An image of The interval before Round Ten

William Roberts

(England 05 Jun 1895 – 20 Jan 1980)

The interval before Round Ten

Not on display
Further information

According to the conventional lineage of modernist art history, vorticism was the English progeny of cubism and futurism. Among its youngest adherents was the author of this robotic report of a boxing match. By the time he painted it, however, William Roberts had already passed through and abandoned the extremes of vorticist practice in favour of a less radical academic cubism. Even so, 'The interval before Round Ten' is a painting imbued with the edgy virility so loved by the vorticists, as indeed by futurists such as Marinetti. Aggression in human behaviour is given visual form in the agitated activity and angular arrangements of Roberts design. And design is the right word for this deliberately anti-naturalist composition. The ferocity Roberts brought to bear on his subjects is akin to caricature. Little fellow-feeling softens his vision of the all-male madness of pugilism, though the painter delighted in it all the same. Fernand Leger's interests in proletarian themes, and something of his tubular style, infiltrate Roberts's work.

AGNSW Handbook, 1999.

oil on canvas
92.1 x 122.5 cm stretcher; 114.0 x 144.2 x 6.8 cm frame
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Gift of the Contemporary Art Society, London 1965
Accession number
© William Roberts Society
Sir Osbert Sitwell, London/England, Commissioned by Sitwell
Dr H. Widdup, 07 Feb 1947-1963, Purchased by Dr Widdup from Christie's London, 7 February 1947, lot no. 62, bequeathed to Contemporary Art Society, London 1963
Contemporary Art Society, London, 1963-Jul 1965, London/England, Gift of the Contemporary Art Society, London 1965. Received 1967.