The Stourbridge School of Art

DESIGN EDUCATION FOR ARTISANS

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Founded in 1851, the Stourbridge School of Art was among numerous provincial design schools operating within the Government Department of Practical Art and its successor, the Department of Science and Art.

Nurtured by the willingness of Government to fund educational endeavours and to encourage improved design of British goods, such schools were charged with providing instruction in art and design to ‘artisans’ employed by local manufacturers.

During the first half of the nineteenth century, the market town of Stourbridge tripled in population and became an industrial centre, with many employed in glass manufacturing or glass decorating firms at Amblecote, Brierley Hill and Wordsley or in ironworks along the Stourbridge Canal, such as John Bradley and Co or Foster and Orme.

Housed in a renovated theatre near the central markets, the Stourbridge School of Art offered classes in art (drawing, perspective, colour, painting, etc) and design, which followed the 23-stage South Kensington curriculum developed by Richard Redgrave, R.A., and mandated by the Department of Science and Art under superintendant Henry Cole.

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Glass Art