Saturday, 4 November 2017

Gordon Scott 1914 - 2016, a personal tribute.

I first met Gordon in my first term at Camberwell School of Art in 1946. I was then only 13 years of age. His duties were to teach the Junior Department the history of architecture from the Roman times onward. His first lessons were drawing on a blackboard plans and profiles of various buildings, many from the Gothic period. In later terms he escorted us to view and draw many of the Wren churches in the City. Owing to the flattened spaces caused by the Blitz, our views of Wren edifices were mostly uninterrupted. The City itself was quite silent. In correcting our sketches, Gordon's ability to sum up the structure of a church in a few swift lines greatly impressed his pupils and he became quite popular.

Ten years passed before I met Gordon Scott again. My first teaching engagement at Camberwell was to be his assistant on his drawing classes around the City. Having had the benefit of Gordon's wisdom in my teenage years, I relished the opportunity of working together, since much of what he taught me previously had inspired a life-long interest in architecture and I was now quite knowledgeable.

Throughout our long period as colleagues, as with other staff members, I had never seen any of Gordon's paintings. He did show regularly in the Royal Academy Summer Shows, but many of us despised and refused to visit the Academy. It therefore came as a shock when in 2017 the Abbott and Holder Gallery held a large retrospective of his work. Like many others I was utterly astonished at the brilliance of his paintings. The portraits in particular were very fine and I am emboldened to suggest that all those intense studies of architectural forms strengthened his sense of structure regarding the human form. It is gratifying that his life's work is now being appreciated. I am only sorry it didn't happen in his lifetime.

No comments:

Post a Comment