Virtual venue showcases early work by old masters

June 6, 2003

The hidden collections of Britain's art schools will be showcased next week with the launch of a permanent online exhibition.

Fineart.ac.uk will display 200 works by former students, many of whom have gone on to greatness. They include sculptor Henry Moore (Leeds School of Art), cartoonist Quentin Blake (Chelsea College of Art and Design) and a rare painting by Tracey Emin (Maidstone College of Art), who destroyed most of her paintings when she started working in other media.

The works belong to the Council for National Academic Awards Collection.

Alan Brickwood, part-time director of the project from the outset and trustee of the CNAAC, said: "The main purposes will be to provide access to previously hidden worksI produced by alumni who have made seminal contributions to fine-art practice."

Many works have never before been catalogued. Some date from the mid-1800s, when art and design schools sprang up to supply industry.

The Slade School of Art has work by every award-winning student since 1860.

But other institutions, unable to look after such works, donated them to libraries.

In 1960, the National Council for Diplomas in Art and Design was set up to validate art-and-design courses. During the 1970s many art schools were absorbed into polytechnics, and in 1974 the CNAA took over degree validation and gained the NCDAD collection of 60 works, which include paintings, sculptures and fine art prints.

The virtual collection will be launched by the CNAA Trust chair Sir Michael Bichard, director of the London Institute.

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