Chronology of William Roberts

and his Family

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[Last revised 1 January 2024]

The Artist at His Easel with a Painting of John and Sarah

The Artist at His Easel with a Painting of John and Sarah, 1937–8
© The Estate of John David Roberts
Reproduced with the permission of the William Roberts Society

Only solo exhibitions and the most important other exhibitions of William Roberts's work are included in this chronology. For a fuller list of exhibitions in which his work has been featured, click here. It has not been possible to establish precise dates for some events, so the order in which events are listed for particular years may not be accurate.

5 June: William Patrick Roberts is born at 44 Blackstone Road, London Fields, Hackney, London E8, the second of four children (three sons and a daughter) of Edward Roberts, a carpenter/handyman, and his wife, Emily, née Collins, who were both from Islington in London. By the time the time William entered school, in October 1898, the family had moved to 4 Blanchard Road, E8, and at the time of the 1911 census they were living at 20 London Fields West Side, E8.

The streets in Hackney where the young William Roberts lived and went to school. His parents had married in the church at bottom right in 1890. In 1970–75 the Blackstone Estate was built where Blackstone Road and Blanchard Road used to be.

Attends Gayhurst Road School, E8.
29 July: Sarah Kramer – later Sarah Roberts – is born in Russia to Jewish parents, Max and Cecilia Kramer; her brother is the artist Jacob Kramer (1892–1962). By 1904 the family has emigrated to Leeds, where Max works as a photographer.
WR's school allows him to spend extra time on art classes.
Attends Queen's Road School (now Queensbridge Road Primary School), E8, for additional art classes.
Leaves school and is apprenticed in the poster-designing and advertising department of the stationery and printing company Sir Joseph Causton & Sons, in Eastcheap, EC3.
Attends evening classes run by William Robins at St Martin's School of Art, Endell Street, WC2.
Wins a London County Council (LCC) scholarship to study art at the Slade School, WC1, remaining there for three years and becoming friends with fellow students Jacob Kramer and David Bomberg.
Contributes a panel showing carpenters at work, painted in egg tempera, to decorations for the walls of a girls club in Lillie Road, Fulham, SW6.
Awarded an internal Slade scholarship worth £35 p.a.
Enters a design, The Legend of Cuchulain, for a mural competition in connection with an 'Exhibition of Designs for Mural Painting and for the Decoration of Schools and Other Buildings' at Crosby Hall, Chelsea, in June.

Slade staff and students at a picnic in 1912 (click to enlarge). Roberts is the figure in the hat alongside the man with the dog in the front row. On the other side of the man with the dog is Stanley Spencer. Slightly in front of Roberts on the other side from the man with the dog is Mark Gertler, and on the other side of him is C. R. W. Nevinson. Dora Carrington is the woman in the front row at the left of the photo; kneeling at the far left is Isaac Rosenberg. The shirt-sleeved figure in the back row is David Bomberg, and standing next to him with arms folded is Professor Fred Brown.

Summer: Stays with Cyril Butler (a friend of Slade professor Henry Tonks) at Bourton House near Shrivenham, Berkshire.
First commission – from Cyril Butler for a portrait and six drawings of London markets (only two of which were completed).
Awarded the Slade's Melvill Nettleship Prize for figure composition.
Leaves the Slade; travels in France and Italy.
Autumn: Borrows a room at 18 Cumberland Market, just east of Regent's Park, NW1, and paints his first 'abstract' pictures.

Cumberland Market in the early twentieth century

Recommended by Laurence Binyon of the British Museum print room to Roger Fry; starts work at Fry's Omega Workshops in Fitzroy Square, W1, 'painting designs on paper knives, lampshades, tabletops and silk scarves, three mornings a week at a salary of a half-sovereign a visit' (Roberts, Early Years).
December: His oil painting The Return of Ulysses is exhibited with the New English Art Club, in the Royal Society of British Artists Galleries, Suffolk Street, SW1.
January: Exhibits with Roger Fry's Grafton Group at the Alpine Club Gallery, Mill Street, W1.
Meets Wyndham Lewis; leaves the Omega Workshops and joins the circle of Lewis, Edward Wadsworth, Frederick Etchells and Cuthbert Hamilton.
May–June: Exhibits eight works in the exhibition 'Twentieth-Century Art: A Review of Modern Movements' at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, E1.

