Belford Museum is celebrating Coldstream

Schoolchildren visiting Belford Museum.
Schoolchildren visiting Belford Museum.
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Belford Museum is celebrating the life and achievements of Professor Sir William Menzies Coldstream for the first two weeks in October.

He was born at the doctor’s house in West Street, in 1908, the youngest of five children.

After a brief stay in Bamburgh, the family moved to London in 1910, and it was there that William grew up. He enrolled at the Slade School of Fine Art in 1926, where he remained until 1929, winning a scholarship and a number of prizes.

He left the Slade in 1929 to work as a professional artist, but it proved a struggle, and in 1934, he joined the GPO Film Unit. There he made and edited a number of films, notably The King’s Stamp. He resigned in 1937 and, with some fellow artists, founded the Euston Road School of Drawing and Painting.

When war broke out, he enlisted in the Royal Artillery as a gunner, but in 1943 was commissioned as an official war artist. As such, he covered campaigns in Egypt and Italy.

In 1949, he took charge of the Slade School and remained in charge there until his retirement in 1975, helping to reshape art education in Britain.

To mark the 30th anniversary of his death, Belford Museum has organised a series of free events from October 2-15, including an exhibition of 22 reproductions of his works in the museum and the unveiling of Belford’s first blue plaque at his birthplace, Cragside, West Street, on October 7 at 11.30am.

There will a lecture on Coldstream’s Life and Art by Dr Peter Rumley at Bell View on October 7, at 2.30pm, and his films, The King’s Stamp and The Fairy of the Phone, will be on at the Ferguson Hall on October 8, at 2.30pm.