Item From Todmorden Advertiser 1 September 1933

FURTHER EDUCATION IN TODMORDEN. (3) Fielden School of Art. In the Fielden School of Art the Todmorden Corporation has had a rare possession, for few local Education Authorities in England and Wales, comparable in size with Todmorden, can boast of a School of Art, officially recognised as such, separately organised and conducted on premises exclusively devoted to that purpose. For many years before the Fielden School of Art came into being, Art Classes had been conducted at the Roomfield School by the Todmorden School Board and later by the Borough of Todmorden Technical Instruction Committee. It was the generosity of the late John Ashton Fielden, of Centre Vale which provided for those classes their own separate premises and made possible the establishment and development of what, in gratitude to the donor is called the Fielden School of Art. The building was erected in 1871, at the height of Gothic Revival, the architect being Mr. John Gibson, F.S.A., who not only designed Dobroyd Castle, the Unitarian Church Town Hall, but also assisted Sir Charles Barry in the building of the Houses of Parliament. It was of course designed and built as an Elementary School and as such it was conducted by that great educational pioneer. Mrs. Sarah Jane Fielden. Litt.D, the founder of the Fielden Chair of Education. and of the Fielden Demonstration School in the University of Manchester. The growing provision made by the School Board eventually rendered unnecessary this privately owned Elementary School. Hence, on the 28th December, 1897, Mr. Fielden conveyed the Centre Vale School (as it then was) to the Todmorden Corporation, to be used “solely and exclusively for the purpose or purposes of teaching art and science.” As such it has therefore been used for the past 35 years or more. The building is undoubtedly very different from what would be provided to-day if a new Art School were required. It is, however, fully adequate to the needs of the borough and has a peace and charm of its own which is most consonant with the quiet labours of art students. The great rose window with its beautiful monochrome glass and perfect geometrical tracery alone makes the little school well worth a visit. Twenty-one years ago, His Majesty’s Inspectors visited the School and subsequently issued a printed report on its work. They were apparently so satisfied with what they saw that they have not reported on the school since. Miss Helen M. Cunliffe was the Art Mistress at that time and had 52 students. Miss Cunliffe was succeeded by Miss Balshaw, who held the appointment until 1917, when she was succeeded by Miss M. A. Holmes, under whose charge the school has continued to make steady progress and to produce work of a very high order. Miss Holmes was trained at the Lancaster and Liverpool Schools of Art. At the latter her career was highly successful, culminating in the award of a Senior City Art Travelling Scholarship. Her academic qualifications include the full Art Masters Certificate of the. Board of Education as well as the Art Class Teachers Certificate and the Teacher Artist’s Certificate of the R.D.S. While serving as Art Mistress at the Liverpool Institute High School and at the Walton and Kirkdale Technical Institute Miss Holmes was a frequent exhibitor at the Liverpool City Art Gallery. Since her appointment 15.5 years ago the number of students has increased from 31 to an average for 1930-31 to 1932-33 of 95. Miss Holmes (assisted by Miss E. W. Thomson) is responsible for all the general art and craft instruction, while Mr. H. Dean takes the trade class in painting and decorating, in which subjects he holds the full Technological Certificate of the City and Guilds of London Institute. During the coming session the Fielden School of Art will be open to day and evening students for about 40 weeks. An organised course of general art, design and craft instruction, including instruction in design for manufacture, is provided. Courses of study are arranged for the purpose of making as wide an appeal as possible, and definite programmes of work are organised to cater for the needs of all types of students, i.e., for those who need a knowledge of art work as part of their technical or industrial training, and equally for those who seek art for art’s sake, as well as for teachers in Elementary and Secondary Schools who desire to develop their own powers of drawing, painting, modelling, pictorial illustration, design and craftsmanship. The instruction given is as far as possible individual. The student’s proficiency at the moment is taken as the starting point, and an art course is devised to meet varying executive power in terms of the purpose for which the course is being taken. A wide choice of subjects of study is offered, these including the following:— Drawing and painting, in a variety media, from objects, still life, nature, figures from the cast and life (head, details, draped full length life, and the nude figure), landscape and buildings from memory; perspective; theory of colour; pictorial design for posters, book illustrations, etc.; design (including the geometric basis and lettering); with embroidery and weaving, wood-staining, basketry, pottery-painting, batik and other decorative dyeing, leather-work, bookbinding, Pewter, Silver and other light meta! work; design for bakery and confectionery: renovation of fabric hangings by pattern in dye stencilling, etc. The course in painters’ and decorators’ work will consist of geometrical drawing and study of ornament; design for stencilling, with theory and application of colour; lettering, stencil cutting, etc.; theory lecture; and general practical work. It will occupy 8 hours a week of the student’s time. Day classes will be held on Tuesdays and Fridays, 2-5 p.m., and on Saturday mornings. Other day classes will be arranged if there is a demand. Evening classes will be held every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evenings from 8-45 to 9-30 p.m. There will also be a class on Saturday mornings for teachers and adults. The group courses will consist of (a) Group course of single subjects for students of general design.—Lettering; geometry in relation to the construction of surface pattern and objects of utility; drawing in monochrome or colour from nature and natural form; principles of design, including theory of colour; study of historic styles of ornament; original design and decorative treatment of geometrical forms, plants, birds, and animals; study of methods of manufacture or execution and, where possible, practical work in the selected method, such as embroidery; stencilling; modelling in gesso; staining or painting on wood; pottery painting, etc. (b) Group course of single subjects for students of pictorial design and dress design.—Lettering; the representation of common objects, still life groups, and interiors in perspective; study of nature and natural form; sketching landscape from memory; drawing in monochrome or colour from the head, details, and full length including the study of anatomy; of drapery and costume or draped human figure; drawing from the antique figure, including the study of anatomy; study of drapery and costume or dress design; study of reproductions of great masters’ drawings; theory of colour; composition of figure. landscape, architectural subjects. etc, for book illustration, posters and other commercial purposes; study of methods of drawing for reproduction by lino or wood-block cutting and printing, lithographic, and commercial printing processes. The degree of difficulty of the subjects in each course will be adapted to suit the ability of each student. Beginners may omit figure drawing and composition; dress designers may omit the study of perspective, nature and landscape sketching from memory. Class fees are as follows: For day classes, 2s. 6d. per term for one afternoon or morning, and 5s. per term for more than one afternoon or morning; a session consists of three terms, ending Christmas. Easter and Midsummer respectively. For evening classes a fee of 6s. a course or class for the period ending with the County Examinations must be paid, provided that (i) students joining for more than one day session may be admitted to the evening classes without additional fee; (ii) other day students wishing to take evening classes shall pay an additional fee of 2s. 6d. a term. Summer evening classes will be arranged. For the class in figure drawing from the nude the fee will be 7s. 6d. a term. This class is intended for advanced students. Fees are returnable at the close of the session to both day and evening students on the same condition.