De Francia, Peter (12 of 20). National Life Stories Collection: Artists' Lives.

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  • Recording date

    2000-02-24, 2000-03-23, 2000-05-15, 2000-07-20, 2000-08-11, 2000-09-28, 2000-10-04, 2001-02-14

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home in London

  • Interviewees

    De Francia, Peter, 1921-2012 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Roberts, Melanie (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Peter de Francia continues talking about the changes. Returns to his early days with Esher and the student occupation which he helped to sort out. He refers to Guyatt who followed Esher wishing to kill him off. The attempt failed because of a petition from tutors and staff. He goes on to talk about Christopher Frayling who he describes as amiable, driven by unbridled ambition, good with camera crews and uninterested in painting. Continues to expand on changes that he did not approve of. PdeF talks of the early days at the Royal College with considerable affection. He saw this time as intellectually energetic and relatively low on bureaucracy. Sees the post-Thatcher regime as recognisable but changed beyond recognition. As Head of Painting he says he never did what Ana Maria Pacheco did at Norwich which was to bin all paper!, but had a very good secretary who looked after him, and senior tutor, John Golding. He talks of John Golding being situated very differently from him ideologically but having enormous respect for him. This leads on to a discussion of his selection of tutorial staff where he avoided what he calls 'Serota chicks'. Expanding on the differences between himself and Golding, he refers to Golding's fantastic historic objectivity which he sees as too neutral and unbiased. PdeF refers to having prejudices 'that he waters every morning to keep them fresh'. He expands on these prejudices through example. Turning to 'modernism' as a term leads a discussion into his unhappiness with it, going on to tell an anecdote about the Louis Leiris Gallery in Paris and the Marlborough in London that reveal the ideological differences there too.

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