Bentham Association

Bentham Association

Bentham Association: UCL Laws Alumni Group

Denys Holland Lecture Theatre Opening

On 15 February 2011, the new Denys Holland Lecture Theatre was formally opened by HRH The Princess Royal, Chancellor of the University of London. The lecture theatre had undergone a total refurbishment thanks to a major donation from Laws alumnus Vincent Cheung (LLB 1965), as a lasting memorial to his former professor, Denys Holland. The Princess was introduced to Denys Holland’s family, Vincent Cheung and his family, as well as selected guests. This initial visit was followed by afternoon tea, speeches, a glittering evening reception and candlelit dinner attended by over 150 distinguished UCL Laws alumni and friends of the faculty.
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An Enduring Legacy

dh lecture theatre UCL Laws has also commissioned a new book entitled: A Law Unto Himself: The life and career of Denys Holland by freelance writer and editor, Sally Thomas. The book explores his legacy, with anecdotes from family, former students and colleagues who remember him well. This is a continuing project. Alumni and friends are also warmly invited to add their memories and anecdotes to our Remembering Denys Holland blog.

To request a copy of the book (RRP £15.00 + £2.95 UK postage), click here.

About Denys Holland

Professor Denys Holland was a legendary admissions tutor at UCL Laws in the 1950s and 60s. With a somewhat unusual admissions policy, he managed to recruit a series of uniquely talented undergraduates who all went on to make a name for themselves in the legal profession and beyond. Many are QCs and judges, some are in politics, several now have titles while others have been successful in the media or international commercial circles. 

In 1968, Professor Holland was made Dean of Students at UCL, during a time of massive student unrest. Not long afterwards, he went to Canada to teach at the University of Western Ontario with his new wife Winnie. He had planned to return to England on his retirement but died unexpectedly in Greece in 1984, at the age of 61. His legacy at UCL Laws lives on.

Denys Holland Portrait Competition

denys holland

Vincent Cheung has also funded the Denys Holland Portrait Competition, open to all current and graduating students at UCL’s Slade School of Fine Art. A shortlist of five artists was selected by a panel of judges from the Slade School and the Faculty of Laws, together with Vincent Cheung. The shortlisted artists were:
  • Kaneumiah Choi
  • Catharina Cronenberger Golebiowska
  • Donal Maloney
  • Martine Frolich Poppe Wang
  • Sorcha Williams
The winning portrait of Denys Holland was painted by Donal Maloney, who received a fantastic First Prize of £5,000. His portrait will be on permanent display in the Denys Holland Lecture Theatre in UCL Laws. Two runners-up, Kaneumiah Choi and Martine Frolich Poppe Wang, each received £2,000. Catharina Golebiowska and Sorcha Williams received £1000 each. All five prize-winning artists were awarded in person by Vincent Cheung at the opening of the new Denys Holland Lecture Theatre, which was attended by HRH The Princess Royal (Princess Anne), the Holland family and other distinguished guests.
Catharina Cronenberger Golebiowska

My intention was to create a portrait of Professor Holland based on my own technique of working with coloured paper strips. Hundreds of individually cut small paper strips are assembled like brush strokes one by one to create a collage of his face, his body and the background. I'm very interested in emphasising and visualising Denys Holland’s outstanding personality with both clear shaped strips (which stand for his competence) and a richness of colours and exciting movements (which represent his versatility and brilliance).

Donal Maloney

Portraiture has a deep and venerable history. My portrait of Denys Holland stems from this tradition. In my painting I was interested in representing the memorable characteristics of his warm personality whilst acknowledging his distinguished intellectual achievements.

Kaneumiah Choi

My approach to painting Professor Denys Holland’s portrait is to celebrate and remember his life. I want to utilise symbolism to deliver a message of celebration and commemoration. Most of my studio practice and work is based on daydreams and dream subjects. My artistic approach toward symbols in portrait painting is related to dream interpretation and the  symbolism applied in this portrait intends to commemorate and celebrate his life and his personality.

Martine Frolich Poppe Wang

As a figurative painter my primary ambitions for the portrait of Denys Holland were centered around creating an accurate depiction of him, both physically as well as psychologically, as I perceived him through the pen portrait and biography. Denys seemed to me an inspiring person, one of those rare people that can take people beyond their ambitions. That characteristic vitality was what I wanted to apply to the portrait, coupled with the enigmatic smile so many knew him for.

Sorcha Williams

This painting of Professor Holland tries to encapsulate his attractive and engaging personality alongside a sense of his working identity. In this final painting, I have attempted to respond to the affectionate memories of past students and colleagues and capture a sense of the spirit and charm of the youthful Professor Holland as recollected by them.