’s case studies range across institutions and events, from films and exhibitions to books and even protests.”—Dance Gazette

“Lisa Tickner takes an in-depth look at the conditions that made 1960s London such a vibrant cultural hub.”—The Arts Society Magazine, ‘Best Books for June’

“The YBA years had nothing on the London art scene of the '60s…Tickner offers a fresh account…through a series of original case studies.”—Apollo Magazine

“[A] comprehensive survey of the burgeoning art scene in London 60 years ago, taking in everyone from Gilbert & George to David Hockney”—The Herald

London’s New Scene is full of unfamiliar material and original ideas…packed with information and reflection, [it] will prove invaluable to students and scholars but is written with a lightness of touch that will also appeal to the general reader.”—Art Daily 

“Chapters include examinations of Ken Russell’s seminal TV documentary Pop Goes the Easel, the influence of the Kasmin Gallery (the original white cube) and Michelangelo Antonioni’s film Blow Up, which perfectly captured the look and feel of the times. Well written and copiously illustrated, this is about as perfect a biography of a decade as you could wish for.”—Henry Walt, The Artist


London's New Scene is thus at once a corrective and an act of reappropriation. Our current reading of the 1960s comes from the populism of its initial writing, or, perhaps, packaging. All this needs careful unpicking, and Tickner provides it.”—Charles Darwent, Times Literary Supplement

“Collectively, the texts represent one of the most imaginative sources on the 1960s London art world.”—Anne Massey, The Burlington Magazine

“This richly illustrated book about the emergence of London as an international art scene is as much social history as art book. Besides bringing very precise details and perspective to key moments and subjects of the period, what it demonstrates clearly is that Sixties London was the crucible from which the new notion of a creative Britain emerged.”—Charlotte Gould, Cercles

“An exceptionally well-researched and extensive study.”—Paul Flux, Albion Magazine