XXXV (35) Art
1970 Richard Smith exhibition showing Clairol Wall, 1967 (left)
© The British Council Archive
Lilian Somerville, who had been the Director of the Fine Arts Department since 1949 retired at the end of this year's Biennale. Somerville had joined the British Council at the beginning of the war. After the war, she served briefly as Head of the Fine Arts section within the Visual Arts Department, before being appointed Director of the newly named Fine Arts Department in 1949. Her achievements over two decades were summed up in an article by the painter Patrick Heron, published on the occasion of her retirement:
The enormously successful intervention in promoting British art overseas would never have been achieved, and certain reputations enjoyed by British artists today might well have suffered... but for Lilian Somerville and her positively ferocious tenacity of purpose.
Selection Committee: Norman Reid, Alan Bowness, Norbert Lynton, David Thompson, Lilian Somerville (British Council).
Commissioner: Lilian Somerville (British Council).