Ackroyd, Norman (15 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 15: [1:36:58] Jocelyn Herbert’s talk at RCA; film, Tom Jones. Woodcutter who did posters for Academy Cinema, Oxford Street. Jocelyn Herbert, RA; Jeremy Hutchinson. David Tindle; sales of his work at RA; his domestic life. [4:11] Leeds in NA’s childhood; father’s customer, woman who took in apprentice footballers for Leeds United; NA played football with John Charles; Mel Charles; Cliff Jones. Degree to which NA considered sport as a career; enjoyment in being part of team. School children now being denied opportunity to watch international cricket on television due to Sky Television having franchise, impact of this; cricket building social cohesion. NA saw1948 Leeds/Australian test match, Headingley; Donald Bradman. Seeing Arsenal v Manchester at Emirates with Abercrombie. Sandy Nairne. [20:48] Childhood treat, tea at Betty’s Tearooms; sweets; bicycle. Motorbike towards end of time in Leeds; cult of motorbikes when NA at RCA; would commute from London to Manchester Art School when teaching two days a week teaching etching for first two years after leaving RCA; incident when engine seized up; learned to drive a car approx 28. [24:49] Henry Moore Institute, Leeds; Penelope Curtis. NA first saw Henry Moore’s work when at grammar school; NA’s painting of Moore’s reclining figure; Moore as role model. Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture compared to Moore; early awareness of their work; never met either. [31:12] Art room in grammar school, poster paints; NA using watercolours out of school; Bob Norton’s encouragement; his pupils who went to Leeds College of Art and RCA. NA’s friendships at school; Tony Hodgson and John Horely. Tony Hodgson and NA at Leeds Art School, Hodgson’s draftsmanship; Hodgson to RCA a year ahead of NA; their subsequent teaching at Manchester Hodgson’s storyboards for Granada Television; Hodgson’s relief etching book made at Leeds Art School; NA’s Leeds Art School book, Dylan Thomas, handset letterpress type, lithograph. [40:43] Being taught printing crafts at Leeds Art School; students now not taught skills. [NA looking for Hodgson book, refers to magazines in which he has images; Journal for Irish Lighthouses, low volume.] [43:40] Sex education; pregnancies amongst pupils; influence of 1950s morality. [55:04] Almost no alcohol in NA’s childhood house; NA drank very little at RCA; began to drink wine in his 30s; drugs RCA, Central, America; attitude to drugs re his children. Childrens’ sex education. NA’s early girlfriends. NA married aged c 24/5. [1:01:34] NA and art room at grammar school; study room in sixth form, geography A level. Gouache, drawing on paper with pen and ink at grammar school; beginning to draw outdoors, interest in urban scenes. Drawings from bedroom window, keeps returning; record of south Leeds from 1957. Encouragement from CA and from art teacher. Art O and A level. AA’s attitude to whether NA came into his business; AA retired aged 68/9, closed shop; occasional work for other butchers; parents’ financial position in retirement. [1:09:21] Decision that NA should go to Leeds Art School, 1956, full grant; custom- built art school, now known as Jacob Kramer College, description. Four year course. NA took Intermediate in lino-cutting. Course began in life room, basis of everything. Lists other subjects on course. Details life room and tutors including Harry Thubron, Victor Pasmore, Terry Frost; life models. [1:16:09] Harry Thubron’s influence on art school system in Britain. [1:22:09] Staff at Leeds sociable; Chapeltown area of Leeds where students and staff lived, parties; art critic, Norbert Lynton who taught liberal studies at Leeds; Lynton’s student and partner, Sylvie. Terry Frost, Trevor Bell; Victor Pasmore, Gregory Fellows at Leeds Art School. Teachers at both Bradford and Leeds; difference in these two cultures; life drawing teacher who taught DH in Bradford and NA in Leeds, Bradford and Leeds students but they never met until RCA. Thubron’s own work; his wife. NA learnt work ethic from Thubron and Frost. [1:26:40] Etching room on first floor of building taken over by art college; NA finding door to Terry Frost’s studio in back of cupboard, details. Terry Frost as teacher. Thubron. Etching teacher at Leeds. Degree to which NA had heard people swear before Leeds Art School. [1:32 21] Victor Pasmore. [1:23:56] History of students from Leeds Art School getting into RCA. NA aged approx 10/12 when first went to London to stay with brother; went on day trips to London when at Leeds Art School. [1:34:30] Cultural difference between Leeds and Bradford in 1950s; incompatible tram system; NA and Bradford.

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