Ackroyd, Norman (14 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 14: [Session six: January 11 2010 [1:25:11] NA’s Christmas 2009. Recent deaths of John Craxton and Craigie Aitchinson, both of whom NA knew, details Craxton. Lucian Freud’s paintings; Frank Auerbach’s drawing. Cy Twombly’s, Mark Tobey’s drawings. Death of Kenneth Noland. Morris Louis’ work. [6:20] John Kasmin, details. NA’s card from DH’s show soon after Hockney had left RCA; luck in finding card and pencil by chance with message from Hockney on back. [9:16] Craigie Aitchison; RA. John Ward; RA. Recent deaths among the RAs. Flavia Irwin; Roger de Grey; de Grey’s speech at opening of NA’s commission for Freshfields, City law firm. [15:30] Barry Flanaghan’s memorial; speeches by Nicholas Serota, Leslie Waddington; NA had known Flanaghan since teaching at Central in late 1960s, early 1970s; Flanaghan’s significance as an artist of original thought, his influence; Flanaghan on RA Council; his personality. RAs on Council in rotation for two year term, can decline, can be re-elected for up to three terms. Flanaghan’s drawings; visit from his bronze caster (Abercrombie) near to end of Flanaghan’s life, Flanaghan’s request that NA send etching plates. [25:14] Abercrombie ran bronze foundry at Central School of Art when Flanaghan and NA teaching there in 1960/7; lists who else on staff (Gertrude Hermes, Cecil Collins, William Turnbull); Flanaghan’s drawings; his sculptures drawing in the sky. [26:41] Animals in landscape; seeing birds rise in Norfolk over Christmas. Term ‘staffage’ in pictures – human figure which gives a scale to a picture; J.M. W. Turner; Richard Godfrey (now decesased), friend of NA, etching man at Sotheby’s, book on Printmaking in Britain; Godfrey curated Gilray exhibition, Tate Britain. Time in British Museum [BM] with Godfrey looking at Gilray, what learnt from him. NA’s use of different objects with which to draw when etching. Further details Gilray; prints NA has. Richard Godfrey; etchings stored tipped into books for viewing; NA being given seventeenth century paper by Godfrey in return for NA etching; their examination of Rembrandt’s process; Godfrey’s discovering English 1665 acquatint; previously accepted belief that French first to use acquatint in eighteenth century; Godfrey’s brother, Tony Godfrey, Art Historian; Richard Godfrey’s funeral. [38:25] Qualities of steel that make it appropriate to steel face copper plates; NA uses London firm to do his steel-facing; use of acid; relationship etching and watercolour. [47:07] NA’s work on north Norfolk coast. Update on work on Galapagos project for Cambridge, presentation towards end of February; will be working in Cambridge factory later in January. Has finished Anglesey project, will be doing final filming; NA’s images. Jason Bacon, Nina Bacon. [56:28] NA’s art teacher, at grammar school, Bob Newton [Robert Newton]. [1:01:14] Leeds City Art Gallery; first encounter with Francis Bacon’s work; Ivan Hitchins; Jacob Kramer; collection stopped 1939 at this time. Leeds City Art Gallery bought first picture NA sold; had taken up etching during first year at Leeds Art School, taught by Norman Webster; c 1956/7 NA had drawn church on steel plate, left in box of solvent and leather shavings, came back to find teacher had printed image from it; success of print; Yorkshire Artists Exhibition at Leeds Art Gallery; sale to the Gallery; NA’s failed attempt to buy the image back. Explanation for teacher’s action of printing from NA’s plate in his absence; NA doing same when teaching. NA’s progress re learning how to print; analogy with being a chef. Pyrford church in Surrey, etching bought by Leeds City Art Gallery. Leeds Art Gallery image was probably the first NA exhibited. Further details Leeds City Art Gallery in NA’s childhood. David Kynnaston’s Austerity Britain; DH; Catherine Bailey’s Black Diamonds. Leeds City Art Gallery; Leeds Art School studios; Leeds Library and other civic buildings. [1:15:59] Grandeur of centre of Leeds in NA’s childhood. NA’s job as tram conductor. David Storey. Leeds market; Leeds shops; Betty’s tea rooms.

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