Ackroyd, Norman (19 of 24).  National Life Stories: Artists' Lives

  • Add a note
    Log in to add a note at the bottom of this page.
  • All notes
  • My notes
  • Hide notes
Please click to leave a note

The British Library Board acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors to this recording and the rights of those not identified.
Legal and ethical usage »

Tags (top 25):
(No tags found for this item)
  • Type


  • Duration


  • Shelf mark


  • Subjects


  • 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 19: [Session eight: May 9 2011] [1:51:35] NA’s daughter, PA, and her boyfriend, Joe, staying with NA to attend Sony Awards re their band; NA’s cleaner, Maria, and his assistant NC also in the building. Scottish poet Robin Robertson will be coming later in the morning; NA used a poem of his in his last set of St Kilda etchings. PA’s band, Hidden Orchestra; use of NA’s etching of Sound of Mull on their CD and vinyl record; details journey relating to this etching, reverse of journey done by [Samuel] Johnson and [James] Boswell; early starts when NA working on Sound of Mull, quality of light. [5:36] Comparison voyage re Sound of Mull, Sea of the Hebrides, and St Kilda; using watercolour; NA’s knowledge of the history of the area; landing on islands. [12:04] NA’s third visit to St Kilda, 2010; Shiant Islands owned by Adam Nicolson; NA’s subsequent work on the images. [17:04] NA’s St Kilda Revisited; related work in 2010 and 2011 RA Summer Exhibitions; describes large etching of The Shiants. [18:26] Forthcoming voyage to Scottish Islands with PA and Joe Acheson; gannets; [coughs]; Handa Island. NA’s love of like-minded company when on work trips; Christopher Frayling, Helen Frayling, Ian Ritchie, Jocelyn Ritchie will be going on trip with NA, PA and Joe; Ian Ritchie has been on five or six trips with NA, the Fraylings at least 3. NA has known Ritchie for twenty years, their children went to same school; Helen Frayling from County Clare, NA has met the Fraylings in Ireland as well as via RCA. Mention of literary magazine, Archipelago. Mentions others who have been or will go on trips with NA. [28:30] Poetry reading to honour DD at which NA heard Robin Roberston read the poem which NA is using to accompany his etchings. [30:12] Instructions NA has given NC on day of recording re removing beeswax on copper plates before editioning; ink mix for the aquatints; AG’s advice re carmine. [33:44] Different stages since last recording of the now completed Cambridge Galapagos project; term ‘random screen’; processes leading to final installation in Cambridge, discoveries made. [change of recording location due to noise] [41:55] Continuation of discussion about Galapagos series. Cambridge building, Sainsbury Laboratory, in botanic gardens where NA’s Galapagos series is housed. [46:06] Installation of NA’s work in Sainsbury Laboratory. Showing Galapagos series in RA Summer Exhibition 2010. Feelings after completion of Galapagos project. [50:54] Susanna Heron and Bill Pye also have pieces in Cambridge Laboratory; Patrick Heron made only one etching, with NA, used to teach at Winchester when NA there. Artists plagiarizing one another, difference influence and copying; NA very influenced by Picasso and Jasper Johns, refers to two Picasso etchings on NA’s wall. [54:37] Bill Pye and NA taught at Central School of Art in 1960s; Pye’s work for Sainsbury Laboratory, his piece for Antony House. Single etching Patrick Heron made with NA. NA has introduced many people to the etching process, including Alan Davie, Alan Stanton; John Bellany, many with Ian Ritchie, who is an art collector and who writes poetry. Friendship with Ritchie and his wife. NA hasn’t progressed his own ideas for Antony House. Forthcoming Scottish trip is in August, other future plans. [1:00:54] RA’s 2011 exhibition, Modern British Sculpture. [1:01:59] Energy within Leeds, Bradford and Newcastle art schools in late 1950s, infrastructure that led to this no longer in existence; Victorian belief in art. NA now less aware of what is happening in art colleges; state the foundation courses had reached in terms of student numbers; value of good foundation courses; Intermediate two years and final two years of course when NA a student; quotes Cecil Collins re length of time it should take to train to be an artist. Rivalry between Leeds and Bradford art schools when NA a student; Gregory Fellowship at Leeds. Yorkshire Artists Exhibition in Leeds City Art Gallery. Norman Stevens, Gregory Fellow; NA first met Stevens 1961 at RCA. [1:09:13] NA applied for RCA towards end of time at Leeds, was interviewed but not offered place; JT on interview panel, encouraged NA to re-apply the following year; Edwin La Delle, Alistair Grant and Edward Ardizonne also on interview panel; NA in awe of RCA. Principal at Leeds Art School, Eric Taylor, arranged for NA to spend further year on a grant at Leeds, details working in Yorkshire landscape and in Leeds city; work of [John] Atkinson Grimshaw; motto on treacle tin; mentions Harry Thubron, Terry Frost. Romantic life. [1:18:48] NA applied again to do printmaking at RCA; possibility of National Service; second RCA interview, when was offered a place, portfolio. First six months at RCA continued last six months of work in extra year in Leeds; seeing large sugar-lift etching of church from this period at home of a collector of NA’s work, same image used by JT in his book. NA had grant for RCA; current position for students. [1:26:50] RCA pastoral services when NA a student, help find accommodation, dentist, RCA doctor, financial advice. [1:28:50] Summer prior to going to RCA, NA spent weeks in Athens, drawing; had been to Athens with group a couple of years before, details. Most of NA’s family had never left Britain; comment about London by NA’s aunt at his AA’s funeral, 1979/80. Further details NA’s extra year at Leeds; was homesick when first at RCA, thought RCA students more sophisticated than NA. South of England very different from north when NA became RCA student, 1961. [1:39:35] NA first lived in Fulham Road, then in flat in Pimlico with RCA friend, Don Bessant, boyfriend of Julie Christie; NA went to live with girl in Putney, Don Bessant later joined him; NA reluctant to talk about early girlfriends. Further details Don Bessant. NA played football for London Sportswriters’ team, The Chelsea Casuals; RCA football team; NA played for The Chelsea Casuals played 1961/2-1983, then played cricket for a further twenty years. NA never a heavy drinker. [1:46:55] NA as student invited to soiree near Eaton Square by collector, Michael Spens, who had bought his work, introduction to fine wine; Editions Alecto founders; NA met Paul Cornwall-Jones only once, had more contact with Spens and Joe Studholme. Spens saw NA’s student work at RA Summer Exhibition, NA encouraged by Carel Weight to enter paintings, both of which sold, also reviewed. [Interruption, end of session]

  • Metadata record:

    View full metadata for this item