Mr. Frank Calderon's School - Animal Models - Favourite Subjects - Canine Sitters - Life Classes - Arrangement of the School - Fees and Terms - The Summer Holiday Class

The large and splendidly appointed art school for the study of animal painting which Mr. Frank Calderon opened at 54, Baker Street nearly twenty years ago, has long since become one of the most interesting of permanent London institutions. Since its inauguration many of our younger painters of repute have passed through the school, learning not only to depict every variety of domestic animal in its various moods and phases from the living model, but gaining the complete, intimate, and detailed knowledge of animal anatomy without which no animal painter's equipment is complete.

Mr. Calderon's wide range of outlook in the choice of theme for his own artistic work - for he handles a scene at a country horse-fair or a highly imaginative painting such as "the Erl King," or " The Finding of Lancelot by the Four Queens" with the same easy and unerring skill - has made him world-famous as not only an extraordinarily painstaking, but also a delightfully broad-minded teacher, and many of his students come from such, far-off lands as New Zealand and Australia, besides others from Sweden, Ireland, and France, to work under his direction.

Mr. Frank Calderon and his students in the large ground'floor studio, posing an animal model

Mr. Frank Calderon and his students in the large ground'floor studio, posing an animal model. The horse stands upon a specially prepared carpeting of peat or tan, instead of being posed on the ordinary model throne

While many of the students are, of course, studying to become animal painters, others are, perhaps, already experts in other branches of art, and are desirous of putting in a period of hard work at the painting of animals alone, in order to be able to introduce them when necessary into their portraits or landscapes.

A group of Calderon Art School students at work

A group of Calderon Art School students at work. Behind the students, who sit on the same floor level as the model, is a long, low platform on which other students sit or stand. Every student can thus obtain a complete view of the model

During term time the studio models are chiefly confined to horses, and donkeys, and every imaginable type of horseflesh, visit the school in the course of a year, for Mr. Calderon makes a point of always selecting his models himself, and there are several large stables that he visits frequently to search for models.

The models chosen range from the sleek hunter, his muscles gleaming through his burnished skin, to the slightly built Arab with flowing mane and tail, the odd, hard-working rough coster pony, the cherished property of a street hawker, spared for a day, or some splendid cart-horse, posed, perhaps, with a child model - clad in the smock and cap of a farmer's lad - perched up upon his broad back.

A horse which has been partially clipped is another favourite choice of subject with Mr. Calderon, as affording splendid practice in the delineation of two widely contrasting forms of coat.

The largest studio on the ground floor, where the horse model poses four days a week, is arranged upon an original and most successful plan, for the model, instead of being raised upon a throne, is posed on the level of the "floor on a specially prepared carpeting of earth-brown peat or tan, which is comfortable for his feet, and makes a harmonious setting for any picture which the more advanced students may be engaged in painting.

The first row of students sit on the same level as the model, their easels on the floor before them, and behind them is a long, low platform which forms a splendid vantage ground on which the rest of the class, with their impedimenta of easels and painting-stools, can sit or stand to paint or draw.

Thus arranged, every student has an equally good and complete view of the model, unlike the plan in vogue at many studios, where the best places are soon snapped up, and late-comers must perforce be content with some awkwardly foreshortened view of the sitter of the day.

Upstairs there are other good-sized studios in one of which a dog model daily poses, and here the most engaging of canine sitters are to be found perched up on a big model throne wide enough to afford ample accommodation for even a Great Dane sprawling at full length, chough the sitter is provided with a special custodian, who sees to it that he keeps as far as possible to some special pose.

Dogs are one of Mr. Calderon's special hobbies during his leisure hours, and at least half a dozen prize-bred beauties are always at the studios in a specially fitted kennel-room down below, ready to act as models when required.

