Royal College of Art (Great Britain). Sketch Club, Royal College of Art Sketch Club Collection,
- Royal College of Art Sketch Club Collection, 1934-1937.
- Physical Description:
- .42 linear feet (1 box, 90 items)
- Rare Books and ManuscriptsMSS 54Accessible by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: As a COVID-19 precaution, the Study Room is closed until further notice.
- Copyright Status:
- Copyright Information
- Related Content:
- View a description and listing of collection contents in the finding aid
- Archives & Manuscripts
- The Government School of Design, predecessor to the Royal College of Art, was founded in 1837. Its goal, in its earliest years, was to train students in techniques vital to improving industrial and everyday products in England; this mission would evolve in various ways under ensuing directors, and per the demands of the students themselves. By 1896, when the school was renamed the Royal College of Art, the school had assimilated the influence of the Arts and Crafts Movement and embraced a broader vision of art and design.
During the first few decades of the twentieth century, new leadership brought ever more shifts in the mission of the RCA. The painter William Rothenstein became Principal in 1920 and began to shift the school's emphasis towards the study of fine art, and the training of designers, rather than teachers. In the words of sculptor Henry Moore: “he changed the college completely.” In 1935, painter Percy Jowett succeeded Rothenstein as head of the RCA, continuing an approach more interested in the cultivation of new artistic styles and methods, rather than preserving traditional techniques. It was under the post-war reorganization of Robin Darwin, however, that the RCA fully embraced fine art and became a driving force in British post-war art.
During the 1930s, the Royal College of Art Students' Group, or Sketch Club, held annual exhibitions at the Victoria & Albert Museum, displaying students' work and awarding prizes for different genres and themes. The secretaries of the group included Frank B. Mason; J. Anthony Denney, later a fashion photographer for British Vogue; Margaret Kaye, an artist who worked in textiles and stained-glass; and Evelyn Hunt, a painter.
The collection includes 79 letters and postcards, and 11 draft letters, pertaining to the Royal College of Art Students' Group, or Sketch Club, written between 1934 and 1937. The letters concern the logistics of the group's annual exhibition, held at the Victoria & Albert Museum. The correspondence consists primarily of replies to solicitations written by secretaries of the RCA. In the replies, the authors--typically individuals involved in fine art, art and literary criticism, and museums--discuss their willingness to attend the show, or to sponsor and judge prizes for different categories of artistic production.
The letters offer insight into the various media used by students at the RCA and those valued by their correspondents, and into the continuing involvement of some of the figures with artistic education. Types of prizes mentioned include those in set design, theatrical costume, painting, embroidery, notebook sketches, posters, and ceramics. Some of the correspondents also express their enthusiasm for the RCA, such as painter and author Wyndham Lewis, while others express thoughts related to artistic practice, such as theater director Nugent Monck, who stresses the importance of responding to commissions. Most letters address the logistical details of funding and judging prizes.
This collection is open without restriction.
The letters are arranged alphabetically, by the name of letter authors.
- Subject Terms:
- Arnold, Elizabeth -- Correspondence.Art -- Awards -- Great Britain.Art -- Competitions -- Great Britain.Art -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Great Britain.Art schools -- Great Britain -- 20th century.Art students -- Great Britain -- 20th century.Art, British -- 20th century.Art, British -- Exhibitions -- 20th century.Ashton, Leigh, 1897-1983 -- Correspondence.Árnason, Barbara, 1911-1975 -- Correspondence.Bawden, Edward, 1903-1989 -- Correspondence.Bell, Clive, 1881-1964 -- Correspondence.Bell, Vanessa, 1879-1961 -- Correspondence.Clark, Kenneth, 1903-1983 -- Correspondence.Clayton, Muriel -- Correspondence.Cohen, Dennis, 1891-1970 -- Correspondence.Costume -- Great Britain -- 20th century.Courtauld, Samuel, 1876-1947 -- Correspondence.Denney, Anthony, 1913-1990 -- Correspondence.Dick, William Reid, 1879-1961 -- Correspondence.Drawing, British -- 20th century.Embroidery -- Great Britain -- 20th century.Enthoven, Gabrielle, 1868-1950 -- Correspondence.Evans, J. H. -- Correspondence.Gardner, H. Vernon -- Correspondence.Gielgud, John, 1904-2000 -- Correspondence.Gregory, Eric, 1887-1959 -- Correspondence.Hall, Evelyn F. -- Correspondence.Hambleden, William Smith, Viscount, 1903-1948 -- Correspondence.Hardie, Martin, 1875-1952 -- Correspondence.Hughes, George Ravensworth -- Correspondence.Hunt, Evelyn Janet, 1914-2001 -- Correspondence.Jago, Joseph -- Correspondence.John, Augustus, 1878-1961 -- Correspondence.Kauffer, E. McKnight (Edward McKnight), 1890-1954 -- Correspondence.Kaye, Margaret, 1912-2002 -- Correspondence.Korda, Alexander, Sir, 1893-1956 -- Correspondence.Laver, James, 1899-1975 -- Correspondence.Lawson, Vivien -- Correspondence.Lewis, Wyndham, 1882-1957 -- Correspondence.Maclagan, Eric Robert Dalrymple, 1879-1951 -- Correspondence.Marlow, Reginald Herbert -- Correspondence.Mason, Frank B. -- Correspondence.Mitchison, Naomi, 1897-1999 -- Correspondence.Monck, Walter Nugent Bligh, 1878-1958 -- Correspondence.Mortimer, Raymond, 1895-1980 -- Correspondence.Nash, John, 1893-1977 -- Correspondence.Painting, British -- 20th century.Phillips, Fred P., 1880- -- Correspondence.Pope, G. R. -- Correspondence.Rackham, Bernard, 1876-1964 -- Correspondence.Raverat, Gwen, 1885-1957 -- Correspondence.Ravilious, Eric William, 1903-1942 -- Correspondence.Read, Herbert, 1893-1968 -- Correspondence.Robinson, Edward G., 1893-1973 -- Correspondence.Rothenstein, William, 1872-1945 -- Correspondence.Royal College of Art (Great Britain) -- Students -- Exhibitions.Royal College of Art (Great Britain). Sketch Club.Rutherston, Albert, 1881-1953 -- Correspondence.Schwabe, Randolph, 1885-1948 -- Correspondence.Sculpture, British -- 20th century.Simmonds, W. G. (William George), 1876-1968 -- Correspondence.Theaters -- Stage-setting and scenery -- Great Britain -- 20th century.Victoria and Albert Museum.Wellington, Hubert -- Correspondence.Wilenski, R. H. (Reginald Howard), 1887-1975 -- Correspondence.Willcock, J. P. -- Correspondence.
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