Desmond Jones - Twickenham Art School

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The premises for the combined Technical Institute and Art School were first erected in 1937.

It is now known as Richmond Upon Thames College (RuTC).


During the Second World War, when Desmond Jones attended the art school, the head teacher was Mr Coulson Davis. Talking with Desmond Jones' art college colleagues, some of the "Twickenham Art Set", Pieter Betlem and the late Denis Bishop (who you can view talking about Twickenham Art College in the videos below), the teaching staff, including Miss Parlby (who was part of the "Bloomsbury Set"), and Mr Milner ("Ticker"). The teachers were well trained in the arts and crafts, being tradespeople in their crafts and proved to be excellent teachers as well as fitting them for the workplace with really relevant practical skills.

Read an extract from Rose Mortleman's book, about her time as a pupil at Twickenham Art School.

The Twickenham Art Course was a foundation course of anywhere from 2 - 4 years in length depending on the student, many of who were called up to fight in the war! Although the education included English language and general school work, the main area of study was on a wide range of arts and crafts, with a firm emphasis on life drawing.

One of Des' life drawings from his Twickenham Art College Days

Life drawing was considered fundamental to really achieving fine art work. The students were encouraged to try to remember the outlines of their subject and work quickly. This skill was honed by only allowing a small amount of time for the students to sketch the models. (You can see on some of Des' later life drawings he has written down the time he took to complete his sketch).



                          Students from the "Twickenham Art Set"; Des (left),
                              Denis Bishop (middle) and Peter Cull (right)




The other topics covered on the Twickenham Art School course were lithography, printing, reproduction, product design, finished artwork, photography, plate making, metalwork and silversmithing and architectural model making.

The students won scholarships to the school purely on their artistic ability and potential, having to perform a drawing for the interviewing panel. This meant that the very best, most talented local artists were gathered to have their skills honed and quite a few, especially from the "Twickenham Art Set" went on to achieve success in their fields and very well respected.

Denis Bishop, became a highly acclaimed illustrator and the first ever  illustrator for the Independent newspaper. You can hear him talking about Twickenham Art School and his life as an artist in the video below, filmed only a month prior to his passing away.

Peter Cull, also no longer with us, became a highly acclaimed medical artist at St Bartholomews and went on to be an emeritus professor. You can see some of his medical drawings in his obituary




If you went to Twickenham Art School or have a parent who did
and you would like to share memories of the place,
please have a look at David Will's Twickenham Art School Forum



Denis Bishop Interview at Richmond Upon Thames College, February 9th 2015 





Denis Bishop (1928-2015)
Obituary in the Independent
(click to read)


Pieter Betlem Interview in his home, July 1st 2015
(you can see Des' portrait of Pieter, as Waverley Mayor, in the background)



Peter Cull (1928 - 2012)
Obituary in the Guardian
(Click to read)


Maurice Rutledge Interview in his home, April 2016


The "Twickenham Art Set"  all gathered together for a reunion pub lunch
(left to right: Peter Cull, Maurice Rutledge, Pieter Betlem, Des Jones and Denis Bishop)


The "Twickenham Art Set" - Des Jones, Maurice Rutledge (in Des' painting "The Exhibition") and Pieter Betlem
at Peter Cull's Funeral