We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

🛈 Find out what you need to know before visiting


The interval before Round Ten



William Roberts


05 Jun 1895 – 20 Jan 1980

Alternate image of The interval before Round Ten by William Roberts
Alternate image of The interval before Round Ten by William Roberts
  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    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
    20th-century galleries (ground floor)
    Accession number
    © William Roberts Society

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    William Roberts

    Works in the collection


  • About

    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.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 5 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 13 publications

  • Provenance

    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.

Other works by William Roberts