The catalogue of the exhibition 'Twentieth-Century Art: A Review of Modern Movements' at the Whitechapel Gallery

June: Contributes two illustrations – Dancers and Religion – to the first issue of Blast – the Review of the Great English Vortex (published 2 July) – and Wyndham Lewis prints his name as a signatory to the Vorticist manifesto. In a letter in The Observer of 14 June 1914, Roberts is among the Vorticists who dissociate themselves from Marinetti's Futurist manifesto published there a week earlier.

The cover of Blast no. 1

4 August 1914: Britain declares war on Germany during the start of the First World War. Roberts, then living in Chalcot Crescent, NW1, continues working as an artist.
Autumn: Is among the young painters and sculptors accommodated by the hunger-marcher Stewart Gray in the house Gray rents at 8 Ormonde Terrace, by Primrose Hill and Regent's Park, NW8. In his Let There Be Sculpture (1940), Jacob Epstein describes how 'there was a life class at which I sometimes drew, and sometimes the artists, among others Roberts and Bomberg, a mysterious Indian artist, and some models, would have parties' there (ch. 11).
Is elected to the London Group. He exhibits with them in 1915, in the 1920s, and occasionally in the 1930s and '40s.
Sarah Kramer, staying with David Bomberg and his wife to visit her brother Jacob in London during the school holidays, meets WR with a group of Slade students in an ABC tea shop in Tottenham Court Road, W1.

Sarah Kramer in 1915

March: WR shows three works in the London Group exhibition at the Goupil Gallery, Regent Street, W1.
23 April: WR's cubist drawing of St George and the Dragon appears in the London Evening News.
June–July: Shows six works in the Vorticist exhibition at the Doré Gallery, New Bond Street, W1.

Poster for the First Vorticist Exhibition, Doré Gallery, London, June–July 1915

July: Contributes two illustrations to Blast no. 2: Combat and Drawing (Machine Gunners).
Works for some weeks in a munitions factory in Tufnell Park, NW5.
Late 1915 or early 1916: Fails to get accepted by the Artists Rifles.
4 April: Enlists in the Royal Field Artillery (RFA) as a gunner (no. 123744), having failed to join the Welch Regiment.
April: At 4th Depot RFA, Woolwich, London; then transferred to cavalry barracks at Weedon, Northamptonshire. Maintains contact with Sarah Kramer by letters.

Weedon Barracks, Northamptonshire, c.1915

August: Spends embarkation leave at the Hôtel de la Tour Eiffel, 1 Percy Street, W1; then reports to RFA Woolwich depot before in mid-August embarking for Le Havre.
With his unit, joins the 51st Brigade, RFA; takes a course in signalling.
Late August/early September: Joins the gun batteries of the 51st Brigade facing Vimy Ridge.
Late 1916?: Becomes an officer's batman for a time, including a week at Paris-Plage near Boulougne.
January–February: Four large 'abstract' works by Roberts that have been shipped to New York are exhibited at the Penguin Club's 'Exhibition of the Vorticists' there and are subsequently bought by the collector John Quinn. (Quinn died in 1924, and in 1927 his collection was sold; the whereabouts of these paintings by Roberts is now unknown.)

Catalogue of the Vorticist exhibition at the Penguin Club, January–February 1917

Early spring: Moves with the 51st Brigade to Arras.
Late autumn: Moves with the 51st Brigade to the Ypres sector, north of the Menin Ridge.
Late 1917: Receives a letter from a friend, Captain Guy Baker, suggesting application to Paul Konody, who is selecting artists to prepare war paintings for the Canadian War Records Office.
January: Two weeks' home leave, at Hackney and the Hôtel de la Tour Eiffel; then back to France to rejoin the 51st Brigade near Heudicourt.
Receives a letter dated 28 December 1917 from the Canadian War Records Office about painting battle pictures for the Canadian War Memorials Fund.
Early 1918: With the 51st Brigade on the Somme at Etinehem near Albert.

