Felix Slade

(1788—1868) art collector and benefactor

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(b London, 6 Aug. 1788; d London, 29 Mar. 1868).

English art collector and philanthropist. He left a great part of his collection, notable particularly for glass, to the British Museum and in his will he endowed chairs of fine art at the universities of London (University College), Oxford, and Cambridge. The professorships at Oxford and Cambridge involve only the giving of lectures, intended for a general audience, but in London the Slade School of Fine Art, opened in 1871, is an institution giving practical instruction. The first professor was Sir Edward Poynter, who founded the Slade tradition of emphasis on drawing from the nude. Rapidly overtaking the Royal Academy (where the teaching methods were considered arid and academic) as the most important art school in the country, the Slade had its heyday in the period from about 1895 to the First World War. Its students then included some of the most illustrious names in 20th-century British art—Augustus and Gwen John, Wyndham Lewis, Paul Nash, Ben Nicholson, Stanley Spencer, and so on. Poynter's successors in London have included Legros, Frederick Brown (1851–1941), who was professor from 1892 to 1917, presiding over the School's golden age, Tonks, Coldstream, and Gowing. The first Slade professors at Oxford and Cambridge respectively were Ruskin and the architect Matthew Digby Wyatt. Their successors have included many eminent art historians.

Subjects: Art.

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