Speedway, the First Corner, late 1930s

SKU: 66

Oil on canvas, 18 x 14 in. (45.8 x 35.6 cm.)


Height – 45.8cm x Width – 35.6cm


the artist’s family

Provenance: the artist’s family

When Holland, a keen motorcyclist himself, painted this image, Speedway was at the height of its popularity. Brought over to Britain by Australian riders in 1928, the sport took Britain by storm, with over 300 tracks being built in the 1930s alone. Each race lasted for four laps and was contested by two riders, the home side wearing red and blue and the away team, yellow and white.

The futurist idiom, which Holland has used to great effect, was an ideal choice for a subject celebrating noise and speed. The reclining figure, painting the starting blocks, suggests an element of self-portraiture. The image brings to mind the poster designs of Edward McKnight Kauffer (1890-1954).

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Dudley Holland
1915 - 1956

Painter, muralist, designer, printmaker and teacher whose work had a Neo-Romantic tinge and a strong sense of design. Holland was educated at Kingston Grammar School, Chelsea, and Willesden School of Art. He was awarded an exhibition to the Royal College of Art, 1936, which he refused, preferring to paint on his own. He taught design, painting and drawing at Willesden, Harrow and Goldsmiths. He was appointed principal of York School of Art in 1949, and Guildford School of Arts and Crafts in 1951. His mural commissions included decorations for Cunard Line, as well as schools and libraries. He exhibited at the RA from 1937, also with NEAC, LG and Redfern Gallery and in touring shows. In 1950 he shared an exhibition with Austin Wright at York City Art Gallery, which holds his work, as does the Arts Council. Holland was killed in a road accident.

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