Roberts photographed at Etinehem, France, March 1918

April: While retreating with the 51st Brigade to Messines in the Ypres sector, receives a summons to return to England as an official war artist for the Canadian War Records Office.
20 April: Arrives back in London, and is then joined by Sarah Kramer.
May: Approached by the British Ministry of Information to paint a picture for the proposed Great War Hall of Remembrance.
Lives at 76 Grafton Street, W1, moving to 32 Percy Street, W1, in the summer.
June: Takes a six-month lease on 10 Chelsea Manor Studios, in Flood Street, SW3, to work on The First German Gas Attack at Ypres for the Canadian War Records Office.
Works on A Shell Dump, France for the Ministry of Information.
3 January–1 March: The First German Gas Attack at Ypres hangs with other Canadian-commissioned war paintings at the Royal Academy.
6 June: Sarah Kramer gives birth to Roberts's son, John David Roberts, at 54 Leigham Court Road, Streatham, SW16 – a maternity hospital run by the Mission of Hope, an organisation 'carried on for the reception of expecting Mothers (single women) of otherwise good character, and of respectable antecedents'. It was 'careful to take in only birth mothers who came from "decent" backgrounds, and particularly from a Christian home', though Sarah was from a Jewish family.
Prepares designs for Edith Sitwell's modernist anthology Wheels and a poster for Sacheverell Sitwell's 'French Art 1914–1919' exhibition.
Autumn: Designs three panels for the Hôtel de la Tour Eiffel.

An advertisement for the Hôtel de la Tour Eiffel, mentioning Roberts's designs, in The Tyro, 1, 2 (1922)

13 November: Demobilised.
Designs a cover for the December issue (no. 3) of the Coterie arts review.
December: A Shell Dump, France is included at the centre of an exhibition of war paintings at the Royal Academy, till February 1920.
March–April: Takes part in the Group X exhibition at the Mansard Gallery, Heal's, W1.

The poster (designed by E. McKnight Kauffer) for the Group X exhibition

Moves to Albany Street, NW1.
Moves to Mornington Crescent, NW1.
June–July: Shows four works on paper in an exhibition of 'Un Groupe de Peintres Modernes [Anglais]', organised by Robert Bevan and Charles Ginner, at Galerie Druet, Paris.
Prepares a design for the cover of the arts periodical Fanfare.
Moves to Edith Grove, SW10.

William Roberts (standing right) and Joseph Kramer (seated right) with others outside the Harlequin Tea Rooms, c.1922

28 June: Marries Sarah Kramer from 7 Springfield Mount, Leeds. They honeymoon in France.

Sarah Roberts in Paris, after her wedding in 1922

Sarah and John Roberts in 1922

Is commissioned by T. E. Lawrence ('Lawrence of Arabia') to make portrait drawings for the de-luxe edition of his book Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Lawrence's own portrait is painted by WR in a room at 2 Coleherne Terrace, Earl's Court, SW10. This room, rented from the artist William McCance, is used by WR as a studio until ? late 1924. Lawrence later writes of Roberts, 'He makes help difficult sometimes, and yet I feel that I would like the oyster if I had any tool strong enough to pry it open' (to Eric Kennington, 26 June 1923).

Moves to 18 Fitzroy Street, W1.
1923/4 Four-year-old John Roberts is dropped. He subsequently spends four years in hospital, eventually being operated on at the London Hospital by a surgeon named Milne, who receives a portrait of Sarah in payment.

Roberts in his studio c.1923 (with Girl in Mauve Hat (aka Sarah and The Violet Hat) on the easel)

November: First solo exhibition, at the Chenil Galleries, King's Road, SW3 – 'Paintings and Drawings by William Roberts'.
Commissioned by Frank Pick of London Underground to prepare a large hoarding (The History of the Omnibus) for the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley.
February: Writes from 18 Fitzroy Street to William McCance apologising for a bounced cheque for the rent of space at 2 Coleherne Terrace and saying that 'the financial position is such that I feel proud when I am able to produce the cash for the next days [sic] meals.'
Moves to 59 College Road (now Eton College Road), NW3.
Becomes a visiting teacher at the LCC Central School of Arts and Crafts, where he continues teaching until 1960, apart from most of the war years.
Around this time makes experiments with etching – perhaps through a link with the distinguished printmaker Agnes Miller Parker, who was married to William McCance, and/or the opportunity to use facilities at the Central School.
Contributes etchings to a Harold Monro chapbook.

Harold Monro's The Chapbook no. 40, in which three etchings by Roberts appeared

Through Sarah's friendship with Esther Lahr, begins to receive commissions for portraits of literary figures and for cover designs for the New Coterie magazine that Esther and her husband, Charles Lahr, run from their Progressive Bookshop in Red Lion Street, Holborn, WC1.
27 April: A reading of Liam O'Flaherty's new play Darkness takes place in WR's studio, to establish the English copyright. The amateur cast includes Sarah Roberts.
December: Publication of the de-luxe edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdom, including Roberts's portraits and tailpieces.
Joins the London Artists' Association.

