City and Guilds of London Art School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
City and Guilds of London Art School
Type Charity
Established 1854
Principal Tamiko O'Brien
Location London, United Kingdom
Campus Kennington

Birmingham City University University of the Arts London

City & Guilds of London Institute

The City and Guilds of London Art School is a small specialist not-for-profit art college[1] in London, England. It is one of the country's longest established art schools, and offers courses ranging from Foundation, through to BA (Hons) Undergraduate degrees and MA Postgraduate courses in Fine Art and Conservation as well as the countries only Diploma and Postgraduate Diploma courses in Historic Carving.[2]

The Art School is housed in a row of Georgian buildings in London's Kennington district,[3] as well as in an adjoining converted warehouse building close to the south bank of the river Thames.

The Art School champions contemporary Fine Art, Historic Architectural Stone Carving, Woodcarving and Gilding and the Conservation of cultural artefacts as well as running an intensive Foundation course. It is committed to providing high levels of contact teaching time with artists and expert professionals from a wide range of disciplines. It aims to keep traditional skills alive while encouraging innovation and exploration and offers an important, specialist alternative to other models of art and craft higher education in the UK.

For its small size it has a large number of bursaries and scholarships from benefactors who recognise the importance of its approach to specialist education. Of the 140 students studying on its undergraduate and postgraduate courses more than 60 benefitted from some form of bursary or scholarship in 2015.


The City and Guilds of London Art School was founded in 1854 by the Reverend Robert Gregory under the name Lambeth School of Art.[4] It began as a night school in rooms occupied during the day by a National School in his south London parish of St Mary the Less. With the support of Henry Cole Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, who supplied Gregory with teachers, the school flourished and became a leader in the provision of instruction in applied art and design to working artisans, many of whom were employed by local manufacturing firms, including Doulton's and Farmer and Brindley. The rapid expansion of the school led to the need for new premises, and in 1860 Albert, Prince of Wales (Edward VII) laid the foundation stone for new premises in Millers Lane, built on the site of the Vauxhall Gardens as part of a redevelopment that included St Peter's church. The buildings are still standing, although the road is now called St Oswald’s Place.[5][6]

In 1857 John Charles Lewis Sparkes started teaching at the art school, soon becoming its Headmaster. Under Sparkes City and Guilds of London Art School was at the forefront of opposition to the monopoly claimed by the Royal Academy of Arts on the teaching of fine art practices, particularly drawing from the human figure. An attempt had been made to resolve this conflict in 1852, with the introduction by the British Government of the National Course on Instruction for art and design education, which was in effect a national curriculum for art training. This allowed for some elements of drawing to be taught, but within a broader curriculum that stressed the teaching of techniques to aid workers in artisan manufacturing industries rather than the training of artists.

In the case of City and Guilds of London Art School it was suggested at the time that Sparkes was ignoring the National Course on Instruction and teaching his students to be fine artists, particularly in 1865, when students from the art school won three medals at the annual awards handed out by the Royal Academy of Arts,[7] and again in 1867 when its students won three out of ten of the gold medals for art awarded by the Government, along with four silver medals awarded annually by the Royal Academy of Arts, and a bronze medal at the International Exposition held that year in Paris.[8] Certainly Sparkes and his colleagues at City and Guilds of London Art School ignored the general prohibition on life drawing being taught outside the Royal Academy of Arts, and the success of Sparkes's students at City and Guilds of London Art School in fine art competitions can be traced to this willingness by Sparkes to ignore regulations he believed were wrong.[9]

This radicalism in Sparkes can also be seen in his concern for the art and design tutors working both at City and Guilds of London Art School and elsewhere in Britain. In the 1860s a block grant was give by the British Government to the South Kensington Government School of Design for teachers' pay and this was then redistributed to other art schools across the country. As well as being widely considered an insufficient sum in the first place, the Government School of Design was accused by people such as Sparkes of holding on to too much of the money leading to the payment of what were called starvation wages at other art schools. Sparkes in particular was instrumental in campaigning for an increase in these wages, through both direct appeals to parliament and the establishment of the first national union of art teachers, the Association of Art Masters, in 1863.[10]

