Historic artwork by Batley School of Art founder bequeathed to Kirklees College


The family of Charles Barber, one of the founding members of Batley School of Art (now Kirklees College) and pioneers of vocational education, has bequeathed his original artwork to Kirklees College.

Charles Barber had a passion for art and education and was known as the life and soul of Art in Batley. He spent 39 years of his life dedicated to coaching young art students in the area and said that art was an endless pleasure, not a labour.

During his Headmastership at Batley School of Art from 1892 to 1931, he was instrumental in introducing a course system to create a more comprehensive art course that allowed students to study multiple disciplines within Art and Design.

Mr. Barber also introduced courses in typography and amateur crafts and oversaw the school grow from its inception to a nationally acclaimed education institution.

He was also a member of Batley Town Council and served on the education committee.

The three watercolour paintings were bequeathed to Kirklees College by Judith Taylor (nee Barber), the great niece of Charles Barber, who travelled from Edinburgh to personally deliver the works.

Steve Plumstead, Curriculum Area Manager for Art and Design said:

“We are delighted to have been bequeathed three wonderful paintings from Charles Barber. As one of the founding members of Batley School of Art, he was a pioneer in championing the importance and value of vocational learning.

We would like to thank Judith and the Taylor family for bequeathing us with these paintings and we will be displaying them at the college to honour his legacy for years to come.”

For more information about Art and Design courses at Kirklees College, visit https://www.kirkleescollege.ac.uk/subjects/art-and-design/.

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