29 August 2017
Since the beginning of Kettle’s Yard, students have been borrowing works of art from the collection to display in their own rooms. Every year, we invite full time students at Anglia Ruskin University and Cambridge University to borrow pictures, giving them a bit of Kettle’s Yard to take home with them.
Charles Jones was a student at Clare College and borrowed works from Kettle’s Yard in 1967 and 1968. Eunhae Lim, an MA student in Museum and Gallery Studies at Leicester University is currently working with our Curatorial team. She spoke with Charles to find out more about his experience meeting with Jim Ede and taking part in the Student Loan Scheme.
Can you remember which artwork you borrowed?
I suspect I probably borrowed more than one work. The only one I can remember is I think a pen and ink drawing by Gaudier-Brzeska, whose work I was very attracted to. He was the single artist who impressed me most when I was visiting. And in a way, he is the least typical, isn’t he?
Where did you display the works?
I lived in rooms in Memorial Court, Clare College. And I was in that main court yard for three years which is unusual. I think I was there in very nice rooms in the first year because I was a scholar and also a choral scholar. It is important to be able to get to chapel easily. And then in second year, I was able to stay there by sharing. In the third year I was able to stay in that court yard because they just converted the loft space for extra rooms. But I’m not sure that I borrowed in the third year. I matriculated in 1967, so that means I graduated in 70. I think I borrowed in ’67-8 and ’68-9.
In terms of making the decision of which artwork to borrow, was it all up to you? Or did Jim Ede suggest?
He may have suggested me in such gentle way so I don’t remember. I do have memory of the man physically, but I don’t remember specific conversations. What I do remember is being in a group of students who would sort of go along from time to time, sit around, look at some of books, which are also important, that he had a good collection.
Do you think having artworks in your room in your student time affected your time at University? Did it change your ‘way of life‘?
Yes. I think that my initial education in art was very very much focused on the Renaissance. And in terms of contemporary art, the main, major influence in my teens was the Biennial exhibition, which was then called the John Moores exhibition in Liverpool. When I was about 16 and I studied in Art History for a short period in Venice and so I was obsessed by the time I got to the Cambridge with the Venetian Renaissance.
I think the affect that Kettle’s Yard had on me was to say there is also some other traditions. What I remember most, of course, is the arrangement in the house. It’s the decor. There are certain classic images of what an interior should be like, there is the Victorian, I experienced Edwardian. Kettle’s Yard just gave me a completely different view of what they interior of a lived space could be like. There was a bed, whether it was Jim’s I don’t know, that was almost built into the space as though like a bunk in a ship. Whereas to me a bed always stood in the middle of the room. The centre piece of the room. So little things like that mattered as much as the art objects – it’s the ensemble which is important.
Did you enjoy having it in your room?
I always enjoy having fine things in my rooms.
Would you recommend the scheme to future students?
I would certainly recommend to future students. Typically students decorate their rooms with mass produced objects and I think it takes time to appreciate the difference between something mass produced and something like an etching with the quality of the paper and quality of the colour. At home I think the only genuine art object we had hanging any of on our walls were pen and ink in black Indian ink drawings by one of my aunts who’d been at art college in Liverpool in the 1920s and was quite accomplished, and again, the density of that black which you don’t get any reproduction impressed me enormously and in the same way the things we could borrow.
To this day, Kettle’s Yard lends art to students across Cambridge. To find out more about the Student Loan Picture Scheme and to express your interest, click here.