Butler, Rosemary (4 of 14). National Life Story Collection: Artists' Lives.
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Interviewee's home, Hertfordshire
Butler, Rosemary, 1930- (speaker, female)
Whiteley, Gillian (speaker, female)
Wimbledon, teacher Freda Skinner in sculpture department, wonderful woman. At end of year, mother wanted her to go to Slade and Freda took her to see Gerrard, Head of Sculpture Department at Slade. Work at time - Mother and Child, about 3ft high. Remembers Moore's Northampton Mother and Child. Gerrard's room a mess. Accepted. Rosemary started September 1949 at Slade, lived at home initially. Coldstream Head of Slade then - just started, many of them came from Camberwell. Coldstream witty, sarcastic, kind. Townsend lovely person too. Many students were older, ex-sevicemen with special grants. Not many as young as Rosemary. Wonderful experience at Slade. Slade Balls - first cabaret was a can-can, dressed up in amazing costumes. Famous cabarets. Reg saw next cabaret which was flapper period. Lot of time, effort went into these cabarets. Hats fantastic colours and materials. Nylon. First term was all working for cabaret - got more serious later but lots of fun. Dance routines. Largely older students involved. Younger students were infatuated with it all. Slade course - was to be Slade Diploma in Fine Art, not a degree. Rosemary hadn't done Latin. At Slade did sculpture, anatomy, perspective classes and did exams. Wonderful lecturers - Wittkower, Gombrich. First time met intellectuals. First year taught how to build armatures etc. Also still drew from the antique, from casts, with Sam Carter. No more of that after first year though - Coldstream's ideas came in after that. Compete change of teaching after first year. Transition period. No welding. Albert, deaf and dumb, helped in studios. Coldstream and Henry Moore decided Slade sculpture department needed shaking up. Reg Butler had just had first solo exhibition at Hanover Gallery, in 1949, and had big impact. They brought Butler in once a week as Rosemary was just into second year. Reg got to know Rosemary in classes. He never criticised, always assessed carefully. She didn't know his work and hadn't seen his show. Moore visited and would talk to each student. Great stimulation. Marini, Giacometti, Lipchitz all came to studios to talk to students. Later met Giacometti too. Always generous comments about work. Laurens show in Bond Street - went with Reg - friendship grew. Rosemary got Slade Diploma 1952 and studentship for an extra year and drawing prize. Relationship developed strongly
Rosemary Butler is the wife of the late sculptor, Reg Butler (1913-1981). Over the course of this interview, she discusses Reg Butler's life and work.