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© John Rooks

Reference URL

Aftermath 1946

Not on display

Adnams was particularly influenced by the surrealist artists Salvador Dalí, René Magritte and Paul Nash. This painting shows the influence of Dalí in the delicate application of the paint. Painted in the aftermath of World War II, the artist alludes to the unfathomable amount of death and destruction that the conflict brought in the skull and barbed wire. Set at the English seaside, Adnams has included a ribbon tied in a bow around the animal skull, suggesting it is a gift or a sacrifice, perhaps for the freedom of Britain’s shores. However, skulls and barbed wire were also standard surrealist motifs and their inclusion may purely be Admans’ exploration of peculiar objects juxtaposed in unrelated environments.

Glossary Open


A distinctive element in a work of art or design.


A literary and artistic movement founded by the poet André Breton in 1924. Many of the associated artists, such as Max Ernst and Jean Arp, had previously been involved with Dadaism. The movement sought to challenge conventions through the exploration of the subconscious mind, invoking the power of dreams and elements of chance. Cultural hierarchies were challenged by the combination of diverse elements in collages and sculptural assemblages. The movement is also notable for the collaborations between artists and writers evident in the Surrealists' many publications.

Motif, Surrealism


  • Acc. No. GMA 4815
  • Medium Oil on panel
  • Size 32.30 x 23.10 cm
  • Credit Purchased 2006