X Close

Slade Archive Project


Archive Project


Archive for the 'Oral History' Category

Printmaker Stanley Jones: Archived oral history

By Slade Archive Project, on 25 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.


Stephen Chaplin interview

By Slade Archive Project, on 27 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.

David Leverett on printmaking c. 1970s

By Slade Archive Project, on 9 January 2014

Inspired by the success of the recent Slade Print Fair, we’ve added more oral history clips on SoundCloud.  Artist and former Slade tutor David Leverett reflects on printmaking at the Slade in the 1970s and the compelling paradigm shifts at work in the teaching of printmaking. Listen here.

Slade oral history

By Slade Archive Project, on 15 October 2013

Thanks to funding from the Andor Charitable Trust we have been able to digitize a rich collection of oral history interviews made by Stephen Chaplin in the 1990s as part of his research on the history of the Slade. The recordings include conversations with Bernard Cohen, Stanley Jones, Olga Lehmann and Barto dos Santos, along with other former Slade staff and students. Chaplin aimed to interview a cross-section of people – not only the most prominent and senior figures. Even William Coldstream’s secretary, Margaret Bennett, was interviewed.

Our three project interns, Patrick Sykes, Neelam Choudhry and Sadie Hough, have produced summaries of the recordings and selected excerpts for streaming on the Slade Archive Project SoundCloud profile.

The first in a series of highlights from this collection is an interview with Slade alumna and renowned artist, illustrator and theatre designer, Olga Lehmann (1912-2001). Lehmann studied at the Slade in the early 1930s under the tutelage of Henry Tonks and Randolph Schwabe, and specialised in theatrical design under Vladimir Polunin. She quickly acquired a reputation for her work as a muralist, portrait painter and costume designer and her illustrations were regularly featured in Radio Times.

Lehmann’s oral history recording with Stephen Chaplin was conducted in 1992. She provides a lively account of her time at the Slade, reflects on the bohemian world of Fitzrovia, on being a young female artist prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, and on studying and socialising with some of the notable figures of her era. She speaks candidly about their words of advice, the dynamics between the tutors and students, the daily rituals at the school – and of the privilege of being admitted to the life drawing room.

In the weeks to come we’ll be featuring more of these highlights from this Slade oral history collection. Stay tuned!

Support for Slade Oral Histories

By Slade Archive Project, on 21 June 2013

We’re delighted to announce that the Slade has recently received a grant from the Andor Charitable Trust to develop a Slade Oral History programme.

During our archive explorations, we (re)discovered an invaluable collection of oral history recordings undertaken with former students and staff. The interviews were conducted in the 1990s by the Slade’s former archivist Stephen Chaplin. These audio recordings provide fascinating insight into the impressions and experiences of former students and staff, many of who are no longer alive. However, they are now in danger of eroding and urgently require digitisation. So we appealed to the Andor Charitable Trust who has agreed that these treasures are worth saving.

Alongside our efforts to preserve the existing recordings, we hope to undertake a series of new oral history interviews. Much of what takes place in the life of an art school is conversational and informal and as a result, rarely formally documented. The use of oral history recordings will enrich our existing archive records, allowing us to capture some of these anecdotes and conversations – and help us map the networks of connections between individuals, their art practices and the wider influences that draw them together.