A Stately Home of Art - The Objects of the School - Its Curriculum - Fees - How to Qualify for Admission - Successful Women Students - Elementary and Advanced Courses - The Practical Side of an Art Training he studios of the Polytechnic School of T Art, fitted with every up-to-date contrivance, occupy the two top floors of the new Polytechnic buildings in Regent Street. The objects of the school are to provide a thorough training in both fine and applied art for the student desirous of earning a living by one or other branch of art, to train art teachers for schools, and to prepare students for the entrance scholarships of the Royal College of Art and for admission to the Royal Academy Schools.
Students in the elementary section study freehand and model drawing, plant drawing, shading from the cast and from models, geometrical drawing, and perspective. Those in the advanced section study drawing from the antique, painting from still life, practical designing for various processes and materials, decorative painting, history and principles of ornament, anatomy, drawing and painting from life (from both the figure and costume model), figure composition, memory drawing, pen drawing for reproduction, book illustration, modelling in clay (ornament, antique, and life), modelling design (ornament and figure), and various branches of craft work.
The Polytechnic authorities, for want of space, do not intend to develop craft work in the art school, and students are sent to study such subjects as stained-glass work, bookbinding, and metal-work to the London
County Council Central School of Arts and Crafts in Southampton Row, or to the Royal College of Art, where outside students are admitted to the craft classes provided that they are up to the required standard.
The teaching staff, under the headmaster, Mr. G. P. Gaskell, R.b.a., R.e., is as follows:
Life classes: Mr. Harry Watson.
Design classes: Mr. H. G. Theaker, A.r.c.a., and Miss Winifred L. Stamp.
Modelling: Mr. J. A. Stevenson, A.r.c.a.
Drawing from the antique, and still-life painting: Mr. W. T. Wood.
Elementary subjects and general assistance: Messrs. W. R. Cope, W. Matthews, S. Tressilian, and Miss H. Dash.
The school is open daily, except on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and from 7 to 9.30 p.m.
The fees for the day classes are as follows:
For five days weekly - admitting also to evening classes - for all subjects, including life classes, £3 3s. a term, or £8 8s. a year.
The tees for the evening classes, for five evenings weekly, are as follows:
For the year - September to July inclusive - elementary section, 10s.; advanced section (except life), 17s. 6d.; life classes (drawing or modelling), 25s.
For the winter session - two terms, from September to April inclusive - the fees for the same subjects are 7s. 6d., 12s. 6d., and 20s., respectively; and for the summer term - April to July inclusive - 5s., 73. 6d., and 10s.
Though students at either day or evening classes are not obliged to attend on all five days or evenings, no reduction of fees can be made on account of their not doing so, and all fees must be paid in advance.
The school is open to students of either sex who are over fifteen years of age.
Each new student is seen by the headmaster, and those who already have a sufficient knowledge of elementary drawing are advised by him as to the special course of study they should pursue.
Each student has an individual programme of work, which is varied from time to time, and students can always consult the headmaster at stated times about their work. Indeed, one of the chief reasons of the great success of the school is the personal interest taken in the students' aims and progress by all the teaching staff.
There are no entrance scholarships at the Polytechnic, but a clever girl after her first year, has excellent chances of getting a free studentship, at least ten or twelve of which are offered annually for competition amongst the students.
There are also many free studentships offered by the Board of Education and the London County Council which are tenable at the Polytechnic as at any other school of art.
Three-fourths of the girls working in the school intend to earn their own livings, and the system of training at the Polytechnic is organised with a view to enabling them to do so as quickly as may be.
A three years' course of all-round training in art. is absolutely essential, in Mr. Gaskell's opinion, for the girl with a natural aptitude who requires to make a livelihood by any form of art work. The best students usually have been four or five years in the school. Although the market is flooded with half-trained workers, the well-trained artist with the power of turning her talent to practical purposes will always be able to make her way.
An important branch of the Polytechnic Art School's work is the training of art teachers, and a large number of art class masters and mistresses are always in training there, under Mr. Cope's exceedingly helpful and encouraging care.
Women students have always done specially well at the Polytechnic, and three former students who received their entire training there are now teaching on the staff.
Three out of the seven gold medals won by students of the school in the National Competition in recent years have been taken by girls, and in 1910 two gold medals in the National Competition were taken by Miss Florence Gower and Miss Dorothy Busse, who both specialised in decorative work, chiefly painted wood decorations, and who both, as it chanced, took the gold medals for painted mirror-frames. These, however, differed greatly in design and treatment.