Sickert and the Art of Music Hall



Alison Young will be giving this year’s NEAC Annual Lecture, ‘Sickert and the Art of Music Hall’, sponsored by Panter & Hall.

"In my forthcoming NEAC lecture, I will be looking at the history of the music halls and Sickert’s interactions with them; examining the lives of some of the performers in his works; and the artists working in sheet music and black-and-white illustration, many of whom Sickert admired" - Alison Young

When Sickert first exhibited at the New English Art Club in 1888, he displayed ‘Gatti’s Hungerford Palace of Varieties. Second Turn of Katie Lawrence’ (pictured). The critical reception this work met was similar to that which had greeted the exhibition of ‘Le Mammoth Comique’ at the Suffolk Street Galleries the year before. These are some of the words that populated the reviews of both pictures: vulgar, eccentric, unexpected, astonishing, grotesque, roaring, coarse, commonplace and tawdry. Why were Sickert’s paintings so badly received at the time and why did they provoke such an indignant reaction?

Alison Young is a former solicitor, writer and researcher of Music Hall (having been inspired by family connections to performers) as well as the Secretary of the British Music Hall Society. She blogs at and is working towards a book on the subject.

Sponsored by Panter & Hall

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Tickets are free with gallery admission and must be booked in advance. Book for 2:30pm on Wednesday 30 June, to make sure you are in the gallery in time for the talk to start.

Image: Walter Sickert, Gatti’s Hungerford Palace of Varieties. Second Turn of Katie Lawrence. Photo: Yale University Art Gallery