BSoA Archives Update


Following the launch of the BSoA Website, it came to light that a privately owned collection of BSoA student’s original art, craft and design as well as photographs and memorabilia could, subject to certain conditions be available for good use. This could include their reproductions featured on our BSoA Website as well as forming the basis of a BSoA Archives and installed at a public library.

At the same time, the Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication (RCDC) was contacted to ascertain whether they had any former BSoA materials that could be added to the collection. They did, and a small batch of BSoA material mainly consisting of administrative records, a few press cuttings, photographs and letters was collected. Intermingled among this collection were similar samples from the former Bromley College of Art, Sidcup School of Art and RCDC’s predecessor the Ravensbourne College of Art and Design (RCAD). These collections have been catalogued and have been donated to the Local Studies Dept. of Bromley Central Library, where they will be registered in their computer reference system and made available to the public.

The said private collection of BSoA materials consists of over four hundred pieces including samples of life and costume drawings, graphic design, the history of fashion, architecture, furniture and art as well as calligraphy, illustration, sketchbooks, typography and teacher’s notebooks. Other samples of BSoA student’s work is also being regularly donated by former students and or their families from all over the world.

This body of material representing the BSoA from 1908 to1962 celebrates an art education that no longer exists and is unlikely to return. Specifically it demonstrates the curriculum taught, particularly its following of Modernism, the Bauhaus and the Classical. Thus it would be of much interest to art education historians, teachers and students.

A group of BSoA alumni together with an adviser has formed to discuss making a good use of this material. One such procedure could be to establish a BSoA Archive’s Trust that would take ownership of all of the donated materials and according to certain conditions such as adequate storage conditions, access to and display of the items, copyright and reproduction, have them installed as a private collection on a temporary or permanent loan at a public library and made available to the public.

Ideally, it would be grand if the private collection, still on hold was amalgamated with the BSoA materials collected from RCAD and recently installed at the Local Studies Dept. Bromley Central Library. There, they could form an archives that would meet the educational, historical and artistic credibility it deserves.

As requests from various art organisations have been made to see samples of this material accompanied by a talk, about twenty pieces representing the range of media, styles, genres and the followed curriculum will be kept separate for this purpose.

About forty photocopy reproductions have been made from this collection and mounted on card. These have been on display at four libraries in the London Borough of Bromley. This display collection is available for loan.

If a Trust is formed, regular updates of its decisions and progress in the cataloguing and installment at a public library would be posted on this website.

January 2010