Birmingham City University Arts, Design and Media Archive

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    • The Parkside Building 5 Cardigan Street, Birmingham, B4 7BD, United Kingdom
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  • Archival and Other Holdings

    BIAD School of Art Archive

    This collection covers the Birmingham School of Art from before its formation as a Government School of Design in 1843 until it joined Birmingham

    Polytechnic in 1971. It includes minute books, student records, programmes and photographs that document the history of the School. There are also a large number of works of art by past teachers and students. As well as fine art

    these include designs for fashion, ceramics, textiles, jewellery and metalwork, stained glass, furniture, interior design and work produced by the Birmingham School of Printing. It includes work not only by students attending the Central School in Margaret Street, but also by those from its branch schools at Vittoria Street and Moseley Road as well as fashion and other design students who studied on the Gosta Green campus in the 1960s.

    The collection is particularly strong for the period c.1880-

    1920. At this time the Birmingham School of Art was one of the largest and most successful Art and Design Schools in

    the UK. The teaching staff included well-known artists such

    as William Bloye, Benjamin Creswick, Arthur Gaskin,Charles March Gere, Sidney Meteyard, Mary Newill, Henry Payne and Bernard Sleigh. Among those who trained at the School during this period were Gerald Brockhurst, Kate and Myra Bunce, Florence Camm, Bernard Fleetwood-Walker (who later taught there from 1929 to 1956), Georgie Gaskin

    and Joseph Greenup. It differs from a museum collection in that it largely consists of student works, providing evidence of both pedagogical changes and artists’ early careers.

    Among these is a significant collection of student work carried out under the direction of Leonard Jay, who taught at the School from 1925 until his retirement in 1953. Jay was a teacher par excellence who influenced and transformed the outlook of a whole generation of printers, making a significant contribution to British printing education in the first half of the twentieth century. He made the Birmingham School without equal in Britain, and exercised a world-wide influence

    on printing education policy.

    There is also a collection of London Underground and travel posters from 1915 up to the 1950s that were collected as exemplars of good design. Among the designers are Frederick Charles Herrick (1887-1970), Edward Kauffer McKnight

    (1890-1954), Charles Paine (1895-1967), Walter Spradbery (1189-1969) and Harold Sandys Williamson (1892-1978).

    Marion Richardson Archive

    Marion Richardson (1892-1946) was an influential art teacher and pioneer of the child art movement. Talented at art,

    she was encouraged to sit for a teacher-training scholarship at Birmingham Municipal School of Arts and Crafts. She studied here from 1908 to 1912, obtaining an Art Class Teacher’s Certificate.

    The collection covers the whole span of Marion Richardson’s career and work from her first teaching job at Dudley Girls High School to her teacher training and inspection work in London. It includes letters; her personal diaries for 1930-1940; unpublished papers and lectures; examples of her writing cards; glass slides and photographs of classes, 20

    exhibitions and children’s artworks; reproductions of artworks; part of her personal library (which includes books,

    magazines and pamphlets on art history, art education, psychology and religion); press clippings about her career,including reviews of exhibitions of her pupils’ work; recent research on her methods by teachers in the 1980s and 1990s, and several thousand examples of children’s artworks and samples of handwriting.

    Marion Richardson’s correspondence spans roughly from 1917 to her death. It includes letters that make reference to Dudley Girls’ High School, private tuition, visits in England and abroad, exhibitions, lectures, inquiries from teachers

    and teaching organisations, her position as a schools inspector with London County Council, Christian Science, and

    personal friends. Among her correspondents were Margery and Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Gwen John,

    W.R. Lethaby, Herbert Read and William Rothenstein. The collection includes letters from organisations such as the Art Teachers Guild; the Burlington Magazine; the Council for Art and Industry; the Courtauld; the National Gallery; the

    National Union of Women Teachers; the Omega Workshops and the Whitworth Gallery, Manchester.

    Public Art Commissions Agency (PACA)

    This collection contains the financial and administrative records of the Public Art Commissions Agency, which operated from Birmingham between 1987 and 1999. It also contains project documentation for both realised and unrealised public art projects. This includes

    correspondence, research notes, contracts, briefs to artists, minutes of meetings and artists’ curriculum vitae. There are a number of drawings, sketches and proposals by artists, architectural drawings and plans as well as an extensive slide and photographic record of the public art projects managed by PACA. The collection also includes the Agency’s library. This is a large collection of books, exhibition catalogues and

    journals on the subjects of public art, urban planning and architecture. In addition, it contains some material that predates the formation of the Agency and relates to Vivien Lovell’s previous employment as Public Art Co-ordinator at West Midlands. This earlier material includes documentation on the sculpture programme for the National Garden

    Festival at Stoke on Trent in 1986.

    BIAD Margaret Street Centenary Folio

    The collection is made up of twelve unframed prints, some printed at the print studios at Margaret Street and others at Jean Vaudeau`s studio in London. This portfolio is number 24 of an edition of 25. It contains original art prints by members of staff of the School of Fine Art, namely Mel Gordon, Trevor Halliday, Jess Hand, Nick Jones, Kim Kempshall, Alan Miller, David Prentice, Ted Rose, Alison Saint, Harry Snook, Keir Smith, and Jean Vaudeau. The

    collection also includes typed lists of both the staff contributing to the portfolio and the 24 organisations that accepted copies of it.

