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Archive for the 'Item of the week' Category

Printmaker Stanley Jones: Archived oral history

LizBruchet25 November 2014

To celebrate the 2014 Slade Print Fair, we’ve published excerpts from another archived oral history interview – this time with Slade alumnus and former tutor in printmaking, Stanley Jones. Jones is a much-admired master printmaker with a particular passion for lithography. He was a student at the Slade from 1954 to 1956, and later tutor in printmaking from 1958 to 1998. (This means he is likely to be found in some of the Slade’s annual class photos – can you help us spot him?)

In the late 1950s, not long after graduating from the Slade, he set up the Curwen Studio with Robert Erskine. He continues to generously share his enthusiasm for printmaking, as demonstrated with his vision for the Curwen Print Study Centre which he co-founded with Sue Jones in 2000.

The interview excerpts published on SoundCloud were taken from a recording conducted in 1992 by Stephen Chaplin (then archivist at the Slade), and digitized in 2013 as part of the Slade Oral History Project. In his interview Jones reflects on the changing practices and personalities of printmaking at the Slade and beyond.


Voices of War: UCL in World War I

LizBruchet4 August 2014

Anyone wishing to see Henry Tonks’s death mask on display now has a rare opportunity to do so. With the help of the conservation team from UCL Museums & Collections the delicate mask has been cleaned and prepared for exhibit and it is currently on display as part of a thought-provoking exhibition, Voices of War: UCL in World War I. The exhibition is the result of a collaboration between students of the UCL Institute of Archaeology and the MA in Museum Studies programmes and runs to 5 April 2015 at the A.G. Leventis Gallery, UCL Institute of Archaeology.

Stephen Chaplin interview

LizBruchet27 February 2014

As part of his research into the Slade history, Stephen Chaplin had the foresight to undertake a series of audio interviews with former Slade staff and students in the early 1990s. Over the past few months we’ve been selecting highlights from those interviews and publishing them online through SoundCloud. But now the tables have turned and the interviewer has become the subject of the interview. Excerpts from an oral history recording undertaking with Chaplin in 2013 have just been added to the growing collection on SoundCloud, and provide rich evidence of his contribution to the ‘biography’ of the school’s archive. He reminisces about his entrance interview in 1952; the teaching staff’s interpretation of the so-called ‘Euston Road School’ orthodoxy; encountering Bernard Cohen painting as a young student; art history teaching at the Slade in the 1950s; working with Lawrence Gowing; and tells the story of how he came to be charged with the task of ‘sorting out’ the Slade archive. Listen to the clips here.

Stephen Chaplin working on the Slade archive, c. 1992

Stephen Chaplin working on the Slade archive, 1992.

Slade print fair

LizBruchet21 November 2013

Next week the Slade will host the inaugural Slade Print Fair.

The event will not only celebrate the Slade’s rich & varied printmaking culture, it will also raise much needed scholarship funds through the sale of prints and multiples by Slade alumni, staff and current students – the list of names is impressive indeed!

To mark the occasion, we’ve added some excerpts from an interview with Bartolomeu dos Santos to our growing list of highlights from the Slade oral history collection. Dos Santos (1931-2008) was a student at the Slade from 1956-1958 where he became enthralled by the possibilities of printmaking. He joined the staff in 1961, becoming Head of Printmaking and eventually, in 1994, Professor of Fine Art. In these excerpts he talks candidly (and complete with Portuguese accent) about his early days as a student at the Slade in the mid-1950s.

There will also be a Slade Archive Project display on site for the run of the print fair so if you’re in London do come by. It’s a great opportunity to see some of the intriguing items from the archive and to contribute to the new class photos crowdsourcing project.

28-30 November 2013
Slade Research Centre
, Woburn Square, 

Crowdsourcing the Slade class photos

LizBruchet28 October 2013

Today we launch our new online resource which brings to life some of the most requested items from the archive – the Slade class photos.

The Slade has a fascinating, but currently incomplete, collection of annual class photographs dating from 1931. The black and white panoramic images reflect the school’s rich history, capturing the likeness of Slade students and faculty through the decades. We’re asking former staff and students, scholars and members of the public to help us complete the collection and identify the sitters through a new website designed by UCL Centre for Digital Humanities.

We’ve already listed all of those who appear in this photograph from 1953, including William Coldstream, Lucien Freud, Henry Moore, Sam Ntiro, and Paula Rego. Can you help us identify other faces captured through the years?


The feedback provided by visitors to the site will result in a dynamic archive and research resource, giving us an opportunity to compare crowdsourcing platforms and begin to trace the impact of Slade alumni around the world.

Visit the new website here.

This project is a collaboration between UCL Centre for Digital Humanities and the Slade School of Fine Art, as part of the Slade Archive Project.

