With the partition of Ireland, artists, along with most people, faced a world of economic and political uncertainty. Many artists needed to pursue second careers as designers for industry whilst continuing the tradition of painting the landscape. The newly formed Northern Ireland government began using these images to promote the region to tourists and industry.
During the economic depression of the 1930s, poet John Hewitt encouraged the formation of the Ulster Unit - an artists’ collective inspired by Unit One in England and the Bauhaus in Germany. Its members, including Colin Middleton, John Luke, George MacCann and Romeo C Toogood went on to establish significant national or international reputations. Another member, Kathleen Bridle, became an influential teacher and mentor to artists including William Scott and TP Flanagan.