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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Institutions


Sass’s Drawing Academy

Also known as Sass’s School for Drawing and Painting/School of Design/Cary’s Academy


It was an art school established in 1818 by Henry Sass and subsequently run by Francis Cary

In 1840 it advertised thus:

School of Design, 6 Charlotte Street, Bloomsbury. Established for the Education of Artists, and Instruction of Amateurs in the Principles and Practice of Drawing, Painting, Modelling, &c, &c; and possessing the most complete arrangements as a Probationary School to the Royal Academy.
The Gallery and Studii, an extensive collection of Casts from the Antique Paintings and Drawings, and in the Library, on Works of Art, and Folios of Prints from the Old Masters.
There is a separate Establishment for Ladies, and private Studii for those who may desire them. The Gallery is at all times open to inspection, and the Professor may be consulted, and Prospectuses obtained upon application at the above address, any day from twelve to three.
(Literary Gazette, and Journal of the Belles Lettres, 5 December 1840)

It no longer exists

The building which housed it can, however, stil be seen at what is now 10 Bloomsbury Street; its listed building information makes no reference to its interesting history, and historians of Sass and his art school do not seem to realise that the building still exists

What was reforming about it?

It was an individual effort which turned into a formidable training school: “For more than two decades Sass and his academy, housed in an elegant building with a bust of Minerva over the porch, stood uniquely at the centre of art education in England, a position that was fully recognized by the art establishment” (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

Where in Bloomsbury

It was at 50 Great Russell Street from 1818 to 1820

It moved to 6 Charlotte Street in 1820 and was still there in 1840

Website of current institution

It no longer exists

Books about it

None found


Two letters from Sass (sent from Charlotte Street along with his works for exhibition) are in the Royal Academy, ref. AND/18/43 and JU/9/142, as is a book he owned and a copy of one he published; details of these are available via the Royal Academy’s online catalogue (opens in new window)

This page last modified 13 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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