An advertisement in the November 1927 issue of the Burlington Magazine

Prepares the jacket design for Rhys Davies's The Withered Root.
Holidays with his family at La Ciotat, near Cassis in the south of France.
July: Solo exhibition (sponsored by the London Artists' Association) at 163 New Bond Street.
In August visits Germany with Rhys Davies, H. E. Bates, Charles Lahr and others.
Solo exhibition (sponsored by the London Artists' Association) at the Cooling Galleries, New Bond Street, W1 – 'Paintings by William Roberts'.
Moves to 59 Haverstock Hill, NW3.
Late 1920s
Through his brother Michael, becomes part of a cosmopolitan social group including Paul de Zoysa, which he records in a number of pictures.
Early 1930s
Spends some summers at T. E. Lawrence's cottage Clouds Hill, in Dorset.

William and John Roberts at Clouds Hill in the early 1930s

Another solo exhibition (sponsored by the London Artists' Association) at the Cooling Galleries – 'Recent Paintings and Drawings by William Roberts'.
Wilfrid Evill, a solicitor and collector of modern British art, buys The Restaurant from the Cooling Galleries exhibition, going on to becoming a keen collector of Roberts's work over the next 30 years.
Shows work in the Venice Biennale.
The Robertses spend two–three weeks in a flat in Alicante, Spain, owned by the brother of family friend Agustín de Irízar, lecturer in Spanish at Leeds University. (Later, Roberts and Sarah attended several guitar festivals in that country but, according to John David Roberts in the 1993 Gillian Jason Gallery catalogue, 'He did not like Spain.')
Late 1933
The London Artists' Association is disbanded. Roberts transfers to the Lefevre Gallery, King Street, SW1.
The Chess Players 1929–30 sparks controversy when shown as part of an exhibition of a 'Loan Collection of Contemporary British Art', organised by the Empire Art Loan Collections Society at various venues in New Zealand and Australia.

The catalogue of the 'Loan Collection of Contemporary British Art' that toured New Zealand and Australia in 1934–5

Moves to 6 Provost Road, NW3.
February–March: Exhibition at the Lefevre Gallery – 'New Paintings and Drawings by William Roberts'.
March: Exhibition at the Lefevre Gallery – 'Paintings and Drawings by William Roberts'.
Shortly after the start of the Second World War on 3 September, leaves London, staying briefly at Lonacre, Beech Tree Road, Amersham; Flint Cottage Earl Howe Road, Holmer Green, near High Wycombe; 21 St Mary's Road, Headington, Oxford; and 40 Park Town, Oxford, before moving to 76 Copse Lane, Marston, Oxford, by early June 1940, remaining there until 1946 and teaching one day a week at the Oxford Technical School. He continues to teach at the Central School in London for a couple of days a week until spring (?) 1940.

76 Copse Lane, Marston – the right-hand first-floor maisonette – in 2018. The property was built in 1935, and had two bedrooms and a sitting-room, kitchen, bathroom and garden.

12 September: From Flint Cottage, Holmer Green, writes to 'Shearman' (Harold Shearman, of the Workers' Educational Association?) for advice on getting 'some pictorial propaganda work to do'.
16 December: Commissioned by the War Artists' Advisory Committee (WAAC) to produce six portrait drawings, for 10 guineas each.
February: To the great annoyance of the WAAC, aborts a planned trip to France to produce one of his commissioned portraits, citing travel difficulties. The number of portraits he is to draw is reduced to four.
May: Completes the last of his commissioned portraits.
June: After reporting that more war-artist work has been commissioned from WR, the Liverpool Daily Post of 20 June comments that 'He has another distinction. He has made a habit of paying his income-tax the day after receiving the demand note. This has been done, not from any ostentation, but because, with an artist's detachment, he believed that this was the usual and expected course. He had supposed that a note accompanying the receipt and congratulating him on his public spirit was also the usual thing.'
Collaborates with his son on the publication of two illustrated books of verse: Fantasy for Flute and Four Fables (published as by David Roberts).

