Miss Bingley recalls the art school she attended

Interviewer: [00:00:00] Could you describe, for instance, the buildings, the actual rooms where the art school was held because it was held in the museum, wasn’t it?

Miss B.: [00:00:08] Yes, the art school was situated on the top floor of the Grosvenor Museum and it comprised three large studios. The antique room was at the end of a long curved corridor. And in there there was a splendid display of classical antique figures which we studied not only for human form, but for drapery study as well. And off that, a sort of inner sanctuary, and the warmest spot in the school was the life room where a model came two or three times a week and to evening school sessions. We drew from the nude and there was a good deal of painting and portraiture as well. Modelling was done in this room also because there was a sink and a tap and all the accompanying messiness, bins of clay, various stages of dampness and hardness, which provided a good amount of entertainment for students. There was also a human skeleton there, who featured in a good many student activities. At the other end of this curved corridor was a large room subdivided into three compartments. One was used by pupils from the City High School, who came every week with a mistress in charge to have lessons in history of architecture. And the dividing screen, which didn’t reach the ceiling, allowed us to participate in these lessons. And I think we derived a good deal of general knowledge from. The middle part of this larger area, held what can only be called the art school library, where there was a very commendable collection of modern and older books on art, particularly on the history of design. They had a wonderful collection of mounted cards which covered the whole history of design from Assyrian and Egyptian up to Victorian. We made much use of these. In this middle section, students did such crafts as needlework, embroidery, leatherwork, etching, although the etching machine was in a small office off the Head’s room, which was next to a large room, illumination bookbinding. But when you had forwarded a book to a certain stage, you advanced into the third section of the room where there was the minimum amount of apparatus for master craftsmen to do, to-to exercise bookbinding. It was quite a feature of the school. Down below in the cellars, and we never met the people down there, somehow, we knew they existed. There were painters and sign writers. And there were dark corners and mysterious dark studios about which we didn’t know very much, was rather extraordinary, how isolated we were on the top floor.

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