Cliff Holden

The Borough Group

Cliff Holden met David Bomberg at the City Literary Institute in London in 1944. Holden then followed Bomberg, in the way of an apprentice, wherever he was teaching - first at the Borough Polytechnic (now the London South Bank University) and then at the Bartlett School of Architecture.

As a result of discussions with David Bomberg, Cliff Holden conceived the idea of the Borough Group which was established in 1946. Other founder members of the Group were Edna Mann, Dorothy Mead, and Peter Richmond. Holden was nominated and elected the first President of the Group during 1946-48. The Borough Group was active for five years until disbanding in 1951, by which time they had organised more than seven exhibitions. The purpose of the Borough Group was to work out the ideas that Bomberg promoted, and provide a platform for furthering those ideas.

The Borough Group started in 1946 and disbanded in 1951. The idea of the Group arose out of conversations between Cliff Holden and David Bomberg during the years 1944 and 1945.

Holden responded to Bomberg's paintings which he had seen in London Group exhibitions. What he came to recognise was that Bomberg's attitude to the creative act and the way he taught his practice were unique:-

"There was nothing like this happening in London, in Paris, nor New York at that time. This was proved some 10 years later during the middle fifties, when American Action Painting, Tachism, and the New Abstract Expressionism reached London. Bomberg anticipated these movements, often using the same kind of terminology. But, compared to the American influence, Bomberg's ideas were much more fundamental and profound, which made possible a development outside the usual controversy surrounding the question of figuration or abstraction."

To read a full history of the Borough Group see The History of the Borough Group.

[Page last updated: 22nd January 2021]

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