Exhibition opens to celebrate 150 years of School of Art

Edward Costar’s Old Palace Road, Church Street, Croydon, Surrey, dated 1871 and part of the  Croydon Art Collection

An exhibition has opened at the Museum of Croydon in the Clocktower to mark the 150th anniversary of the foundation of Croydon School of Art.

The free exhibition is on display until April 14, and includes work from many of the artists who had connections with the school, either as students, visiting teachers or lecturers.This 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, 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.

David Bowie: had a brief, and unhappy, stay at Croydon School of Art

The school counts David Bowie (“It’s so fucking Croydon”), fashion designer John Rocha, Turner Prize nominees Helen Chadwick and Sean Scully, and comedian Noel Fielding among its alumni.

Timothy Godfrey, the council cabinet member for art and stuff, 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.”

The Croydon School of Art exhibition at the Museum of Croydon in Croydon Clocktower on Katharine Street is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10.30am to 5pm except on public holidays. Entry to the exhibition is free.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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