There is a keen contrast between the general atmosphere of serious and steady hard work which reigns amongst the students in the big studios downstairs where the horse model poses-keenly alive to a sense of his duty, and often standing almost as unmovable as bronze - and the lively animation which prevails up above, for the best of canine sitters frankly show their boredom at being kept sitting in some tedious position, and awake, for nearly an hour at a time, a boy chucking them under the chin should they show signs of relapsing into slumber on the floor, while energetic damsels, some with five or six: lightning sketches of the model in different attitudes drawn on a single sheet, some with a serious study in oils of a single characteristic pose, try to recall them to a sense of duty by cries of "Hi!" "Here, boy !" or "Rats ! "

Lightning Sketches

Working occasionally from a rather fidgety model is invaluable practice, however, for a would-be animal painter, and Mr. Calderon warmly encourages the practice of making a number of spirited sketches of a series of chance poses, any one of which can be afterwards worked up if required into a finished picture, the student meanwhile gaining a knowledge of her subject which the most elaborate painting of the model standing in one position for an hour could never give.

Classes for ladies only for painting the human figure from the nude are held on Tuesday and Friday afternoons from 2 to 4, while similar classes for men students take place on Monday and Thursday afternoons, and the whole school works in the costume and portrait painting class or in the composition class on Wednesdays from 10 till 4.

The cast-room is a large one, and contains a number of most valuable and interesting casts - many of them made specially for Mr. Calderon by a late member of the Royal Zoological Society, a former confrere, and ranging from snakes, monkeys, armadillos and sheep, and endless horses and dogs, to special parts, such as heads and paws of lions and tigers - as well as many anatomically set up animal skeletons and casts of partial dissections, made by an expert, of a horse and of a calf with the outside skins removed.

The school year is divided into three terms, commencing about the second Monday in Jnauary, the third Monday in April, and the first Monday in October respectively.

The school is open every day except Saturdays, from 10 till 4. Classes are held for drawing and painting from the live horse, the live dog, the human figure (both nude and in costume), and for composition.

Classes for drawing and painting from the live horse are held on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, from 10 till 4.

From the live dog on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, from 10 till 1.

From the human figure (nude), on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, from 2 till 4.

Costume and portrait class on Wednesdays, from 10 till 4.

Composition class on Wednesdays, from 10 till 4.

These classes are interchangeable, and the terms are as follows :

Per Annum

Term

Half Term, or any six con-secutive weeks

s.

d.

s.

d.

s.

d.

Five days a week ...

26

5

0

10

10

0

6

6

0

Four days a week ...

23

12

6

9

9

0

5

15

0

Three days a week...

21

0

0

8

8

0

5

5

0

Two days a week ...

18

7

6

7

7

0

4

4

0

Twelve lessons (not to extend beyond three months), 5 5s.

Students may join at any time during the term, proportionate charges being made.

One free studentship, admitting to all classes for one year, is awarded at the end of each term. Only those students can compete who have attended the school regularly during two whole terms.

Lectures And Sketching Parties

Each year, during the autumn or winter term, Mr. Frank Calderon delivers a special series of six evening lectures, for which the fee is a guinea, on the "Artistic Anatomy of the Horse," illustrating his text with coloured charts and drawings on the blackboard, and from an actual skeleton. Each student is provided at the first lecture with a plainly printed outline of a horse, and upon this, week by week, she superimposes an anatomical drawing on fine transparent paper - copied from Mr. Calderon's diagrams on the blackboard - of the muscles and sinews, taken layer by layer, thus learning their use and titles, all of which particulars are recorded on or beneath the chart, so that when the final lecture is completed each pupil has an invaluable series of anatomical drawings which, lifted up sheet by sheet, reveal every particular of a horse's anatomy.

Sometimes during the summer term sketching parties are formed for painting at the Zoological Gardens, but the new regulations, which authorise a charge of ten shillings a head to art students desirous of painting there, has made this too expensive for the average girl student.

Mr. Calderon's summer holiday class, with some picturesquely situated farm for its headquarters, is a very important affair. Artists and students who are not members of the school are also invited to join, and a large class, the girl members of which are under Mrs. Calderon's chaperonage, collects in rooms in some neighbouring village for five or six weeks of the summer vacation.

The best of the sketches are often afterwards sent in to the Gilbert Garret Competition, which opens in the late autumn of each year, and many are the prizes and awards which have fallen to the Calderon art student's share.