The cover of Fantasy for Flute, by [John] David Roberts

January: Munitions Factory, commissioned by the War Artists' Advisory Committee, is included in the British Institute for Adult Education's first exhibition of war art for smaller provincial centres, which visits 24 venues between now and August 1943 and is seen by c.112,000 people.
November: The Control Room, Civil Defence Headquarters, also commissioned by the WAAC, is included in the British Institute for Adult Education's second exhibition of war art for smaller provincial centres, which also visits 24 venues between now and August 1943 and is seen by over 7,000 people.
July–August: Exhibition at the Redfern Gallery, Cork Street, W1 – 'William Roberts'.
October–November: Watercolour exhibition at the Leicester Galleries, Leicester Square, WC2 – 'Drawings in Colour by William Roberts'.
Ernest Cooper, the owner of a number of health-food shops, starts buying WR's work and becomes his principal patron, eventually owning 20 oils and 49 other works, mainly watercolours.
Moves to rented rooms at 14 St Mark's Crescent, backing on to the canal near Regent's Park, NW1.
Begins exhibiting at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (subsequently shows there every year until his death).
November: Exhibition at the Leicester Galleries, WC2 – 'New Drawings, Satirical and Otherwise by William Roberts'.
12 February: Bernard Meninsky, Roberts's friend and colleague at the Central School, dies.

(L to R) William Roberts, Sarah Roberts, Bernard Meninsky and an unknown woman, 1920s

The London Transport Board commissions a poster – London's Fairs – advertising fairs accessible by public transport.

As sole remaining sitting tenants of 14 St Mark's Crescent, the Robertses buy the house, with the help of Sarah's friend Victoria Kingsley. William, Sarah and – except for a few brief periods – John will live there for the rest of their lives.
Publishes The Resurrection of Vorticism and the Apotheosis of Wyndham Lewis at the Tate – the first of five 'Vortex Pamphlets' – in response to the exhibition 'Wyndham Lewis and Vorticism' at the Tate Gallery, London, which appears to present Vorticism as the creation of Lewis alone, with Roberts and other artists as mere disciples. (Subsequent Vortex Pamphlets appear later in 1956, in 1957 and in 1958.)

The catalogue for the Tate's exhibition 'Wyndham Lewis and Vorticism', which prompted Roberts's series of Vortex Pamphlets

September: Publication of Modern English Painters, vol. 2: Wyndham Lewis to Henry Moore by Sir John Rothenstein, director of the Tate Gallery. The chapter on Roberts prompts his fourth Vortex Pamphlet, A Reply to My Biographer Sir John Rothenstein (February 1957), in which he complains of errors and misrepresentations and also airs earlier grievances against the author.
21 March: The Listener publishes his reminiscences of Wyndham Lewis, who had died on the 7th.
19 August: David Bomberg, Roberts's friend from the Slade, dies.
Publishes Some Early Abstract and Cubist Work 1913–1920.
February: Exhibition at the Leicester Galleries, WC2 – 'Paintings and Drawings by William Roberts'.
25 April: Elected an Associate of the Royal Academy.
1959 Publishes My 'Trooping the Colour' and the Errors of the Daily Mail in response to criticisms of his picture Trooping the Colour in that year's Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

'Visnews filmed May 2 at London's historic Royal Academy artist William Roberts's £1,500 painting of the colourful and traditional Horse Guards ceremony Trooping the Colour – a painting that has shocked the Guards: There are 17 instances of improper dress in it.' (British Pathé)

Publishes Paintings 1917–1958 by William Roberts A.R.A.
Receives an award from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation 'in recognition of his artistic achievement and his outstanding service to British painting'.
Publishes William Roberts A.R.A., Paintings and Drawings 1909–1964.
Retrospective exhibition – 'William Roberts, A.R.A.' – organised by the Arts Council, at the Tate Gallery; WR designs the catalogue cover.

The poster for WR's 1965 Arts Council retrospective, using part of his Chess Players 1929–30

Refuses an OBE (earlier that year the Beatles had been awarded MBEs).
1966 January–February: The Arts Council retrospective exhibition travels to the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, and the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.
28 April: Elected a Royal Academician.
Exhibition at Southampton City Art Gallery – 'William Roberts'.
After election as an RA, serves the usual two-year term as a member of the Royal Academy council, thus automatically becoming part of the Summer Exhibition selection committee. In 1967 he also is part of the Summer Exhibition hanging committee.
Publishes 8 Cubist Designs.
September: Exhibition at the d'Offay Couper Gallery, Dering Street, W1 – 'William Roberts, R.A., Drawings and Watercolours 1915–1968'.
31 December: Elected a Senior Royal Academician.

