The foundation course of Victor Pasmore and Richard Hamilton, 1954-1966
This dissertation seeks to establish the context, and trace the development of the foundation course established by Victor Pasmore and Richard Hamilton at the University of Newcastle-on-Tyne between 1954 and 1966. The course at Newcastle was representative of certain aspects of the basic design movement which marked a radical change in art educational thinking in the post-war period. To some extent, basic design teaching represented a dissemination of Bauhaus thinking in post-war Britain, and Part 1 examines the pedagogy of Kandinsky, Klee and Itten, thus establishing a framework of ideas against which the subsequent pedagogy of Victor Pasmore and Richard Hamilton can be set. Part 2 begins with the impact of the Bauhaus on Britain during the thirties and the immediate post-war period when industrial reconstruction led to increased demand for design training, and basic courses, loosely formed on the Bauhaus model, were introduced by William Johnstone at the Central School of Arts and Crafts. From the Central School emerge Pasmore and Hamilton, two artists who represented polarities in their respective commitments to abstraction and figuration. Because the foundation course mirrors the issues in post-war abstraction and figuration, Part 2 seeks to establish the context of the work of Pasmore and Hamilton by examining the theoretical basis of Pasmore's abstraction, and the sources of Hamilton's ideas and imagery located in the natural and man-made world, and in his expression of contemporary society. Part 3 examines the evolution and philosophy of the foundation course with reference to other developments in basic design at Leeds College of Art and the Newcastle/Leeds collaboration on the Scarborough Summer Schools. The subsequent foundation course programme is analysed section by section, relating its various aspects to the interests, influences, and creative preoccupations of Pasmore and Hamilton. The conclusion presents a critical evaluation of the course and assesses its influence on, and relevance to current issues in art education.