English, Rose 3 of 13).  National Life Stories: Artists' Lives

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  • Recording date

    2005-12-08, 2006-02-03, 2006-04-11, 2006-05-08, 2006-06-05,

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home/studio, London

  • Interviewees

    English, Rose, 1950- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Dyke, Anna, (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 3: [51:25] RE would do different things with EG and with TE; shopping with EG; accompanying TE to garage or to pick up lawnmower. TE retired age 55; RE accompanied TE to register as unemployed. TE went on to work as civilian for same regiment. TE would take RE and siblings on trips whilst on holiday; kayaking, skating on lakes, swimming. Reflects on TE’s experience of leaving the army; difficult finding civilian job; reemployed in administrative role. TE died just after RE’s 13th or 14th birthday. Circumstances of TE’s death, whilst on family holiday in Northern Ireland; TE died while on day trip with RE and siblings; reactions; telling EG what had happened; extended family. EG’s resourceful character; looking after 5 children. SE and RE’s experience as the eldest; grief; closeness to EG. Returning to school; nuns’ advice re-not crying. EG’s decision to move back to Herefordshire. RE’s relationship with EG. Resilience of family. SE’s experience as eldest male. RE feeling conflict between family’s grief and wanting independence. Reflects on how she thought about TE being gone. Being a teenager; thoughts about identity, what to do in the future; hearing about art school. Enjoyed art at school; teacher; could spend free time, weekends in art room. Awareness of art school via relatives; thought of doing theatre design, bringing art and ballet together. Foundation course; EG visiting Farnham college; conversation with Principal re-what RE could do after art school. EG’s attitude to art school - all her children went. RE thought she would study fashion; made own clothes; told friend she planned to open shop called ‘the Body Shop’; trend for boutiques; fan of Biba. Felt sure about going to art school; never thought of going to university. Conscious that ‘art’ could lead in many directions. Pottery; costume designing; screen printing; life drawing; textiles; weaving - found all of these absorbing. Didn’t take to painting with oils. Loved life drawing. Reading magazines; colour supplement articles on painters, designers; Vogue; music. Foundation course; broad curriculum: ceramics, bookbinding, calligraphy, Raku kiln building, sculpture, life drawing, still life, learnt about Buckminster Fuller, art history lectures; copying designs for Ballet Russes; amateur dramatics group - RE performed and made designs for ‘Blood Wedding’. Crafts teaching. No pressure to decide which area to specialise in. [30:55] Boarding school; RE loved English literature, essay writing; English teacher reading ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’. Enjoyed biology and geography - drawing; RE notes that she hardly draws now. Art teacher Mrs Esme Heath [EH]; aunt of Simon McBurney, of Theatre de Complicite. EH’s inspiring personality. 5 or 7 students; RE and friends Teresa Lea [TL], Mary Walker [MW], looked after the art room. Sense of EH also being practising artist; busy, rushing, engaged; also had a family. RE’s drawings; fluid graphic style. Seeing students at art school who were skilled drawers. Has kept drawings from art school. Still life drawing; taught to look at the spaces in between things; training of the eye; form of practical philosophy; links to page of numbers; a spatial universe; grappling with representation. [40:25] Friends; changed due to itinerant lifestyle; has maintained friendships from last school. Gibraltar friend Tessa Masterton-Smith. From Hounslow, Pamela and Graham. From boarding school: TL, Caroline Dawnay [CD]; MW, Grania Forbes, Margaret Tims, Shervie Whitaker, Sarah Walker-Monroe. CD is now literary agent; TL is gardener. Close friendships at boarding school; activities. CD and TL’s characters. Holidays; parties. Social activities with local boys’ private school; the Debating Society; dances. Would also meet with local grammar school boys; ‘courting’. Thought about romance, having a boyfriend; rather than marriage etc. Discrepancy between idea and actual experience. Primary school talk of boy/girlfriends. RE’s first kiss, in Gibraltar. [51:25]

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