Dorothy Morland



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This is the first full-length biography of Dorothy Morland (1906–99), to date the only female director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London. Based on unpublished letters and other archival sources, as well as interviews and personal recollections, this book traces her busy private and public life from the 1930s up until the 1990s. It tells the story of one of the unacknowledged contributors to the success of the ICA and to the understanding of the international avant garde in post-war Britain. As a female arts administrator, Dorothy Morland’s work has been largely overlooked, and this book aims to highlight her significant contribution to the public understanding of modernism. She was part of a network which included the Surrealist Roland Penrose, art critic Herbert Read, architect Jane Drew and wealthy philanthropists, Peter Gregory and Peter Watson. She was also the protector and advocate for the Independent Group. Dorothy Morland always mixed business with pleasure (dancing with Picasso in Antibes while there on ICA business), and tirelessly oversaw the chaotic organisation that was the ICA in Dover Street from 1950 until 1968. After leaving the ICA she worked hard on assembly the organisation’s archives and securing their safekeeping at Tate.

'With her characteristic sensitivity to socioeconomic context and questions of gender and class, Massey seeks to intercept the male-dominated narratives that have come to frame the formation of the ICA. In her new book, she again takes the patrilineage of art history to task by drawing attention to an overlooked – but highly influential – female administrator and director. [...] In fact, it is this layering of the author’s academic career with the professional life of her protagonist that truly animates the text ' Rosie Ram, Art History

'The book is remarkable for the way in which it interweaves a detailed account of Morland’s life with the early history of the ICA and a broad network of artists and art professionals... [Dorothy Morland Making ICA History] provides a welcome and captivating history of one of the most intriguing chapters in modern British art.'
Elena Crippa, The Burlington Magazine

Author Information

Professorial Fellow at the University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury.