Derbyshire Pictures for Schools

Vera Sherman – Venice

Here are a few of the pictures I acquired at auction from the Derbyshire Pictures for Schools collection. It’s about half of the bounty. I don’t know what is thrusting my collection sometimes, and with schemes like this, I tend to try to buy works that are significant and historically interesting. You can also find my bounty from other collections such as Hertfordshire, Cambridge (and I need to do one for Nottingham).

The Pictures For Schools Collections were started by Nan Youngman in 1947, when she was working under the Cambridgeshire Head of Education, Henry Morris, they were looking for a way to brighten up classrooms when paint was still a luxury after the war. Youngman was a student of painting at the Slade from 1924-1927 and had a wide social circle. The idea of art in the classroom was in part as a reaction to the brutalities of the war and the hope that modern works of art might improve the minds of young children. Cambridge was leading the way with the scheme but later on was joined by Wales, Hertfordshire, Nottingham and Derbyshire. Each area having a different set of administrators selecting images. Derbyshire’s was run by the Director of Education J Longland, but the real brains and passion was his assistant, Barbara Winstanley.

Run by Museum Organiser Barbara Winstanley under the Derbyshire Director of Education, J. Longland. In the post-war period, artworks were chosen with the assistance of Philip James, who was involved with the Arts Council and its predecessor CEMA (The Committee for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts), artist Mary Hoad, and artist and educator Evelyn Gibbs.

I am apt to using the word utopian a lot, but personally I believe projects like these were important in rebuilding Britain after the war. Not just bringing art into the home, but taking it to the public spaces; from the windows in Coventry Cathedral to the Festival of Britain, there was a manufacturing ‘brave new world’ of Britain and they used the artists as part of the team, maybe from champions of design like Robin Darwin at the Royal College of Art and exhibitions like Britain Can Make It in 1946.

Anyway this is part of the collection. Some prints, some paintings and most interestingly, textiles – the real forgotten area of British Art.

Sydney Earnshaw Greenwood – Boats at the Jetty, 1959
John Henn – Petrellen, 1968
Colin King – Steam Engine
Toni Pattern
Rosemary Lowndes and Claude Kailer 
C. Brooke
Vera Sherman – Cockerel
Rosemary Lowndes and Claude Kailer 
Harris. (Pencilled on the back is ‘given by Lucy Carrington Wertheim’)
Jenny Boam – Tasmanian Landscape, 1966
Alan Francis Clutton-Brock
Margaret Green – Dragon