"Self-portrait in the Studio, 1941" by George Buday (Imperial War Museum collection)

Is an introduction to the work and lives of Hungarian artists who settled in Britain before the Second World War and who contributed much to the arts scene during and after the war.  

THEIR SAFE HAVEN, compiled and edited by Robert Waterhouse, is published by Baquis Press, Manchester, ISBN 978-0-9556025-4-2. 

THEIR SAFE HAVEN is recognised as a unique source book for a little-known generation of Hungarian-British artists As Sarah MacDougall, director of the Ben Uri Gallery & Museum, writes, it “Brings the artists’ experiences vividly to life…and in doing so pays justice to the distinct and memorable Hungarian contribution to British visual culture.” In the Times Literary Supplement of December 7 2018 Shauna Isaacs wrote “Robert Waterhouse fastidiously researches the artists, unearthing forgotten books, journals and archives…The book is full of striking illustrations, depicting anything from expressive self-portraits to the anxiety permeating London during the Blitz.”

Unsolicited praise for the book comes from Nora Veszpremi, Hungarian-born honorary research fellow in the department of art history, curating and visual studies at the University of Birmingham: Russell James, British novelist and critic; and Michael Richards, Australian writer and letterpress printer. Click here for their commentaries.  THEIR SAFE HAVEN was the theme of an exhibition programmed at the Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate, due to run from September 2018 (when the book was published) until January 2019, but was postponed because of a funding shortage. Recast to run from April-August 2020, it was in advanced preparation when Covid-19 closed the gallery in March 2020. The exhibition did not take place. However, further work by individual artists has been published as Baquis Little Books (see below). More titles for the Baquis Little Books series are planned for 2022. THEIR SAFE HAVEN is strongly supported by the Insiders/Outsiders Festival, created in 2019 by the art historian Monica Bohm-Duchen to mark the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War and to salute the lasting contribution of artists fleeing events on the Continent to British life and culture. The festival has continued throughout the pandemic via online events, including presentations during March 2021 of George Mayer-Marton’s Murals & mosaics and Henry Ripszam’s Habima.

New from Baquis Press in March 2021: Baquis Little Books

Habima drawings by Henry Ripszam Ripszam’s 1930 drawings of the celebrated Habima theatre company, born 1917 in revolutionary Moscow, who toured Europe and the US in the late 1920s and early 1930s with their Hebrew-language productions, are published here for the very first time. Ripszam’s perceptive studies compare and contrast with period photographs by the sisters Nini and Carry Hess from the archives of the Israeli Center for the Documentation of the Performing Arts, Tel Aviv University, whose Chair, Dr Olga Levitan, describes Ripszam’s role in interpreting Habima at a crucial moment of the company’s progress. The characters observed are from The Dybbuk, The Golem and David’s Crown. Habima went on to found Israel’s national theatre. ISBN 978-0-9556025-7-3A6,64pp£6.99

Murals & mosaics by George Mayer-Marton During the 1950s Mayer-Marton undertook commissions for the Roman Catholic Church in Liverpool and Manchester. His Pentecost mosaic today occupies a side-chapel of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, but his masterpiece, The Crucifixion fresco and mosaic, is threatened by the closure of the Oldham church where it was created in 1955. Prof Clare Willsdon explores the artist’s ability to merge Continental modernism with British Arts and Crafts traditions. The current campaign to list and restore the mural in situ is backed by SAVE and the V&A. At nearby Blackley, Mayer-Marton’s mural and font in the Franciscan church of St Clare show the artist’s mastery of ‘face’ mosaics, as first developed in sixth-century Ravenna. ISBN 978-O-9556025-6-6A6,48pp£4.99

Women + A Very Special Notebook by Jean-Georges Simon Simon lived in Harrogate from 1943 until his death in 1968. He sketched people anywhere he happened to be, often working images up in his studio. Not portraits as such, and usually untitled. This book shows a selection, together with extracts from what Lois Smith, his archivist, called her Very Special Notebook. Set in 1944, the notebook records ideas, moods, starting points, the human and everyday references to an artist’s internal life. ISBN 978-0-9556025-5-9A6, 48pp£4.99

Now available at Robert Waterhouse’s Amazon author pageVisit The Insiders/Outsiders Festival Website

Illustrated by over 270 rarely-seen images, by unpublished texts from archives around Britain as well as in Vienna and Budapest, by stories from the artists’ British relatives and by historic documents from the 1930s,


is an extraordinary anthology of what it meant, and means, to be a Hungaro-Brit.

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