Don Pavey, 1922-2015
It is with great sadness that we write now about Don Pavey, who passed away in early May.
Don was an extraordinary person: a gentle and encouraging soul who cared deeply about the education of young people and gave a large part of his life over to this, both as a tutor at the art school and in his wider work. He was a highly educated man, with a deep knowledge about a whole host of topics, revelling in the joy of learning throughout his life.
He joined Kingston School of Art in 1939, aged 18 and studied here during the war years (when the self-portrait above dates from). He was a student at the RCA during its exile in Ambleside, and continued his links to this institution, establishing the invaluable resource of the RCA Colour Library. Don returned to Kingston to teach in the 1951, leading developments in Basic Design, and remaining at the art school until the 1980s. During this time, he produced a host of exhibitions and projects around his primary interests in colour theory, games, and creative pedagogy.
The following text is an extract from a testimonial to Don written by John Dawson Binns, Head of Design at Kingston, in 1966:
I believe him to be a man of deep sincerity in all to which he commits himself and because of this, he has commanded great respect from both staff and students.
He possesses a high degree of scholarship which is accompanied by a keen enthusiasm for art education, never being afraid to pursue a policy of experiment in the training of young artists.
Donald Adair Pavey
Artist, Scholar, Teacher.
1922 – 2015
Please add your memories of Don in the comments below.
Very very sad news about Don’s death. I first met up with him after completing basic months at Cranhurst and entering the portals of Knights Park drawing-painting rooms where we became great gossipy friends together with Phillis Camm, Leo Davy and others. He just had to know WHY we wanted to study art, always delving into our respective backgrounds. He was a joy to be with and never to be forgotten and a truly great miss to so many… Gordon
I was deeply saddened to hear about Don Pavey – i was extremely lucky to have known him not only during my student life but also as colleague and friend of my father. I was delighted to meet him again last year when we had such a wonderful time down memory lane with so many fond memories of kingston. He was one of those few teachers who inspired and guided students to develope their work full of enthusiasm and friendship. Rest in peace Don
Don Pavey was part of the ‘Complementary Studies’ department under the stewardship of Peter Kneebone at, the then, Kingston School of Art. I was there from 1963 to 1967 on the brand new Pre-Dip then DipAD courses.
I believe that Don was a researcher at the Gulbenkian Institute at the time. He was an academic, quite brilliant and eccentric! He guided some of us through writing our theses, lectured us on the theory of colour amongst other things and tested us for colour blindness!
In the lecture room Don always followed the route he took in to the room throughout the session. He would not take a short cut or the diagonal, much to our misguided amusement.
It was he who introduced me to ratatouille! It hadn’t reached Ipswich where I grew up. He invited a group of us students to Sunday lunch at his home in Barnes, in a road parallel to Castelnau, and served us his exotic French speciality. A real treat for us youngsters.
In a typically precise use of the language he described myself and my then girlfriend to another friend as ‘wholesome’ the one and only time I was ever so called!
Don played a small but important part in my art and design education. I went on to a long and rewarding career as a Production Designer at the BBC. I am indebted to him.