Why produce a history of Kingston School of Art? Kingston School of Art is in many respects a highly typical archetype of the late Victorian art school. It was formed under the auspices of the South Kensington model, administered centrally, and was run as one of several art school sites serving the students of Surrey, alongside sister institutions such as Wimbledon and Sutton. It is the very typicality of Kingston that makes it interesting to study, viewing the trajectory of art education throughout the twentieth century, the pathways and preoccupations it signals; the struggles it represents.
Alongside the archetypical character of Kingston, there are of course those aspects of the art school that are intangible. The atmosphere of art school life was one aspect discussed at length, with former students and staff as well as amongst the researchers working on the project. Undertaking such a history of the institution, we were aware of the impossibility of the task. The sense of history of a place such as this is always shifting, and as such we realised early in this process that this history would always be an unfinished project. By necessity, the idea of the art school moves on. Art schools are revolutionary sites, where new ways of thinking emerge.
Introduction by Fran Lloyd
The exhibition Kingston School of Art 140 Years was hosted by the Kingston Museum from Feb 5 2015 – March 21 2015. The accompanying catalogue provides an overview of the history of Kingston School of Art’s 140 year legacy. The catalogue is 80 plus pages including full colour illustrations and photographs of the artworks and designs included in the exhibition. It is now available to buy in person for £6 at the Art Shop at Kingston University’s Knights Park Campus or you can buy online: