The reputations of vanguard artists of pre-war needed to be cemented in. In 1951 the Festival of Britain on the South Bank highlighted the emergence of the new art, in an atmosphere of excitement and to a huge audience. And the prize exhibition, ‘The Unknown Political Prisoner’, while not entirely succeeding in its political intentions did at least make people aware of the striking work being done by sculptors. And the Institute of Contemporary Arts, then on Dover Street in London, was the meeting house for all those brave hopefuls intent on giving the arts a large push forward. The old ICA gallery was the setting that played a very important discursive and controversial role in the 1950’s and 1960’s for contemporary art from many parts of the world; and it was in this buoyant atmosphere of the ICA that the Free Painters was born.