Newsletter Archive: Spring 2008
Ten years seems to be a good round number. I have come to the end of my tenth year and my time as Editor of the Courtauld Institute of Art News. In each issue I have tried to balance the disparate aspects of this unique institution. Those areas with a public face may have received greater attention than others and I hope that the light shed on the less public parts of The Courtauld has provided an insight into the workings of this complex organization. I thank everyone who has contributed to this ‘newsletter’ for their ever-fascinating contributions. Even the word ‘newsletter’ for a 20+ page booklet is an understatement typical of The Courtauld.
There have been big changes in my time at The Courtauld. Documenting
the transition in status from Institute dependent on the Senate House
for everything, to a free-standing independent college of the University
of London has been the greatest excitement. The four directors during
my time, Michael Kauffmann, Eric Fernie, Jim Cuno and Deborah Swallow,
have all been a continual support, and I offer them my deepest thanks.
In the 1990s I felt a distinct nostalgia for The Courtauld’s old home in Portman Square. Fostering a sense of continuity and history at the Institute has been an enduring interest, fuelled by admiration and respect for those who founded The Courtauld with such vision and practicality.
It has therefore been surprising to find that the archives of The Courtauld
itself are in a state of neglect. Material covering the years after WW2
has been patchy and scattered. Up until now, apart from Peter Kidson’s
excellent short history of The Courtauld and the efforts of Barbara Thompson
and Virginia Morck, in-depth documentation is hard to come by. As the Courtauld
Generations panel discussions held last term revealed, the need
for attention to ‘proper’ archives is growing. During these
discussions, it was observed that it had been difficult to build up a
picture of intellectual trends and priorities through recent decades
due to a lack of documentation. It is time for such an illustrious Institute,
where historical fact is critical, to show proper commitment to its own
absorbing and colourful past.
Jane Ferguson, Editor