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Tribute to Slade Professor Edward Allington

28 September 2017

Edward Allington 24 June 1951 - 21 September 2017

We are very sad to be sharing the news that our beloved friend and colleague, and exceptional artist and professor, Edward Allington, died on Thursday 21st September.

Edward Allington was born in 1951, in Cumbria. He studied at Lancaster College of Art (1968-1971), Central School of Art and Design (1971-1974) and at the Royal College of Art (1983-1984).

Usually identified with the British object sculptors of the 1980s, Edward Allington's practice is based on drawing and the assimilation of the abhorrent through the use of contemporary artificial objects and classical imagery.

Edward’s work was included in the group exhibition 'Objects and Sculpture' at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1981 and 'The Sculpture Show' at The Hayward Gallery in 1983, he has exhibited widely in America, Japan and throughout Europe. More recently he has had solo shows at the Anglo Daiwa Foundation, London in 2012 and in 2016 The Hidden Sculptures at Megan Piper Gallery, London. He is represented in major public, private and corporate collections, including the Arts Council, Tate Gallery, Henry Moore Institute, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and The British Museum and has completed major public and private commissions in the UK, Germany and France.

Additionally Edward has gained a distinguished reputation as a writer; he has written catalogue essays for the Baltic (Ed & Nancy Kienholz) and Tate Modern (Katharina Fritsch) as well as contributing to key art magazines such as Frieze. 

Edward has taught at the Slade since 1990 becoming Head of Graduate Sculpture in 2000 and Professor of Sculpture in 2006. A sculptor of extreme distinction he has brought real expertise to bear on both the study of Sculpture and Fine Art at the Slade. His depth and breadth of knowledge ranges from classical antiquity to contemporary automobile design, and his lectures on a wide range of topics, from Zombies to Kitsch have become legendary.

He has been a well known, well liked and significant figure in the UCL community throughout that time.

At the Slade Edward’s sculptural interests and depth of knowledge has led to interdisciplinary initiatives such as a collaboration with UCL Archaeology, looking at the relationship between 3d digital scanning and mould making for bronze casting.

More recently he was awarded an AHRC Network Grant for his project Japanese Modern Sculpture. A collaborative research network with Henry Moore Institute, Leeds and Musashino Arts University, Tokyo. It was Edward who introduced this period of modern Japanese sculpture to the Henry Moore Institute, thereby introducing this heretofore unknown period of Japanese sculpture to Britain for the first time through an exhibition at the Henry Moore Institute and a publication.

Edward’s contribution to the life of the Slade and its students has been significant. Since 2012 he has chaired the Townsend Memorial Lecture Committee, a distinguished biannual lecture series in memory of a former Professor of the Slade and he has also been instrumental in developing external opportunities for students including the Chelsea Arts Club Scholarship, the Sidney Nolan Trust Award and the Kenneth Armitage Sculpture Prize.

These are just some highlights from a long and distinguished career of service not only to the Slade and UCL, but to the subject of Sculpture and contemporary Fine Art nationally and internationally.

His contribution to the Slade has been profound, and his breadth and depth of knowledge unmatched. His generosity, wit and wisdom touched and influenced all of us who were privileged enough to know, work with or be taught by him.

On a less formal note Ed was a self-confessed petrol head. Last year he finally completed the restoration of his beloved early Harley Davidson racer which is currently on loan to the national motorcycle museum.

He leaves behind his partner Asako, and his children Thalia and Harry.