New publication: ‘Decorating Parliament’

Decorating Parliament cover

When the seat of the British Parliament was destroyed by fire three years before Victoria came to the throne, the task of commissioning paintings and sculpture for the new building was ultimately entrusted to a twenty-two-year-old who not long before had been a student in Bonn. It was a risk, but a calculated one; and it turned out to be an inspired choice.

Our new publication explains how, as Chairman of the Royal Fine Art Commission, Prince Albert deftly handled the politics, personalities and practical difficulties that beset the project from the start. Not only did he leave a remarkable artistic legacy that retains to this day its symbolic power, but he honed the skills that helped turn him into one of the great Renaissance Men of the nineteenth century.

Decorating Parliament: Prince Albert and the first Royal Fine Art Commission 1841-1863

Published by the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust, 16 October 2017. On sale here from 16 October. 

£10, ISBN 978-1-5272-1332-6, 52pp, illustrated in colour.  

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Architectural Drawing Summer School

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Bushra Mohamed of Kingston School of Art, part of Kingston University, takes students through items from the drawings archive at Drawing Matter Trust, based at Shatwell Farm, Somerset.  

Our 2017 Architectural Drawing Summer School, held in Somerset in association with Kingston School of Art and Drawing Matter Trust, gave a talented group of 17 year olds from across the country an intensive, hands-on introduction to the art of drawing.

Taught by Professor Andrew Clancy, Bushra Mohamed and Nana Biamah-Ofosu from Kingston and Niall Hobhouse from Drawing Matter Trust, the course (funded by the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust) was offered free to students between the first and second year of A Levels and nominated by their schools. Sixteen students – about 60% girls and coming from a mix of comprehensive and grammar schools and sixth-form colleges – were selected on merit from over fifty applications.

Students were accommodated in Vicars’ Close, Wells, the only intact mediaeval street surviving in England, from where they enjoyed privileged access to Wells Cathedral and other historic buildings.

Photographs from the summer school are available to view here. All photos © Ed Dowding.

Architectural Drawing Summer School – Open Review Session

Sat 2 Sept 2017, 2 – 4 pm

This Summer the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust, with Kingston University, is running an Architectural Drawing Summer School for A-Level students, in association with Drawing Matter. This one-week course will focus on architectural sketching and drawing, offering students a defining experience at a crucial point in their intellectual and personal development, and creating opportunities for pupils who might otherwise lack them.

The Summer School is based at Shatwell Farm, home of the Drawing Matter Trust, and at Wells Cathedral School. At the end of the week, Hauser & Wirth Somerset will be hosting an Open Review where visitors will have the chance to view the work that has been produced and meet the students and staff to explore their drawings and discuss their experiences.

The Open Review will take place in the Implement Shed at Hauser & Wirth Somerset and refreshments will be served.

This is a free event, no booking necessary. https://www.hauserwirthsomerset.com/events/open-review2017

2017 Architectural Drawing Summer School: call for students

SOMERSET 26 AUG-2 SEPT 2017
The Royal Fine Art Commission Trust is running an architectural drawing summer school in Somerset from 26 August to 2 September 2017.

We are delighted that our academic partners for this event will be Kingston University (http://fada.kingston.ac.uk/al/), winners of the 2017 Guardian University Award for Teaching Excellence. Expert tuition will be led by Andrew Clancy, Professor of Architecture at Kingston, and will be based largely at the Drawing Matter Trust near Bruton (www.drawingmatter.org), which will provide special access to its unique and extensive archive of architectural drawings.

We are keen to make this opportunity available as widely as possible and would like to hear from students between their first and second year of A Levels this coming summer who wish to be considered for a place. There is no charge to students and board and lodging will be provided free at Wells Cathedral School.

Our intention is to provide an opportunity to gain insights from professionals about how we see, how we record what we see and how we use what we see when we make things. The opportunity may particularly suit young people who are thinking about a career in architecture or the built environment, or who have shown aptitude in those directions, but that is not a requirement: we expect the skills learnt at the summer school to be fully transferable.

