New exhibition celebrates 150 years since foundation of Croydon School of Art
The free exhibition is on display in the Museum of Croydon Exhibition Gallery until 14 April and celebrates work from many of the artists who had connections with the school, either as students, visiting teachers or lecturers.
The artwork includes Victorian watercolours and oils depicting Croydon in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and graphic prints and abstract paintings from artists such as Richard Allen, John Hoyland and Bridget Riley.
Two pieces of work by local artist Norman Partridge, who studied at the school from the age of 16 and is best known for his portrayals of Croydon’s past theatres, have been specially purchased for this exhibition and will be displayed alongside archival and local history material related to the history of the school.
Established by the Literacy and Scientific Society, Croydon School of Art opened in May 1868 and was originally located in the Public Halls, Croydon, which was at the corner of George Street and Wellesley Road, where it stayed until 1947.
The increasing number of students and range of courses offered put pressure on the accommodation and plans were developed before the Second World War for new premises on the current Fairfield site where in 1960, Croydon Technical College and Croydon College of Art were formally opened.
The school has a reputation as one of the leading art schools in the country, and counts pop star David Bowie, fashion designer John Rocha, Turner Prize nominees Helen Chadwick and Sean Scully, and Mighty Boosh comedian Noel Fielding among its alumni. It is another piece of the cultural jigsaw that could help see Croydon named the first London Borough of Culture in 2019.
Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “It’s great to be celebrating Croydon School of Art in this way. It is one of the key historic art schools that have played such an important role in shaping the cultural landscape. An exciting exhibition!”
Croydon School of Art is displayed in the Museum of Croydon Exhibition Gallery at Croydon Clocktower. The exhibition is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10.30am to 5pm except on public holidays. Entry to the exhibition is free.