Artist Nellie Joshua: Heatherleys Art School, circa 1900

Artist Nellie Joshua (1877-1960): Heatherleys Art School, circa 1900

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 Reserved

Nellie Joshua (1877-1960):
Heatherley's Art School, circa 1900
Framed (ref: 4779)

Oil on canvas
24 x 18 in. (61 x 45.7 cm.)

See all works by Nellie Joshua oil allegory artists at work PORTRAIT OF AN ARTIST WOMEN women portraits Mercer Fifty Works by Fifty British Women Artists 1900 - 1950



Provenance: Private collection


Exhibitited: The Edwardian Era, Barbican Art Gallery, (November 87-February 88), no 56.

Literature: The Edwardian Era, Barbican Art Gallery, (November 87-February 88), p 40.

Heatherley School of Art was founded in 1845 by a group of students from the Government School of Design. Named after Thomas Heatherley (18241913), who took over as principal from James Matthews Leigh (18081860) and ran the school for nearly thirty years from Newman Street, London.

Heatherleys, as it is affectionately known, is one of the oldest independent art schools in London and the first to admit women to the life room on equal terms with men. Women artists who attended the school include Emily Mary Osborn, Kate Greenway and Laura Herford the first woman to be admitted to the Royal Academy Schools in 1860. In Nellie Joshuas highly observed work she depicts the schools large collection of historical dress, ceramics and armour which formed a costume studio for the use of students. The painting seems to relate to a contemporary photograph in Heatherleys archive which shows the same view of the costume studio and two seated women students (see biographical entry for Joshua). The students who are wearing matching painting smocks in hues of blue perhaps one is the artist herself appear to be looking at a sketchbook.

Samuel Butlers work Mr Heatherleys Holiday: An Incident in Studio Life (1874, Tate) depicts another view of the schools costume studio. In a letter to OTJ Alpers (17 February 1902), Butler wrote: When I was studying painting in my kind old friend Mr. Heatherleys studio, I remember hearing a student ask how long a man might hope to go on improving. Mr Heatherley said: As long as he is not satisfied with his own work.

Commentary by Alice Strickland, curator for the National Trust in London and the South East. Her research interests include British women artists, with a particular focus on their education and exhibiting opportunities. She is an active member of the Tates British Women Artists 17501950 Network.