If you would like to be considered for a place, please email or dropbox Robert Bargery, Executive Director of the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust, at director@rfact.uk by 5pm on Thursday 11 May 2017. Please include:

  • a brief (200 words maximum) statement saying why you would like to attend
  • a scanned sample of your work, in the form either of written work (up to 1000 words) or artwork. Work does not need to have been done for this purpose or be related to architecture, but should help demonstrate your suitability for the summer school.

Please note that there will be competition for the fifteen places available, so this supporting material will be a key part of the selection process.

Offers of places will be made on 19 May 2017 and will be conditional on parental consent where necessary. Students attending the summer school will be invited to a concluding exhibition and lunch at the Hauser & Wirth contemporary arts centre, Bruton, on 2 September.

Questions and further information: Robert Bargery, director@rfact.uk

Foster: UK must think big to lead the world (video)

30780220142_278a6b9ba1_oGiving our Lord St John of Fawsley Commemoration Lecture in Manchester on 9 November, the eminent architect Lord Foster pointed out that although the UK’s design and engineering industries were contributing to infrastructural growth in other countries around the world, the UK itself was ‘missing out’ on tapping this valuable resource because of its short-sighted infrastructure planning strategies: “An optimistic belief in the future, and its embodiment in creating infrastructure for generations to come, is in evidence today but regrettably far from our shores. The common denominator that links our past heritage and emerging futures elsewhere is primarily one of an attitude of mind. It is ironic that one of our prime exports – design and engineering skills – continues to fuel investment and growth globally, while being restricted by the lack of planning, indecision and short-termism in the UK.”

Watch the video of the lecture

Ideas Competition / Turn your Small Change into Big Money

 

FIRST PRIZE : £4,000

See our competition PDF for full details: small-change-ideas-competition

WE’RE USED TO THINKING BIG, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE SMALL CHANGES THAT COULD HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE WAY WE LIVE?

We’re looking for simple practical design changes in any of the three fields of urban design, architecture and highways/traffic management that would measurably improve quality of life. What small interventions could relatively easily be adopted and have a beneficial effect on daily life?

Entries will be assessed by our world-class panel of intellectuals and design practitioners who straddle the two cultures of art and science.

Deadline for entries: 5pm on Friday 10 March 2017 (extended deadline). It is free to enter.

Lord Foster delivers RFAC Trust lecture on the future of UK infrastructure

Lord Foster delivers RFAC Trust lecture on the future of UK infrastructure

Lord Foster of Thames Bank OM today (9 November 2016) delivered the first Lord St John of Fawsley Commemoration Lecture, organised by the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust at Manchester Town Hall. Entitled ‘Designing the Future: Starting in the North’, the lecture illustrated how the cities of the north, once the engines of the Industrial Revolution, could again drive growth and innovation in the country.

Speaking about Manchester, Lord Foster said: “As the first modern industrial city in the world, nineteenth-century Manchester was highly influential, characterised by intelligent design, innovation and civic pride that encouraged investment in infrastructure. The Victorians were not ashamed to think big; between 1830 and 1850, over 7,000 miles of railway track were laid in the UK – an investment which forms the backbone for our trade and travel until now. This was an era that thrived on connectivity and invested in long-term planning.”

He also emphasised how the UK’s design and engineering industries were contributing to infrastructural growth in other countries around the world, and how the UK was ‘missing out’ on tapping this valuable resource because of its short-sighted infrastructure planning strategies: “The same optimistic belief in the future, and its embodiment in creating infrastructure for generations to come, is in evidence today but regrettably far from our shores. The common denominator that links our past heritage and emerging futures elsewhere is primarily one of an attitude of mind. It is ironic that one of our prime exports – design and engineering skills – continues to fuel investment and growth globally, while being restricted by the lack of planning, indecision and short-termism in the UK.”

His appeal to the decision-makers was to “recognise the challenges that we face as a nation today, and take the lessons from our own history, which have provided a blueprint for growth in the rest of the world.”

The lecture was organised by The Royal Fine Art Commission Trust in honour of its founding chairman, Lord St John of Fawsley (1929-2012)