Drawing room

Covid has been great for drawing

Amid the greatly exaggerated reports of the death of painting issued and reissued over the course of the past century, nobody thought to check on the health of drawing, perhaps because what artists did in the privacy of their own studios was considered to be no one else’s business. Drawing wasn’t a saleable commodity. Yes, Hockney’s portrait drawings attracted admiration, but most artists kept their scribbles to themselves. Then about 20 years ago, just after Saatchi’s 1997 Sensation exhibition seemed to have consigned all traditional art forms to the bin of history, it was noticed that drawing was alive and, if not kicking, showing unmistakable signs of continued health. It

The mediums who pioneered abstract art

In the 1850s Britain was hit by an epidemic likened by The Illustrated London News to a ‘grippe or the cholera morbus’. It came from America rather than China and afflicted the mind rather than the body. The craze for table-turning was sparked in Hydesville, New York, in 1848 after two young sisters, Maggie and Kate Fox, claimed to hear mysterious rappings in the floor of the family home and attributed them to a spirit called Mr Splitfoot. Epidemics are by nature democratic, respecting neither education nor class. Eminent naturalists, scientists, novelists and social reformers were gripped by the grippe. When unseen forces such as electromagnetic waves were being discovered,