Mr Hassall’s art school

First, a little bit of colour:

blackpool 4 - Copy

4 colours combine to make a single image.

Blackpool 05 final

The solitary child wondering “when’s the fun begin?”

After becoming interested in John Hassall it was pointed out to me by my friend Carrie that we had some material from Hassall’s correspondence school in what we call the manuscript collection – many shelves of identical cardboard boxes, most of which contain deeds and other legal documents, but some of which have Local Studies gold. I’ve used some examples before (like this one) . In this case in one plain box was a set of lessons for Hassall’s students of art and design.

Some of the lesson sheets are concerned with basic elements

Lesson 12 - expression

Tickling the fancy of Mr Everyman.

Or cartooning dogs and chicks:

Animal form

Some are concerned with techniques, like texture:

Textures 04

Or simple line drawing:

Lesson 3 simple pen drawing

And using different materials as in this “Charcoal Girl”.

Lesson 3 charcoal head

Others with anatomy:

Lesson 7 - arms

On the surface, and within:

Lesson 7 - arms sheet 3

And sometimes composition:

Elizabeth

Whether a big, grand subject,

or a small one:

Lesson 15 - pen and ink

As he states, Hassall used his own works as examples:

Study

Compare it with a published version

Study in red

He also looked at parody. Do you remember the vacuum cleaner poster from the first post?

Parody 01

He has reversed the subject of the cartoon to show it can be used in a number of ways.

And goes on:

Parody 02

Culminating in one of those pre-humorous Punch cartoons.

As well as these sheets, there was a great deal of text for the students all on duplicated type-written sheets, and comments in letter form like this one:

Letter

So the students got their money’s worth. Instructions, and personalised feedback, with practical advice on getting work as an illustrator.

I don’t know how many of them went on to equal, or surpass the master.

John Hassall remains an intruiging artist, poised as many are between commerce and art. But he was a man with a vision, demonstrated here with this a realistic slant on a classic tale.

Pied Piper

The Pied Piper leans casually against a tree like a steward marshalling a crowd. They could be evacuees.  I can’t say whether this image was connected:

Textures - dead rat

We started with colour, so let’s end with another colourful image from the theatre:

Sporting Girl

Postscript

I mentioned our Great War website http://www.kcworldwar1.org.uk in the first post about Hassall and one or two of you went to have a look. So I’m mentioning it again – new material is being posted regularly by my colleague Lucy Yates who will be guest blogging here soon.


4 responses to “Mr Hassall’s art school

  • librarianofjjcoll

    This is fascinating. At the Bodleian, we have the extensive prospectus for this but not the sheets themselves. I have always wondered if they survived. Thank you for posting this.

    • Dave Walker

      Not only do we have the exercise sheets but also a set of lengthy explanatory sheets written by Hassall which accompanied them. And s set of exercises completed by one of his students
      Dave

  • librarianofjjcoll

    Fabulous! Thank you for the reply. Julie Anne

  • Mary de Souza

    I have found this really interesting. I have a print of “The Tiff” the copyright being sold in 1909 to Thomas Forman & Sons in Nottingham. The print was mounted and framed by William Attewell of Westbourne Grove, but before it was actually framed , John Hassall signed the mount. The copyright certificate is currently on sale on Ebay, and the signatures match, so I know the signature is right. I have never been able to find out any more about this image – it was obviously one of his less commercial ones !

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