Feliks Topolski’s ‘Memoir of the Century’ or ‘Topolski Century’ is a unique, monumental work of art that presents an extraordinary panoramic record of key events and figures of the twentieth century. Six hundred feet long and between twelve and twenty feet high, this labyrinthine installation is testimony to some of the most significant moments that shaped the twentieth century.
To guide you through the work we have divided it into thematic sections – roll-over and click on the titles on the left to read more.
The Memoir is no longer curated as seen on the website, although many of the Memoir paintings can be seen in Topolski, a bar and café a few arches along from the Studio. For a virtual tour and 360 degree panoramic views of the Memoir as it was in its entirety, please click here.
Begun in 1975 and opened by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh in 1984, Topolski Century depicts through figuration and abstraction an extraordinary array of portraits including: Nehru, Gandhi, Lord Mountbatten, George Bernard Shaw, Picasso, General de Gaulle, Martin Luther King, Enoch Powell, Nye Bevan and Laurence Olivier, among 700 other leading figures of the twentieth century. These derive from Topolski’s own personal experience initially captured in pencil and ink drawings which he produced throughout his life and published in Topolski’s Chronicles.
In an era saturated by media coverage of war and world events, Topolski’s eye witness account of the twentieth century carries a pertinence and energy that few other historical sources of this period offer. Mark Lawson, reviewing Topolski on BBC’s Front Row, said that when comparing TV pictures of the same events with Topolski’s paintings, “Topolski comes off terribly well. He makes the case for art.”