International Journal of Art & Design Education

'Imagination Need Not Die': Alexander Barclay-Russell's Work on Education in Art

Volume 2.2   1983



The great achievements of British art educationists, during the first half of the twentieth century, were to recognise the validity of children's authentic modes of expression and, equally significant, to encourage and protract a natural creativity beyond childhood into adolescence. The author discusses the unpublished papers, correspondence and child art collection of Alexander Barclay-Russell, Art Master at Charterhouse and Art Inspector for the LCC. Barclay-Russell's work is compared with that of Marian Richardson, with whom he achieved a near identity of purpose around 1939. The publication of Athene, the journal of the SEA, realised one of Barclay-Russell's ambitions. The author considers the significance of the collection of several thousand examples of children's drawings and paintings that form the Barclay-Russell collection, partly in the care of the Inner London Education Authority, the remainder deposited with Wiltshire County council. This collection formed the basis of the picture-circulation service, which enabled children to appreciate good examples of authentic art.