Art education in New South Wales, 1850s to 1930s, with particular reference to the contribution of Joseph Fowles, Frederick W. Woodhouse, and John E. Branch

  • Muriel M. L. Hilson

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    This study aimed to uncover information about an area on which little published material is available, that is, the area of art education in New South Wales prior to 1940. Because of the lack of published material, much of the information used in this study had to be sought in annual reports on education made to the New South Wales Parliament over the years concerned, and in the educational journals of the period. Some very useful original documents and letters were found in the Mitchell Library and in the New South Wales Archives. It was established that drawing first became part of the curriculum in a few public schools in Sydney in 1854,and that by 1869,drawing was taught in all the primary schools of New South Wales. The drawing system which was introduced was based on the very structured and utilitarian programme of the Department of Science and Art in South Kensington. The first Drawing Master in New South Wales was Joseph Fowles, who had arrived in Sydney from England in 1838. Joseph Fowles was in charge of drawing in the public schools of New South Wales from his appointment in 1854 until his death in 1878. The other two important figures in art education over the period covered by this study were Frederick W. Woodhouse, who was Superintendent of Drawing from his arrival from England in 1889 until his resignation in 1903, and John E. Branch, who was in charge from 1903 until his death in 1933. This study found evidence that the Department of Science and Art in South Kensington played an essential part in establishing the programme of art education in New South Wales from the 1850s until well into the twentieth century. With regard to the contribution made by the three individuals mentioned in the title, the study found that while they played an important role in overseeing the teaching of drawing in the schools, they were not influential in the sense of being able to impose any individual philosophy of art education on the system.
    Date of Award1982
    Original languageEnglish

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