Ackroyd, Norman 12 of 24).  National Life Stories: Artists' Lives

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  • Recording date

    2009-05-25, 2009-06-15, 2009-08-10, 2009-09-14, 2009-12-14, 2010-01-11, 2010-02-08, 2011-05-09, 2011-05-16, 2011-05-06

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's studio, London

  • Interviewees

    Ackroyd, Norman, 1938- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Courtney, Cathy, 1954- (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 12: [Session five: December 14 2009] [1:37:51] JH working in NA’s workshop during recording, details NA’s advice re problem with acquatint being printed. [photo of imagine under discussion in NLS Ackroyd file in British Library]. Variables within any given print. JH prints NA’s large etchings in NA’s workshop; difficulty of getting blanketing right. JH printing first etching emerging from NA”s recent trip to St Kilda; NA intends to return in April 2010; moments of reflection during printing process; details image being drawn in sketchbooks and evolving into printed image. St Kilda. [interruption re radio sound] [15:14] Other people in building during current recording; patron arriving in afternoon. Clarification which press NA gave to JH and which presses remain in NA’s workshop. Weights NA has bought from local scrap metal dealer; NA getting rid of scrap copper; new copper comes from source near Canterbury; NA watches copper prices, orders sheets which are then polished to his specification; investment involved; buys batch of copper approx every 4/5 years. Has not yet done first tests on large Galapagos plates. Work arising from last St Kilda trip, forthcoming return trip; aims to do set of etchings to be published on 10 December 2010 plus images in other media. Annual publication on same date. Visit from others involved in Galapagos project; David Sainsbury. Collection at Sainsbury Centre, University of East Anglia; John Davis’ sculpture and drawing. Galapagos project; America’s attitude to the future of planet. NA’s car; recent visit to America, Cape Cod, watercolours. NA and stamina. [31:10] Literary dinner at Grocers’ Company; Andrew Dalton; A Line in the Water, NA and DD. [interruption] Fishmongers’ Company presentation of NA’s painting of north Norfolk coast. NA made speech at Grocers’ dinner on subject of working with words. [35:56] 1973 NA did set of etchings to accompany poems by William McIlvaney [Landscape and Figures], letterpress by Ron King of Circle Press, bound initially by RCA and later by NA’s binder in Yorkshire, edition 125; sales over the decades. Motivation for working with book format and with poetry. Hugh McIlcvaney, William McIlvaney, NA’s urban etchings, which include New York’s Twin Towers; Newcastle-upon-Tyne bridges; Glasgow. [45:32] NA in mid-1970s made large mural for entrance to banqueting suite of Albany Hotel, Glasgow; had exhibitions at Cyril Gerber’s Compass Gallery; witnessed strikes at John Brown’s Shipyard, Goven, whilst QE2 being built, met Jimmy Reid; NA’s etchings bought for QE2; details Jimmy Reid and shipyard workshops. Structure of QE2; Chartres cathedral; English cathedrals. NA’s mural for Albany Hotel, Glasgow; Dennis Lennon & Partners, architects. [1:00:33] Cyril Gerber. NA and John Bellany shared studio in Battersea c 1970-1980, condemned council flat, both taught at Winchester School of Art; details Bellany; teaching him to etch. After studio shared with Bellany, NA had studio for 8-10 years in a Queenstown Road station building, disused platform waiting room, details; after 5/6 years let others use the studio as had current building; handed it on to John Kirby, via Angela Flowers when left it; Emma Cameron, artist who babysat NA’s children. [1:11:27] First met Francis Bacon when NA RCA student, encounters with him; Tate 1964 Bacon exhibition; David Sylvester. As a student, NA would be at RCA at 8.30 am and would often work until late evening; studios in V&A, including Bacon’s; Kismet Club; Bacon’s images. [1:19:51] Angela Flowers, Matthew Flowers; NA currently in Small is Beautiful Christmas show at Flowers East. [1:22:45] Visit to Ron King and Circle Press in Guildford at time of Landscape and Figures; book shown at Yale Center for British Art ‘s Circle Press exhibition. King nearly bought warehouse near to NA’s property; King a natural printer. [1:27:09] NA and working with words; recent poetry reading in Bodleian Library; DD poem, Saturday. DD’s collection of poetry, St Kilda’s Parliament; first meeting DD, development of their friendship; NA and DD, Pictish Coast; A Line in the Water; trip to Shetland; DD’s home. [lunchbreak]

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