    BIAD Fine Art Graduate Records

    This collection contains 99 individual student records for BA Fine Art graduates who graduated in 1978, 1979 and 1981.

    These include class lists, assignments, references, reports, assessments and results. It also includes 266 colour photographs of 73 of these students seated or standing alongside their work. Unless stated otherwise, each student will have completed the full course.

    The student records (but not the photographs of their work) are closed to

    researchers to comply with data protection legislation.

    Margaret Street Restoration Collection

    The collection contains three spiral-bound volumes of reports by the City Architects' Department on the state of the School of Art's Margaret Street building in 1984-5. Designed by John Henry Chamberlain in the Venetian Gothic style and completed in 1885, many of the building's original features were either damaged or covered by surface boarding by the 1980s. There is also a sequential series of colour photographs taken by the builders Kyle Stewart Ltd that document the progress of the restoration of the School of Art in 1994-95.

    Craftsman's Club Collection

    The Craftsman’s Club was a group founded in 1902 by Robert Catterson-Smith, Headmaster of the Birmingham School of Art from 1903 to 1920. Catterson-Smith had become associated with William Morris early on in his career and the two

    had become friends. Morris invited him to assist in the production of books for the Kelmscott Press, and, among other things, he had prepared the illustrations for the Kelmscott Chaucer from designs by Edward Burne-Jones. Catteron-Smith

    believed that craftsmanship had become devoid of human feeling and romance in the age of the machine.Inspired by the ideals of John Ruskin and William Morris, the Club was set up with the aim of ensuring a high standard

    of craftsmanship in Birmingham. Its members (all male) had to be established, practising artists and/or craftsmen. They

    included painters, jewellers, gold and silversmiths, sculptors, architects and draftsmen.

    The collection contains the Club’s two minute books as well as press clippings, correspondence and exhibition leaflets.

    These document the interests of many of Birmingham’s leading artists and craftsmen in the first forty years of the twentieth century.

    BIAD Hodgson Art History Collection

    This collection mostly contains files and papers produced by

    Frank Hodgson in his capacity as a teacher at the Birmingham College of Arts and Crafts from the 1930s up until his retirement in the early 1970s. These include lecture notes,

    bibliographies, illustration lists, references and chronological charts covering all aspects of art and design history from Roman and Greek times up to the modern 20th century movements of

    the Bauhaus and Art Nouveau that are of potential use to

    researchers investigating the teaching of art history in the 1960s and early 1970s. However, the majority of his research focused on the mid to late 19th century and, most specifically, on the Arts and Crafts Movement and the stained glass work of William

    Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. The collection also includes three sets of prints of historical costume, decorative arts and patterns that Hodgson produced as teaching aids.

    Birmingham Billboard Project Collection

    This collection documents an art project organised by Graham Fagen, who was a member of staff in the School of Art at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design from 1991 to 1995. He worked in collaboration with

    twelve other artists and Vision, a Birmingham-based independent outdoor contractor. Each artist was invited to design a billboard poster that would be displayed for one month. Between May 1992 and May 1993,twelve billboards

    created by artists were exhibited on a chosen location in Snowhill Queensway, Birmingham. The collection comprises 12 framed prints of the posters and multiple copies of the publication accompanying the project.

    Larry Cartoon Collection

    This collection contains original cartoons by former student Terence Parkes (aka Larry) on the subject of art, art galleries and the Margaret Street School of

    Art building. Many of the cartoons are parodies of famous paintings such as Joseph William Mallard Turner’s The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, 16th October 1834 (1834-35); Rene Magritte’s The Great War (1964); Jean Francois Millais’s The Gleaners (1857); Roy Lichtenstein’s Wham (1963); Claude Monet’s The Beach at Trouville

    (1870) and Vincent Van Gough’s Gaugin’s Chair (1888). Several others, while not based on a particular work, parody the work of Auguste Rodin, George Stubbs and Canaletto.

    Bowater Family Collection

    This collection focuses on the history of the Bowater family (most especially in West Bromwich in the late nineteenth century) and the artistic development of their daughter Gertrude Ann from the age of six in 1886 until the early 1940s. It

    is divided into two series: one detailing with Gertrude Ann Bowater’s family history, and the second with her artistic

    development. The latter includes Gertrude's artworks, examination

    certificates and notebooks on art; postcards from national museums that she copied paintings from; and ephemera including gallery passes and an application form to be used when submitting paintings for exhibition at the Royal Academy.

    Foundation Course Collection

    The Foundation Course was set up in 1963 to prepare students to go on to degree level courses in art and design. It gave them an opportunity to gain an insight into a wide variety of art and design disciplines with a view to deciding what they should specialise in at degree level. Its introduction co-incided with the first intake of Birmingham College of Art and Crafts students on to the Diploma in Art and Design. Prior to that, they had been able to take courses in Basic Studies. The collection contains the administrative records of the Basic Studies and Foundation courses run by the School of Foundation Studies at Birmingham Polytechnic (previously known as Birmingham College of Art and Crafts and Birmingham College of Art and Design) between 1960 and 1989. It also includes student artworks in a broad range of genres and media, although none of these date from before 1967.