Terry Frost (later Sir Terry Frost)
A more than average number of students and staff moved in intellectual circles in the arts or were connected in some way with Dartington, Bryanston, Bedales, St Ives, public schools etc There was a kind of networking of a benign kind. We were all treated equally and there was never any hint of snobbery and yet in yourself you knew that it wasn’t the world you came from. That’s why it was a great tonic when Terry Frost (later Sir Terry) arrived on the scene to teach life drawing. It’s true that he was well in with the St Ives painters et al but you felt that he was absolutely down to earth. He had quite a strong midlands accent. I think it is because he left school at 14 and did ordinary manual work. The war came and he joined up, eventually serving as a commando. He became a prisoner of war and it was while he was a prisoner that he met Adrian Heath who encouraged him to paint. He went to several art schools and finished up as Barbara Hepworth’s assistant in St Ives. So he was moving in exalted circles but somehow kept his down to earth nature. He joined in on the weekly crits of our work and took part in art history lectures and discussions. I think the whole place amused him as he was, originally, from a totally different background. Later Jack Smith arrived and he had the same kind of effect. In those days he was working in his ‘kitchen sink’ style which really attracted me. Later he turned to abstraction
I felt thoroughly at home with Mrs Dennis, the head cook. I worked with her on Sundays and as we peeled the vegetables we chatted. She reminded me of my ‘Auntie Andrews’ ,my next door neighbour at home. ‘Auntie A. took me under her wing when my mother left. I was left to run the house and do the cooking and I hadn’t much of a clue what I was doing. I could go to her with any problem whatsover and she treated me like her own daughter. Neither Mrs Dennis or Auntie Andrews read books or had a clue about the arts they were just kind empathetic people and I loved their warm hearts and felt at home.