Art in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was both forward and backward looking.

Some artists developed aspects of impressionist and post-impressionist painting, and moved further in the direction of abstraction; other artists, turned towards spiritual values and created symbols of a purer world; other artists continued with traditional artistic practices.

The work in this display does not fit neatly into any of these categories and often show aspects of all three in varying degrees. People – and artists are no exceptions – are drawn to progress, spirituality and tradition at different times and for different reasons.

The complex nature of these years makes for diversity and a fascinating range of views on the world.