Rector Paul Thompson and the curatorial team gave an introductory lecture on the exhibition titled “The Perfect Place to Grow” after a Tracey Emin sculpture – the irony being Tracey had a rough time at the RCA and really didn’t enjoy it much. The exhibition covers work by celebrated alumni from its 175 year history. Obvious names like James Dyson, David Hockney, Peter Blake, Ian Dury and Ridley Scott but less well know like garden designer Gertrude Jekyll, Christopher Dresser, Edwin Lutyens and Sylvia Pankhurst who enrolled in 1904 but failed to finish due to being locked up regularly. My RCA history is patchy at best but the book designed by Research Studios to accompany the exhibition comes with a handy graphic timeline that fills in the gaps.
All roads led to the RCA this week as we also bought a 1970 print of our house by Sheila Robinson who taught printmaking at the college in the 70’s and 80’s and assisted fellow local artist and RCA student/lecturer Edward Bawden on his work for the Festival of Britain – examples of which are also on display at the exhibition.