International Journal of Art & Design Education

English Art Education between the Wars

Volume 3.2   1984



This article discusses the development of art educational thinking, policy and practice in England between the first and second world wars. It was a period of innovation and experimentation in which the importance of art and craft in education was increasingly recognized. Developments in the study of psychology and the teachings of Froebel, Montessori and others raised awareness of the importance of natural individual development. With this greater freedom of expression came an opportunity to abuse the approach, leading to 'sloppy teaching methods' but at its best offered a sound education in art and craft. At this time Marion Richardson emerged as a pioneering spirit, encouraging teachers to provide stimulating combinations of atmosphere, encouragement and materials. This evolved into the 'New Art Teaching' which celebrated the excitement of 'Child Art', culminating in the publication of Herbert Read's seminal 'Education Through Art ' shortly after the Second World War.