|Group of children outside Elliott School, Putney, photo courtesy Andy Lambert & Edmund Hodges (tile panel original to 1956 building, possibly Peggy's but needs further research)|
|Technical College, Oxford|
'The Decorated School: Essays on the Visual Culture of Schooling', which is edited by Catherine Burke, Jeremy Howard and Peter Cunningham. The text may be a little dry for the non-academic reader, but it's worth persevering with, and the pictures are great. There are case studies from Japan, France and the United States, and a fascinating discussion of art and architecture in post-war British primary schools.
We hear from 1930s educational pioneer Henry Morris, who argued: 'Buildings that are well-designed and equipped and beautifully decorated will exercise their potent, but unspoken, influence on those who use them from day to day.'
This was certainly a philosophy Peggy Angus agreed with. Influenced as she was by William Morris (who ought to have been related to Henry, but wasn't), Peggy believed that decoration was not a luxurious embellishment but a necessary part of any building. Schools ought to be as beautiful and as visually stimulating as possible, to encourage both the aesthetic and the moral development of students. At North London Collegiate School, where she was head of art through the 1950s and 1960s, Peggy was encouraged by headmistress Dr Kitty Anderson to create (with her students' help) temporary murals and other artworks around the school.
|Frank Hooker School, Kent|
|Lansbury Lawrence School, Poplar (& below)|
Peggy's tiles were used all over England and Wales, usually in parts of the school where they would be seen by everybody in the course of the day. Foyers, stairwells and entrances were decorated with panels of different sizes, usually consisting of abstract patterns but occasionally incorporating figurative elements. We'll be showing a couple of the most stunning tile murals, I hope in large-scale photos, at the Towner exhibition in July...
|Whitefield School, N London|