Recognising the limitations of government patronage of art schools, Sparkes cultivated a number of connections between the City and Guilds of London Art School and local manufacturing industries which would lead ultimately to City and Guilds of London Art School attaining the independent status it has today. One of the most celebrated of these was with Henry Doulton whose pottery factory was located near to the City and Guilds of London Art School. In 1863 Doulton joined the school's board of management and the following year he gave the school its first commission, for a terracotta frieze for his factory's new extension. Following on from this Doulton was a strong supporter and promoter of the art school's activities, including exhibiting experimental works by students at the 1867 Paris Exhibition and at the 1871 London Exhibition.[11]

From about 1869, Doulton and his staff helped the art school to develop a curriculum that trained students for the pottery trade, and to carry out design work for Doulton. This collaboration provided Doulton's with a supply of higher-quality artwork for its trade, and gave students at Lambeth School of Art employment opportunities, and many noted English modellers and sculptors of the late nineteenth century owe their careers to this partnership.[6][12] The art school was also closely associated with other manufacturing companies in Lambeth, including Farmer and Brindley, a company of stonemasons and suppliers of terra cotta architectural sculptures.[13]

As well as local manufacturers, in 1879 Sparkes secured the involvement in the art school of the newly founded City and Guilds of London Institute, which received financial backing from 16 Livery Companies.[11] The new backing secured the financial future of the school without the strings attached to government funding. Under the new arrangement, the art school moved to a new building in Kennington Park Road, which it still occupies, and Lambeth School of Art was renamed the South London Technical School of Art. In 1937 it changed its name to the City and Guilds of London Art School, reflecting the historical and continued support of the city of London Livery Companies.[6]

The close connection between the art school and Doulton's meant that the ethos of City and Guilds of London School of Art was based, from very early days, on a belief in a strong connection between the fine arts, craft and design. Consequently, its students and teachers became instrumental in both the Arts and Crafts movement and Art Nouveau,[14] After the Second World War restoration and carving courses were established to train for the restoration of London's damaged architecture.

During the 1960s the art school developed a more definite fine art programme, although it maintained and strengthened its programmes in restoration and carving, creating a unique centre in Britain for the training of restorers and conservators of architectural stone and wood work. In 1971 became an independent charitable trust with the support of artists such as Henry Moore and Graham Sutherland.

In 1997 and 1998 the Fine Art Painting, Sculpture and Conservation courses were validated at undergraduate BA (Hons) level. In 2000 the MA course in Fine Art was validated by the University of Central England (now Birmingham City University).[15]

Exterior at twilight

The Fine Art Department is led by artist Robin Mason and consists of the BA (Hons) Fine Art course and the MA Fine Art Course. A wide range of contemporary artists teach at the Art School including Andrew Grassie, Amikam Toren, Reece Jones, Frances Richardson, Kiera Bennett, Tim Ellis and Hugh Mendes.

The Historic Carving Department is led by Master Carver Tim Crawley who works with some of the countries most respected professional carvers in stone and wood including Nina Bilbey, Peter Thurling, Dick Onians, Paul Jakeman, Richard Kindersley, Robert Randall and Saena Ku alongside Kim Amis who teaches modelling and Diane Magee who runs the Drawing Studio.

The Conservation Department led by Dr Marina Sokhan has a number of specialist tutors who are all highly regarded professionals in their fields ranging from Gerry Alabone who is also Head of Frame Conservation at Tate Modern and Christine Palmer who is one of the countries leading gilders. Jennifer Dinsmore heads up stone conservation with Eric Miller and Urushi specialist Keiko Nakamura also teaches in to this course that specialises in the conservation of three-dimensional cultural objects.