Roberts c.1970

Early 1970s
Rebuffs requests for an interview or information by Richard Cork, who is carrying out research for the 1974 Arts Council exhibition 'Vorticism and Its Allies' and his 1976 book Vorticism and Abstract Art in the First Machine, despite Cork's explicit intention to 'correct [earlier] misapprehension' vis-à-vis Wyndham Lewis and the Vorticists (introduction to 1974 exhibition catalogue).
14 February: An article by Barrie Sturt-Penrose in the Observer magazine – 'The Grand Recluses of Art' – describes the Robertses' spartan lifestyle and claims that 'Roberts turned his back on the art world more than 25 years ago, and has become a virtual recluse.' Roberts responds with a leaflet, Fame or Defame: A Reply to Barrie Sturt-Penrose, complaining of falsified quotations and asking 'What kind of art critic is this, who sets out to criticise my pictures, but criticises my gas stove and kitchen table instead?' But Sturt-Penrose's image of Roberts as eccentric and unsociable endures thereafter.
February–March: Retrospective exhibition at the Hamet Gallery, Cork Street, W1, part of which is then shown at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter – 'William Roberts, R.A.: A Retrospective Exhibition'.
July: Exhibition at Gallery 27, Northampton – 'William Roberts R.A.' (18 works on paper from the Hamet Gallery show above).
January: Exhibition at the Tib Lane Galleries, Manchester – 'Water-Colours by William Roberts'.
April–June: Exhibition at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery – 'Paintings and Drawings by William Roberts' (from the collection of Ernest Cooper).
April: Retrospective exhibition at the Hamet Gallery – 'William Roberts, R.A.'.
February–April: Shortly before the opening of the exhibition 'Vorticism and Its Allies', curated by Richard Cork at the Hayward Gallery, Roberts publishes a pamphlet, In Defence of English Cubists. Though his affectionate group portrait The Vorticists at the Restaurant de la Tour Eiffel, Spring 1915 of 1961–2 might be seen as a softening of the line he took in his 'Vortex Pamphlets' of 1956–8, in this new pamphlet he rejects the idea of there being an identifiable 'movement' called 'Vorticism', preferring to describe his fellow artists as 'Independent English Cubists'. Cork responds in an article, 'A Blast from the Past', in the Evening Standard of 28 March. He explains the contradictions of Roberts's position, mentions Roberts's rejection of his many requests for an interview, and emphasises that 'all the Vorticists contributed to the movement in a robust and individual way'. Concluding that 'Roberts's contribution is very impressive', he wishes that Roberts had gone to see the exhibition before 'damning my efforts so completely'. It is not known if Roberts did visit the exhibition; however, he is certainly familiar with the exhibition catalogue when in April he publishes a postscript to his pamphlet. He again 'reject[s] this ambiguous term Vorticism' and suggests that the organisers' aim to 'correct the "Imbalance" of the 1956 Tate exhibition' might best be achieved 'by ceasing to give Vorticist Group shows'.

The poster of the Hayward Gallery's 1974 exhibition 'Vorticism and Its Allies', featuring Roberts's St George and the Dragon 1915

Publishes Memories of the War to End War 1914–18.
Publishes Paintings and Drawings by William Roberts R.A.

With Sarah, visits Etretat on the Normandy coast.
Retrospective exhibition at the Parkin Gallery, Motcomb Street, SW1 – 'William Roberts R.A.'.
Writes Early Years (published posthumously, in 1982).
1 February: The exhibitions secretary of the Royal Academy writes to Roberts proposing a retrospective exhibition at the RA. Roberts declines the suggestion with thanks, saying that he does not wish to 'repeat [the] effort' of the 1965 Arts Council retrospective.
The Tate Gallery buys The Gutter from Ernest Cooper.
20 January: Dies – having worked up to the last day of his life.
In the years following Roberts's death, Sarah and John Roberts arrange exhibitions of his work still in the family's possession in commercial and public galleries and try to acquire other examples with a view to 14 St Mark's Crescent eventually becoming a Roberts house-museum.
September–October: Retrospective exhibition at the Maclean Gallery, St George Street, W1 – 'William Roberts, R.A., 1895–1980'.
November–December: Exhibition at the Anthony d'Offay Gallery, Dering Street, W1 – 'William Roberts 1895–1980: Drawings and Watercolours'.
The Tate Gallery buys Trooping the Colour from Ernest Cooper.
Publication of Roberts's Early Years.
Exhibition at Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, New York.
March–April: Retrospective exhibition at Reading Museum and Art Gallery – 'William Roberts R.A.: An Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by William Roberts R.A. 1895–1980'.
July–October: Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London – 'William Roberts 1895–1980: An Artist and his Family'.
July–September: Exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge – 'William Roberts R.A.: Watercolours, Drawings and Etchings'.
March–April: Exhibition at the Gillian Jason Gallery, Inverness Street, NW1 – 'William Roberts 1895–1980: Double-Sided Drawings'.
April: Exhibition at the Albemarle Gallery, Albemarle Street, W1 – 'William Roberts R.A.: Paintings, Drawings and Watercolours 1910–1978'.

