• Title
    Nan Youngman Additions: letters and poems
  • Reference
    MS 5413
  • Production date
  • Creator
  • Creator History
    Nan Youngman was born in Maidstone, and educated at Wycombe Abbey School, before being accepted by the Slade, studying under Tonks and Steer between 1924 and 1927. She was a Slade prize-winner in 1927 and it was while at the Slade that Youngman began to define her own lifestyle, outwardly typified by the wearing of trousers and the pudding basin haircut, which she never changed. In 1928 Youngman began teaching part-time at Highbury Hill Girls School. She trained to teach at the London Day Training College, and it was here that she met Marion Richardson and through her influence, she developed a strong belief in the central importance of art in the curriculum. Alongside her own artistic outputs, Youngman was a teacher, writer and art advisor, lecturer for the British Council and art examiner for local examinations boards as well as external examiner at teacher training colleges and organiser of the 'Pictures for Schools' exhibitions. As an artist she continued to develop her palette-knife, and limited palette technique, though her painting was constrained by the need to earn a living. In 1936 Youngman joined the Artists International Association, (AIA), founded in 1933 by a group of politically conscious painters, sculptors and designers, aiming to resist the rise of European Fascism and Nazism. It was here that Youngman met Betty Rea, a sculptor, their personal relationship lasted until Betty's death in 1965. Youngman contributed with Quentin Bell to the debate about art education at the first British Artist Congress in 1937. In 1944, Youngman became Art Advisor for Cambridgeshire under Henry Morris, though part-time, this job provided Youngman with a platform which led her eventually to the Chair of the Society for Education through Art, the editorship of its journal, 'Athene', and in 1947 to the first 'Pictures for Schools' exhibition. In 1945 as their family was expanding, Youngman and Rea rented 'Papermills', a former mill, which became a base for new painting and sculpture from them both and a centre for the radical politics of the 1950's Peace Movement. In 1952 Youngman founded the Studio Workshop under the Cambridge Institute of Education, she extended the ‘Pictures for Schools’ Exhibitions to Wales and, in 1952 and 1954 undertook advisory assignments in the West Indies and West Africa for the British Council. Youngman held her first one-person exhibition, at the Leicester Galleries in 1953, after she was encouraged to take time away from teaching to paint. In 1955, Youngman, along with Rea, Elisabeth Vellacott, Cecil and Elizabeth Collins, John Mills and others formed the Cambridge Society of Painters and Sculptors. After Rea's death in 1965, Youngman bought 'The Hawks' in Waterbeach, changing the direction of her painting from industrial landscape towards the Fen countryside and the beaches of the Norfolk coast. At the same time, she moved more and more towards watercolour and gouache in place of oils. During the 1970s, Youngman wrote more - many letters and sometimes poetry and her relationship with the Welsh painter Esther Grainger became closer. Youngman organised the 'Mill Group', to teach mainly amateur women painters during this period. After her eightieth birthday Youngman found painting increasingly difficult due to cataracts and spent more time drawing meticulously observed small plants and animals. Youngman was awarded an OBE in 1987. Nan Youngman died in April 1995.
  • Scope and Content
    Handwritten letters and poems from Nan Youngman to Professor Martin Robertson. Includes 31 hand drawn Christmas cards, featuring self portraits by Youngman, from Youngman to Martin and Cecil Robertson
  • Extent
    2 files
  • Level of description
  • Content person
  • Related objects
    MS 5323