In a 2008 letter to the Observer newspaper and Art Monthly by Graham Crowley, former Professor of the Royal College of Art, the City & Guilds of London Art School's Fine Art Department was singled out for its "magnificent job" in "maintaining the transformative power and joy of education through art".[16]

In 2009 Booker Prize shortlisted writer Tibor Fischer became the Royal Literary Fund writing fellow at the City and Guilds of London Art School.[17]

In April 2011 the magazine Modern Painters surveyed art world professionals to create a list of the top ten British art schools, resulting in the City and Guilds of London Art School coming third after the Royal College of Art and the Royal Academy.[18]

The Art School has a substantial network of institutions and individuals that it works with. They provide valuable live projects, placements and other opportunities for students and include the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Museum of London, the British Museum and Tate Modern.

Visiting Lecturers have included Norman Rosenthal, Basil Beattie, Paul Winstanley, Andrew Mummery, Alexis Harding, Gordon Cheung, Colin Smith, David Kefford, Anne Hardy, Tom Godfrey, Lucy Williams, Zavier Ellis, Max Attenborough, Chris Davies, Will Turner, Paul Becker, Francesca Lowe, Helen Sumpter, Nick Hackworth, Jonathan Wateridge, Brin Griffiths, Neil Rumming, Matthew Collings and Christian Ward.

Notable alumni

(Years are for college attendance)

Notable teachers and lecturers


  1. ^ College listed age in (accessed 5 April 2009) Archived 2 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Courses listed on school's website (accessed 25 March 2010 Archived 2 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Artist describes location at (accessed on 5 April 2009)
  4. ^ describes potter John Sparkes leading the college in 1856 (accessed 5 April 2009) Archived 5 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Streatham, St Peter - Lambeth, South Deanery Archived 27 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ a b c "South London Technical School of Art (also Lambeth School of Art and City and Guilds of London Art School)". Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951. Glasgow University, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Henry Moore Institute. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  7. ^ The Athenaeum, vol. 1991, 23 December 1965, p.894
  8. ^ 'Lambeth School of Art' in The Art Journal, February 1866, p.45
  9. ^ Stuart Macdonald, The History and Philosophy of Art Education (Cambridge, James Clarke and Co Ltd, 2014) .p.176
  10. ^ Stuart Macdonald, The History and Philosophy of Art Education (Cambridge, James Clarke and Co Ltd, 2014) .p.216
  11. ^ a b Wardleworth, Dennis (2013). William Reid Dick, Sculptor. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing. p. 21. ISBN 9781409439714. Retrieved 14 October 2014. 
  12. ^ McKeown, Julie (1997). Royal Doulton. Osprey Publishing. p. 10. ISBN 0747803382. 
  13. ^ Emma Hardy, 'Farmer and Brindley, Craftsmen and Sculptors, 1850-1930' in The Victorian Society Annual 1993, p. 4-17
  14. ^ College timeline at (accessed 8 March 2009) Archived 28 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ Birmingham Institute of Art and Design validation at (accessed 5 March 2009)
  16. ^ Thorpe, Vanessa (10 February 2008). "Low morale devastates art colleges". The Guardian. London. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 February 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014. 
  19. ^ Biography of Stephen Wiltshire in The Independent
  20. ^ Michael Renton's obituary in The Independent
  21. ^ Sir George James Frampton's entry at the Royal Academy Collection web site
  22. ^ Cannon, Michael (1979). "Brodzky, Horace Ascher (1885–1969)", in Australian Dictionary of Biography online, accessed 28 September 2015.
  23. ^ John Charles Lewis Sparkes
  24. ^ Guardian Obituary
  25. ^ Tony Carter at the City & Guilds of London Art School Archived 16 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  26. ^ RCA website page[permanent dead link]
  27. ^ "Artist biography;- Rodney Joseph Burn". British Council. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015. 
  28. ^ [1]

External links

  • Extract from "Every Woman's Encyclopaedia" published 1910.

Coordinates: 51°29′14″N 0°06′26″W / 51.48722°N 0.10722°W / 51.48722; -0.10722

Retrieved from ""
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia :
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "City and Guilds of London Art School"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA