This long decade marks the tenure of Lawrence Gowing as Professor of Fine Art and the establishment of new and vigourous programmes of exhibtions, acquisitions and teaching.

By 1954 Victor Pasmore and Richard Hamilton were established as members of staff, joining longer-serving staff such as Leonard Evetts, Murray McCheyne, Louisa Hodgson and art historian Ralph Holland.



  • Three Young Collectors (Arts Council)

    7 - 28 March 1953
  • Art Education Group

    21 -24 May 1953
  • Photographs of Indian Sculpture (Arts Council)

    23 May - 13 June 1953
  • Summer Exhibition, Fine Art Students

    19 - 27 June 1953
  • Art and the Stars

    13 July - 22 August 1953
  • Pre-Raphaelite Drawings (Arts Council)

    5 - 24 October 1953
  • English Churchyard Sculpture (Arts Council)

    18 October - 8 November 1953

Staff / Students

No Featured Staff & Students

There are no featured Staff & Students available in 1953. However, please see the 1954 archive to explore further Staff & Students.



Letter from Gowing to Benedict Nicholson, 1954

Lawrence Gowing

In May the following year, having had the painting cleaned, Gowing offers Nicolson the painting back, thinking it an eccentric choice for the collection and historically unrepresentative of anything in particular, thankfully nothing came of this and painting remains in the Permanent Collection.

The Flight from Troy, 1700

Jean Francois Millet

Jean Francois Millet (1666-1729) - 'The Flight from Troy', c.1700.

NEWHG : OP.0020. Oil on canvas purchased from Roderic Thesiger, 1953.

Letter to Roderic Thesiger, 1953

Lawrence Gowing

Thesiger was a Director at the long established gallery P&D Colnaghi, however he also operated independently and Gowing would often act on his suggested acquisitions and deal directly with him. This letter demonstrates the relatively informal method by which Gowing dealt with acquisitions, there certainly wasn’t any committee, or other internal University approval process.

St. Francis and St. John the Baptist & St. Bartholomew and St. John the Evangelist, 1360

Giovanni del Biondo

After Giovanni del Biondo (d.1399) 'St. Francis and St. John the Baptist’ and 'St. Bartholomew and St. John the Evangelist’, c.1360.

NEWHG : OP.0044 & OP.0045. Tempera on panel, purchased from the Ashburnham Estate sale at Sotheby’s, 1953.

Sotheby’s sale catalogue, 1953

Giovanni del Biondo

Page from the Ashburnham Collections Sotheby’s sale catalogue, showing the original attribution to Bernardo Daddi, this however was soon dismissed.

Letter from Sotheby’s, 1953

Lawrence Gowing

The letter to Gowing from Carmen Gronau at Sotheby’s reveals that Gowing had £850 to spend at the sale and had identified the altarpiece and a pair of Gaspard Dughets (confusingly often called Poussin) to spend it on.

A letter from Professor Richard Offner, 1963

Ralph Holland

Letter from Professor Richard Offner to Ralph Holland in 1963 with his suggested attribution, which we currently retain. Offner’s research on Florentine art culminated in the vast print project ‘Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting’, a many volume description of Florentine renaissance artists, methods, and workshop production.

View of Tivoli with the Temple of the Sibyl, 1645

Gaspard Dughet

Gaspard Dughet (1615-1675) - 'View of Tivoli with the Temple of the Sibyl', c.1645.

NEWHG : OP.0026. Oil on canvas, purchased via Anthony Blunt at the Ashburnham Estate sale at Sotheby’s, 1953.

Sotheby’s catalogue and letter, 1953

Lawrence Gowing

Page from the Sotheby’s catalogue showing lot 75, a pair of Gaspar Poussin (Gaspard Dughet) paintings selling for £400. Gowing had earmarked these for acquisition, but with buying the altarpiece first had insufficient funds. Anthony Blunt from the Courtauld Institute had bought the pair on behalf of the Art Gallery of Ontario, however he willingly relinquished one to Gowing for £200.

Exchange of letters with Benedict Nicolson, 1953

Lawrence Gowing

Gowing had been alerted to the Mortimer by Benedict Nicolson, then editor of The Burlington Magazine, who evidently Gowing had asked to look out for suitable pictures for him. Gowing is initially enthusiastic, apart from a concern about the painting’s decency.

"The picture is not at all indecent, and not in need of cleaning (I daresay a surface clean and revarnish is all that is necessary.). I am glad to hear you are interested, and I hope the purchase goes through without a hitch. Yours ever Ben".

Banditti Returning, 1775

John Hamilton Mortimer

John Hamilton Mortimer (1740-1779) - 'Banditti Returning', c.1775.

NEWHG : OP.0072 Oil on canvas, purchased from Appleby Brothers, 1953.

Boy Giving Water to a Dolphin, Cupid and Psyche, The Infant Lyrist Taming Cerberus & Sabrina

John Graham Lough

John Graham Lough (1798-1876)

Boy Giving Water to a Dolphin. NEWHG S.0007, Cupid and Psyche. NEWHG S.0008, The Infant Lyrist Taming Cerberus. NEWHG S.0006 (and not pictured Sabrina. NEWHG : S.0005). All in marble and presented by the Duke of Northumberland, 1953.

This group of dramatic marble carvings by the local sculptor John Graham Lough has graced the entrance hall of the Fine Art Department for many decades, they may have suffered an occasional indignity at the hand of a misguided student, but they are generally much admired.