Be Magnificent: Walthamstow School of Art 1957-1967

An exhibition and experimental summer school celebrating the legacy of Walthamstow School of Art

Walthamstow School of Art cultivated some of the most influential creative talent of the 1950s and 60s. Leading names in art, fashion, music and film studied and taught there, including Pop Artists Peter Blake and Derek Boshier, musician Ian Dury, filmmakers Ken Russell and Peter Greenaway and fashion designers Celia Birtwell, Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin. This summer, a new exhibition at the William Morris Gallery will explore this radical era at the School; showing the early work of these seminal artists and designers and revealing how they were encouraged to explore their creative imagination, taking art and culture in radical new directions.

This incredible era at the School has never been explored or researched in depth, despite the fact that all the leading players cite their time in Walthamstow as key to their later development. For the first time, the early work of these influential artists and designers will be brought together in one exhibition, to show how it was in the art schools of post-war Britain, rather than the universities, that the benefits of a free, universal secondary education were most evident.

Accompanying the exhibition, we will run a two-week experimental art school on the site of the former School, now Waltham Forest College. Alumni and former tutors including Keith Albarn (b.1939), Terry Day (b.1940) and Laurie Lewis (b.1944) will return to teach classes and explore the legacy of the school alongside contemporary artists including Jeremy Deller (b.1966), Marcus Coates (b.1968) and Anthea Hamilton (b.1978). A series of talks and film screenings will also take place.

For further information on the exhibition please see the William Morris Gallery website.

The full summer school schedule and booking details can be found at

Be Magnificent: Walthamstow School of Art 1957–1967 is delivered in partnership with William Morris Gallery and supported by funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund.