The Heatherley School of Fine Art is not only by far the oldest institution of its kind existing in London to-day, but also one of the most interesting. Situated in the heart of London, at Newman Street, Oxford Street, since 1848, it can show in its books an unrivalled list of past students who have since become world-famous.
Burne-Jones, R.a.; Sir Edward Poynter, P.r.a.; Du Maurier; Solomon J. Solomon, R.a.; W. L. Wyllie, R.a.; Phil May; Dante Gabriel Rossetti - whose name appears on the school registers as long ago as 1845, while the school was still in Mad-dox Street - almost all the best known London artists have worked in its studios at one time or another.
The Heatherley School was, moreover, one of the first to open its doors to women, and Kate Greenaway, Henrietta Rae (Mrs. Ernest Normand), and Mrs. Jopling Rowe have also added their names to the list of students of renown; and the first woman student to enter the Academy schools, Miss Hertford, did so from Heather-ley's.
A model in Stuart costume. The Heatherley School owns a unique collection of antique weapons and costumes, which are utilised in the costume-model classes of the curriculum
TheHeatherleySketch Club was founded at the same time as the school, Fred Walker, A.r.a., who was a Heatherley student at the time, being one of its first members.
The first principal of the school was James Mathews Leigh, the only pupil of Etty. At his death the school was carried on by Thomas Heatherley,one of Leigh's pupils, who, after the fashion then in vogue, gave his own name to the school, a name which it bears to this day.,
Thomas Heatherley was a great collector of armour and of historical costumes, and these he bequeathed to the school, with the result that the collection of costumes is a unique one, and contains many genuine old world garments made of the rich satins brocades of a long past day, and faded to the exquisite colours which are an inspiration and delight to the artistic eye.
The traditions of the school are still carried on by Mr. M.assey, the present principal, and the school to-day is run on the same lines as the great public art schools of Paris. Students receive a thorough training in both the practice and principles of art. They learn the true understanding and control of form, colour, and composition, through working direct from the living model, both from the nude and in costume, and by the study of pictorial composition.
During the models' necessary rests, the students compare notes and examine each other's sketches
They have, in addition, the opportunity of putting the knowledge thus acquired into practice, both in painting and illustrating, by working from a . "costume set," which consists of a living model posed as a complete picture, the fine school collection of costumes and accessories of all kinds - including some beautiful pieces of old furniture - enabling this very delightful and original feature of the ordinary school course to be arranged with ease.
The Ideal of the School
There is also a pictorial composition class held for two hours weekly, at which a subject is set, and each student chooses her own way of carrying out her ideas. At the end of the time allotted, Mr. Massey criticises each sketch.
The entire methods of instruction at the school are based on mental training. To give the student self-reliance and teach her how to criticise and correct her own work is the object kept in view. The training, too, is largely individual, and each student is urged during the whole period of her course to re-create things by means of the three stages of observation, conception, and recreation, rather than to strive merely to copy them exactly.
The training of the memory and the power of rapid, correct observation are most important factors in the artist's education, at Heatherley's they are insisted on strongly.
They form, indeed, an integral part of the course, each student being desired to draw again from memory that which each day she has drawn in the school.
The school working year consists of forty-one weeks; there is a fortnight's vacation at
Christmas, and nine weeks in the summer. Students can join at any time, their term beginning from the date of entrance. A month consists of four weeks, and a term of twelve weeks, from the date of entering. There is no entrance fee, and easels and drawing-boards are provided by the school.
The school is intended for beginners as well as more advanced students, and beginners are encouraged to work from the living model from the first, in addition to their more elementary work, instruction in anatomy and perspective coming in naturally during the ordinary course of their studies.
Students desirous of becoming illustrators receive special instruction in technical matters in the costume and pictorial composition classes.
The school work is divided into day and evening classes. The day classes work from 10 to 4, and on certain days from 10 to 6, and the evening classes from 7 to 9.30.
The attendance at the Heatherley School averages about 100 students a day, of whom about half are women.
The school fees are as follows:
A yearly ticket, admitting to all classes, both day and evening (excepting the special miniature class), 25 guineas.
Day classes (every day, including quick sketch class), 3 guineas a month, or 8 guineas a term.
Day classes (on alternate days), 2 guincas a month, or 5 guineas a term.
Nude quick sketch class only, on alternate afternoons, 12s. 6d. a month, or £1 11s. 6d. a term.
Miniature class, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, 7 guineas a term, or, including the practice class on the other three days of the week, 10 guineas a term.
Pictorial composition on Wednesday after noons, 2 guineas a term.
Anatomy lecture course on Fridays, 10s. a term.
Saturday practice class only, for the whole day, 15s. 6d. the month, or 2 guineas a term, or for the afternoon only, half fees.
Evening classes every evening (except Saturday, when the school closes at 4), including quick sketch class, 15s. 6d. a month, or 2 guineas a term.
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, evenings only, 12s. 6d. a month or £1 11s. 6d. a term.
Nude quick sketch class on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings, 7s. 6d. a month, or one guinea a term.
Season ticket, admitting to all evening classes, from September to Whitsuntide, 5 guineas. The fees for private lessons of three hours each are 10 guineas for twelve, and is. an hour model's fee if a model is required.
Criticisms of outside work, both pictures and sketches, by non-members of the school are given for a fee of I guinea, and for past members for 10s. 6d.
There are separate classes for women for working from the life during the daytime, but at the evening classes men and women students work together, as they do in Paris.
The Heatherley School has a very special attraction in the delightful miniature class held by Mrs. Massey - herself a distinguished member of the Royal Miniature Society, and one of the cleverest and most successful minia-ture painters of the day - three times a week.
This special class meets on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, from 10 to 4, and the models, who sit for six days each are arranged and lighted by Mrs. Massey herself, with the view of suggesting the miniature feeling of delicacy and purity of colour.
The costumes chosen are of the Elizabethan
A corner of the Antique Room at the Heatherley School of Art. The school is exceptionally well equipped with casts of the best classical sculpture or Stuart period, or are such as those in which the dainty sitters of Cosway, Engle-hart, or Plimer, were depicted, and serve to heighten still further the special miniature effect. They act also as a direct inspiration to young artists who have made the exquisite work of the old miniaturists a special object of admiration and study.
The plan of having the same model posing for six days is a very helpful one to advanced students in the class, who are thus enabled to make finished miniatures suitable for sale or exhibition.
The Heatherley Sketch Club - to which the subscription is 5s. a year - is run entirely by the students of the school, who choose their own committee from amongst themselves, two of whom are sent up yearly to represent the Heatherley Sketch Club on the United Art Schools Committee, to choose the subject for the Gilbert Garret Competition, in which they have on many occasions won the Award of Honour.
Delightful holiday sketching tours are arranged from time to time bymr. Massey, who takes a limited number of s t u -dents to Algeria, Venice, or some other painters' paradise during the various vacations, he himself returning with the most wonderful collections of water-colour sketches, which must in themselves act as an inspiration to the pupils amongst whom they have been painted, as well as delightful reminders of scenes which cannot be forgotten.
A collection of delightful water-colours from his brush hangs in the ante-room, ranging in subject from Morocco bathed in brilliant sunshine to Cheapside in the rain; while a very clever portrait of Mrs. Massey confronts the visitor just inside the entrance to the Heatherley School.