International Journal of Art & Design Education

A View of the Recognition of Child Art in Britain

Volume 3.1   1984



The catalyst for the article was an exhibition entitled 'The Child Art Revolution 1930-1960' held at the Royal Festival Hall, London in 1983 that showed a selection of work from the Barclay-Russell Memorial Collection in the care of Wiltshire County Council.
Marion Richardson, a pioneer in the development of child art in Britain, developed a deep respect for children's art as rich and fertile in its own right and an expression of a child's own imagination rather than as a poor imitation of adult art. As the London County Council Inspector of Art Teaching from 1930, Richardson was able to influence developments, although her approach eventually became diluted and misinterpreted as being about 'free expression' and a decontextualised 'imaginative composition'. The over-riding principle informing the exhibition was a respect for the individuality of the child coupled with a recognition that this demanded a great deal of teachers in terms of time, sensitivity and expertise.