Slade Sketch Club, 1899

LizBruchet24 September 2013


Another remnant of ‘Ye’ Slade Sketch Club, a beautiful little leaflet dating from 1899.

Slade students were encouraged to join the Sketch Club, which was structured around a series of set composition subjects and monthly prizes. The 18th-century traditional song and poem ‘Sally in our Alley’ included in the list of composition subjects shows how the club encouraged the exploration of themes beyond traditional biblical and classical subjects. The inclusion of poetry, drama and literature as optional subjects continued under William Coldstream’s professorship. Slade alumni of the 1950s, for instance, have described how T.S. Eliot’s classic poem ‘The Waste Land’ and Dylan Thomas’s 1954 radio drama ‘Under Milk Wood’ were two of the themes set for the summer composition competition. It’s not clear when (or why) the club disbanded; any leads from Slade alumni on this subject would be most welcome.

Set subject to draw, Slade Sketch Club 1899.

Slade Sketch Club, 1895

LizBruchet16 September 2013

SladeSketchClub 1895(Web)

Evidence of the Slade Sketch Club found carefully tucked away in an archive box.


LizBruchet19 August 2013

Stamps photo

Remember these? I spent a few minutes trying out these remnants of a bygone era of administration … and found signatures of former Slade Professors Bernard Cohen and Patrick George in the mix.

Crisis of Brilliance

LizBruchet4 July 2013

The latest exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery has a lot to offer for those interested in the Slade’s history. A Crisis of Brilliance presents work by David Bomberg, Dora Carrington, Mark Gertler, Paul Nash, C.R.W. Nevinson and Stanley Spencer – a group of provocative artists who studied at the Slade from 1908-1912. The exhibition is based on a publication by David Boyd Haycock which charts the artists’ intersecting social circles to situate their developing artistic practices within their wider cultural context.

The school’s registers, or ‘singing-in books’ as they are known colloquially, have recorded the signatures of some of these well-known artists. Each register lists ladies on one side and gentlemen on the other. Over the years students have used the books to practice their sketching, as the back of this register shows. It would be quite a task to identify the artists at work (perhaps even some of the tutors pitched in?) but suggestions are welcome!

The register covers the years 1907-1909 and on the 20th January 1909 we can spot the signatures of Mark Gertler, Rudolph Ihlee, Maxwell Gordon Lightfoot, Richard Nevinson, David Sassoon and Stanley Spencer. Dora Carrington and Paul Nash would not arrive at the Slade until the following year.

Slade Register, January 20, 1909

Slade Register, January 20, 1909

The ‘signing-in’ ritual still exists. Current students are asked to log in each day as they enter the school. The books are still divided by gender as a reminder to students that they are part of a long heritage; the Slade was the first art school to admit women into the life room.

Unfortunately most of the early registers are in need of repair. The Slade does not have an archive reading room or dedicated staff to facilitate research enquiries, so it is difficult to provide public access. As part of the Slade Archive Project, we hope to undertake conservation of these treasured record books so scholars, curators, alumni and family historians can delve into their pages.

Preparing for the Chelsea Arts Ball, 1926

LizBruchet8 May 2013

It became known for its exuberance, excess and glamour, but the Chelsea Arts Ball had a modest beginning in 1908 as an annual fundraiser for the newly founded Arts Club. By the time it moved to the Royal Albert Hall in 1910, its place in the London social calendar was set – and London’s art school students led the way.

Held on New Year’s Eve, the Ball was given a new theme each year. Elaborately dressed art students represented their schools with extravagantly decorated floats that were driven directly into the Albert Hall, only to be destroyed by the revelers at the stroke of midnight. A short clip from Pathé’s archive, showing the 1954 ball in full swing, sets the scene.

Slade students preparing for the Chelsea Arts Ball, 1926

Slade students preparing for the Chelsea Arts Ball, 1926

It’s hard to spot Slade students in the Pathé archive, but a generation earlier someone was savvy enough to take this photograph outside the Slade, as a group of students test run their gallant personas in preparation for the 1926 Ball. The label on the back of the photo doesn’t explain what theme is being enacted here (though we might hazard a guess), but it does identify one notable figure in the group: William Coldstream, who can be spotted by his fashionable symmetrical fringe (centre of photograph, left of horseman).

Coldstream was a first-year student at the time of the 1926 ball. He would go on to marry (and later divorce) fellow student Nancy Sharp and, in 1937, co-found the influential Euston Road School with fellow Slade alumni Claude Rogers and Graham Bell. After service in the War, he worked briefly for the GPO Film Unit and taught at Camberwell College of Arts and Crafts before being appointed Slade Professor in 1949, a post he would hold until his retirement in 1975.