Margo Cudden BSoA 1941-45

Margo at the Beckenhan School of Art

It is with much sadness that I have to announce the death of Margaret (Margo) Cudden 1926-2016. Margo attended the BSoA between 1941 to 1945 and was immensely proud of her time there, so much so that she wrote several reminiscences that can be found in our BSoA Stories section.

To hot to draw!
Rear of BSoA 1943

Margo studied illustration with Kass Cohen. Also there were Robin and Lucienne Day who were highly influential in the post WWII interior design and exhibited at the 1951 Festival of Britain. It was there that she staffed the Homes and Gardens pavilion. About that time, she also worked freelance and completed fashion illustrations for Vogue. Even in her last years she would make sketches of people she observed at bus stops and queuing up outside shops. The drawings were often quite characteristic in style and captured the essence of their personalities. Her artistic career might have been diffferent had she accepted an offer to study at the Royal College of Art, however instead she entered the teaching profession.

Back in 2008 as Margo was our oldest alumni she was chosen to unveil the commemorative plaque at the former site of the BSoA.

Margo at the BSoA plaque unveiling 2008

While at the art school she developed a passion for jazz, therefore it was not surprising that quite a spicy track by Jelly Roll Morton was played at her funeral. Being of Scottish heritage she also had a track of pipes and drums played at the end of the service.

Margo was immensely well read and had an encyclopaedic mind on the history of art. In conversation with her you soon discovered that she did not withhold her opinions on the present day art scene nor politics. She was also a devotee of the great B/W films of yesteryear, and I remember discussing The Third Man with her and was astonished that she could recall every scene and its musical accompaniment. On two occasions I escourted her to the Maritime Museum where we saw two of her favourite artists JMW Turner and the American photograher Ansel Adams. In a sense she was very much a product of the BSoA in that she and her fellow alumni had all been encouraged to continue to look and listen wide to all of the arts, in that respect she remaimed a perpetual art student. We shall miss her.

Margo at Bromley Central Library 2010