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My memories of Corsham start at Dartington Hall really. I had gone there from Dartington School in 1960, because my Mother read Tagore, and believed in educational freedom of expression. There were only 6 art students : of those 6 - me, Linden Turner and Steve Collingbourne all went on to Corsham, and George Pasmore went on to become one of the duo Gilbert & George, at St Martin's. At Dartington we mixed with the music students, and all our tutors were from Corsham, so we were well prepared for the privileged lifestyle we moved on to. Ivor & Maureen Weekes, Bobbie Cox, Donn Evans, Albert Helloco, Riette Sturge-Moore, Susan Bosence and the great Roger Mayne, are names to conjure with from that period.

I loved making the painting of the half a cabbage and the self portrait for my entrance exam - was it one and the same? In my first weeks, I had the familiar faces of Josh Partridge, who had gone on a year or two ahead of me, Linden and Steven, and so I wasn't too scared. And Tim Threlfall and Jeremy Jessel were also very welcoming. I remember standing outside the staffroom where our noticeboard was, and hearing gales of laughter from within. Later, I discovered that on the reverse of the door to that room, the photos of all the first year were pinned, and it was from here the male staff selected their "girls" from the notice board. It was a cattle market - as most art schools were at this time - where the "droit de seigneur" reigned supreme. I remember the extra curricular studies at Monks Park. Most especially the visit of the darkly handsome Ted Hughes - still married to Sylvia Plath - his poetry reading remains as haunting now to me, as it did at the time.

Life was hard. Very hard. I have never worked so hard in all my life, as I did that first year. We were popping "Purple hearts" and "Black bombers" or "uppers" to keep ourselves awake : lessons all day, supper, more lessons till 8, then cycling miles back to Monks Park, where we had to prime canvases for the perfectionist Howard Hodgkin, complete a sewing for Helen Binyon, dye a textile for Stephen Russ or complete a drawing for Andrew Wilson, and so it went on. Apparently, two thirds of our year either dropped out, or were expelled. I was very nearly expelled for hitching to London without permission. I didn't mind: I was in love with Bill Crozier, and used to go to Muriel's Club in Soho, where I would meet him with Frances Bacon, Lucien Freud and other luminaries of the art world : I was 18 and very impressionable. I was saved expulsion by my tenacious mother, plus the good auspices of Helen Binyon.

My strongest memory was of Domenico Mancini in the sculpture school on our first day there. He unrolled a leather pouch containing a set of gleaming tools. It was the gentle and reverential way he unrolled that pouch....... then he spoke. "I have had this pouch, since I was a student of your age. Take care of your tools and they will last you a lifetime" I was filled with awe. Another memory was of the quiet Stephen Russ, saying to me (remember this was 1961, pre-punk) "Dye your hair green, Fiona, it will look amazing!" Well I WAS amazed. That this particular man had chosen to say such a shocking thing to me. But he was right, and years later I did dye it : bright red, when it was commonplace to do so...... I was very fond of Stephen and worked my hardest for him. He was a kind and thoughtful man.

In contrast, Howard Hodgkin inspired fear and dread. This strange, little fat man, whose work I admire now, was a tyrant. My main memory, is of him lurching into the studio, where our tiny group was working at White Still Lives. He marched right up to my friend, Diana Dean, and grabbing one of her brushes, he plunged it into a pot of crimson paint which he slashed across her picture, "Don't you think that's an improvement?" Diana was a strong woman. She threw down her brushes and palette saying "Damn you, Howard" and stormed out. I would surely have collapsed in her place. He knew who to pick; but to this day, I fail to see what point he was making. Of the two of us, Diana is the painter now. And I don't give him credit for that. I, on the other hand, also harboured an unrequited dream of being a singer. One night, I climbed the barbed wire at Monk's Park, & hitched to Bristol for a late night audition. I sang Ray Charles, "Georgia," and then hitched back home to bed.

I loved my teaching practise at Colston Girls' school in Bristol, but it never prepared me for the violent boys and girls I worked with years later in London. However, the skills I learned to be a teacher, were life enhancing. After a successful 25 years in teaching at all levels from Primary to F.E., my career culminated in the post of Divisional Coordinator for support services in 1990. Here I managed a staff of 50 Special Needs teachers in Southwark, working from 14 sites, to all the Primary and Secondary schools in the Borough, with children who had Emotional and Behavioural difficulties. I even encountered Maureen Aune, one of my year at Corsham : a Head Teacher in the same Borough. That was good.

I am still in touch with my dear Corsham friends : Linden, Diana, Gwyneth, *Bill and Katharine Crozier.

Fiona Green 2007

*William Crozier died July 12, 2011 aged 81

click on the following book and art reviews.Aeronwy Thomas - Daughter’s memories of life with a genius.Christopher Barker - It was the best of times and worse of times.Hugh MacDairmid and Valda Trevlyn - An enduring love.Patrick Hourihan - Even better than the surreal thing.The Student President - Thabo MbekiNuala O'Faolain - Irish writer
Middlesex Hospital archive projectMasud Khan - book reviewSigmund Freud : Inside the psyche of the very first analystFionas house in Tottenham Street through the agesBarack Obama in Caricature - reviewThe bohemian rhapsody of life with DylanThe Last Bohemians: The Two Roberts Colquhoun and MacBryde
'Derwent London now claim ...' - Fitzrovia NewsHope for the Homeless - Fiona GreenFiona Green remembers her friend and lover Lucian FreudThe Three Lives of Dylan Thomas Viva Fitzrovia - a film portraying this artists area in London
Gallery for newcomersSecrets Newspapermy work over the past decadePeople of Tottenham Street

Qucik Time download link

33MB QT mac

Windows Movie Video download link

55MB WMV pc

history of the people associated with DartingtonCayley Robinson paintings saved - Fiona GreenArtist forced out after 50 yearsFionas fantastic life - WWE_2012
Fiona Green teaching - an article in TES 2.8.74Soho Memories - Fiona Green  
Ursula Fausset - A Force Of Nature Pater familiar review by Fiona Green

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by Roger Shapley 59-63
Stephen Collingbourne 61-64