The Courtauld Institute of Art News always tries to reflect the wide variety of activities pursued by the Courtauld. Its task has been much helped by the Research Forum, which has concentrated the organization of the Institute’s dynamic lecture and conference programme on one administration. The inclusive strategy of the Research Forum has extended to projects involving the Witt Library, students, and the collections of several of Institute’s benefactors, including Thomas Gambier Parry. It is timely to report that Gambier Parry’s remarkable church in Gloucestershire has, thanks to his great grandson, Tom Fenton, been restored to its former High Victorian glory. From the Gambier Parry collections in the Institute we know that he was a polymath, but here we see him as a gifted artist, far-sighted in his choice of painting medium.

The Research Forum has sponsored its first publication, based on the papers from two symposia relating to the study of the sculpture and the pedestal. We have a report of a recent conference, and notices of forthcoming lectures and a conference.

In this issue we celbrate the contributions of the recently deceased Dennis Farr and Robert Ratcliffe to life at the Courtauld. Dennis Farr’s memorable memorial service in St. Mary le Strand, the church of the Courtauld was held on 19 April with superb music and, amongst other readings and addresses, a vivid catalogue of his achievements by Prof. Emeritus and former Director Michael Kauffmann. Robert Ratcliffe’s contribution to teaching seems to hail from another age, and one can only think how digital photography would have helped him in his search for the perfect reproduction of Cezanne’s colours on celluloid. His hand seems to reach across to the concerns of the Caroline Villers Research Fellow, who will be concentrating on the way in which Cezanne applied his paint to canvas.

The Director, Dr. Deborah Swallow acknowledges the contribution of, amongst others, Timothy Davies, Book Librarian, who retired in December 2006, and Dr. Rose Walker, who, as Academic Registrar steadied the academic life of the Courtauld as the ship ploughed its way to independence. She is retiring to pursue her writing interests, but will be on call to contribute to future projects.

Looking to the future Dr. Swallow highlights the 75th birthday projects, and draws our attention to new appointments and to the new course Curating the Art Museum being launched in the autumn term this year.

Everyone knows that independent status means that fundraising must take a higher profile in the life of the Institute. Featured in the News is a variety of opportunities for supporters to help financially in a variety of ways. As ever, the scope of activities at the Courtauld is so broad that each issue can focus only on a few. Janus-like we try to look backward and forwards at the same time.


Jane Ferguson