Social Restoration

Burberry’s new show venue, the Old Sessions House in Clerkenwell, London, opens to the public for the first time with an exhibition of some of the 20th century’s leading social and documentary photographers, linked to the launch of the fashion brand’s September collection. Held over three floors of the newly-restored venue, Here We Are features more than 200 works by figures such as Dafydd Jones, Bill Brandt, Brian Griffin, Shirley Baker, Jane Bown, Martin Parr, Jo Spence, Ken Russell, Charlie Phillips, Karen Knorr, Janette Beckman and Andy Sewell. A presentation of pieces by Alasdair McLellan, who Burberry has announced as its latest creative collaborator, is also included in the show, with over 70 photographs. They include four bodies of work taken in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, alongside previously unseen images.

Notable highlights include never-before-seen prints by Shirley Baker and Ken Russell as well as Karen Knorr’s portrayal of Belgravia in 1979, Charlie Phillips’s photographs of his local Notting Hill community and Brian Griffin’s unconventional portraits of British businessmen. Curated by Christopher Bailey, president and chief creative officer, Burberry, and Lucy Kumara Moore, writer, curator and director of Claire de Rouen, as well as McLellan, Here We Are is divided into themes which reflect different aspects of the British way of life. The venue, Old Sessions House is an 18th-century Grade II* listed building, for which construction started in 1779. It opened for use in 1782 as Middlesex Sessions House and was once the largest courthouse in England. Its Palladian architecture and Portland stone façade has itself attracted the attention of artists over the years.

Here We Are runs until 1 October at Old Sessions House, London. For more information:

1. Daffyd Jones, Magdalen Commemoration Ball, Oxford, 1988.