Spotlight on UCL Art Museum's Slade Collections

Etching showing life class at the Slade School of Fine Art

UCL Art Museum has received a three-year Curatorial Research Grant from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art to catalogue the Slade Collections - over 3,000 paintings, drawings and prints. The main aim of the project is to unlock the rich potential of this material by providing high-quality images and background information about the collection through an improved online catalogue.

UCL Art Museum’s Slade Collections form a unique document of English art school practice in the modern age. Many of the key figures in British art studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, and the School's annual prize system has provided UCL with important examples of the early work of artists such as Stanley Spencer, Augustus John, Walter Sickert, David Bomberg, Winifred Knights, Paula Rego, Craigie Aitchison and Euan Uglow.

The Slade was the first art school to admit women on equal terms and the collection is strong in the work of women artists. The collection’s inclusion of lesser known artists also provides a valuable counterpoint to the collections of national museums. UCL Art Museum continues to receive prize works from current Slade students, making the Slade Collections a living resource which continues to document contemporary art school practice.

colour print showing abstract red, blue, black and white shapes

While the Slade Collections are widely used for teaching and research and are extremely popular with visitors, access to this core collection is severely hampered by lack of information about the artwork and limited online catalogue entries. This project will enable the Art Museum to carry out essential collections research, enrich the online catalogue and improve its search functions to open up access to information about Slade artists and artwork. The aim is to build and share widely an important information resource for research into 20th-century and contemporary British art. 

Image credits: (top) Peter K.C. Oliver, Room 6, The Slade, 1948-49; Harold Cohen, Abstract in Red, Blue, Black and White, 1950-51  

Blog posts

To follow the progress of Spotlight on the Slade research please visit our Spotlight blog