Scenes in the BBC mini-series Mother Love were filmed in the Albemarle Gallery (renamed 'Fagans' for the occasion) during the 1989 William Roberts exhibition there. Here actress Liliana Komorowska stands in front of Roberts's La Dive Bouteille 1973.

March–April: Exhibition at the Gillian Jason Gallery – 'William Roberts: An Artist's View'.
John Roberts publishes in Valencia Five Posthumous Essays and other Writings by William Roberts.
January–February: Exhibition at the Gillian Jason Gallery – 'William Roberts 1895–1980: 40 Self Portraits'.

Sarah and John Roberts in the garden of 14 St Mark's Crescent, 1991

April–May: Exhibition at the Gillian Jason Gallery – 'William Roberts 1895–1980: Humour and Satire'.
29 November: Sarah Roberts dies at 14 St Mark's Crescent.
September–October: Exhibition at the Gillian Jason Gallery – 'William Roberts 1895–1980: Pictures Pure and Pagan'.
Mid-February: John Roberts dies at 14 St Mark's Crescent. The art works in the house are taken in by the Tate Gallery for safekeeping, and as John has left no will the Treasury Solicitor thereafter administers his estate.
6 May: Death of Ernest Cooper.
September: The William Roberts Society is formed to further the appreciation of Roberts's work. Eventually becoming a charitable trust, it organises lectures and outings, campaigns (unsuccessfully) for 14 St Mark's Crescent to become a Roberts house-museum and (with success) for an English Heritage blue plaque to be erected to mark Roberts's time there, is licensed by the Treasury Solicitor to administer copyright in Roberts's works, produces newsletters and a website about Roberts, and publishes short books on Sarah Roberts and on Roberts's work in the 1950s, as well as lobbying for the works by Roberts in John Roberts's estate to be kept together and donated to the nation.
24 October: An English Heritage blue plaque commemorating Roberts's time at 14 St Mark's Crescent is unveiled there by the playwright Alan Bennett.

14 St Mark's Crescent – Roberts's studio was the room to the right of the front door. The blue plaque commemorating his living there was unveiled in 2003. The colour scheme is as towards the end of the Robertses' time; the burglar alarm and the planting are not.

March–May: A major Roberts retrospective at the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne – 'William Roberts (1895–1980)', with 67 exhibits, also shown June–September at Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, with slightly fewer works. The catalogue, by the exhibition's curator, Andrew Heard, includes a detailed biography of Roberts.
October: Publication of William Roberts: An English Cubist, by Andrew Gibbon William (London: Lund Humphries) – the first monograph on the artist.
January– March: Exhibition at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester – 'William Roberts: England at Play'.
December: The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council announces that 117 works by WR from the estate of John Roberts are allocated to the Tate collection in lieu of inheritance tax on the estate of Sarah Roberts. The other works in John's estate – some 430 in total, still being stored by Tate – are also to be given to the Tate collection if no valid claim to them is made in the 25 years after John's death.
15–16 June: Works by Roberts in the Sotheby's sale of the collection of Wilfrid Evill and his ward Honor Frost fetch record auction prices for the artist.
10 May: At Sotheby's, The Chess Players 1929–30 sells for £1,161,250 – the only work by Roberts to make more than £1 million at auction.
May 2012–March 2013: Exhibition at Tate Britain – 'Focus: William Roberts', about 40 works from the Tate collection, with an emphasis on drawings acquired from the estate of John Roberts.
April: The William Roberts Society decides to dissolve itself.

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