Cardiff School of Art: First students and tutors

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​When Cardiff's first Art School opened, there were only 40 students in total. We are lucky enough to know a bit about some of those students who won prizes during the very first years of the Art Scho​ol, as well as some of the tutors who taught them.​ It has also been possible to trace back to the ​19th Century and find some fascinating newspaper clippings that even mention the students! Take a look below. 



​​Basset Jones - Harp Maker​​

"In the 18th and 19th Centuries, the harp makers of Cardiff such as Basset Jones, were very productive - a reflection of the popularity of the instrument in that period". Clera (2007)​

"It's quite certain that the triple harp would have completely disappeared from Wales were it not for Lady Llanover, who employed a harpist in Cardiff, Bassett Jones, to make harps. That is, she set competitions in the eisteddfodau for triple harp players, and instead of giving them money as prizes, she'd give them a new harp. It seems that this Bassett Jones in Cardiff made around three dozen brand-new harps, which reached every part of Wales". National Museum Wales (2014)

"Basset Jones of Cardiff was commissioned to make harps by The Abergavenny Cymreigyddion Society, to be awarded as prizes at the Eisteddfodau which was held between 1834 and 1854". Ley (Unknown)


"Basset Jones made harps in Cardiff....he presented one to the Prince of Wales in 1843". Ceredigion County Council (2011)


​Emma E South​ - Artist

Emma was born in Bristol in 1847​ to parents Thos and Mary South. She was recorded as Living in Cardiff in 1871, around the time she was a silver medal prize-winner at the School of Science and Art in 1872-3. The Western Mail reported in 1873 that "the drawings of both young ladies (Miss Emma South & Miss Mary Foster) were so incomparably excellent that the committee found it impossible to decide upon whom the prize should be bestowed. The drawings were referred to the authorities connected with the Science and Art Department at Kensington, who awarded the prize to Miss South". 

Miss South also won prizes in Geometry and Perspective in 1874.

Henry Harris - Architects Assistant

Henry was born in 1852 in Cardiff and ​went on to attend the Cardiff School of Science and Art where he won a certificate in Perspective as well as 'excellence' prizes for both Freehand Drawing and Geometry in 1870.

"...built in 1877 and known as Pembroke Terrace Chapel, the architecture, designed by a young architect from Penarth, 
Henry C. Harris, was a complete breakaway from Welsh non-conformist custom". Chapel (2014)

The advertisement in the Western Mail 1877 for Architects to join Henry in the building of the Chapel.

William Coe - Mechanical Engineer

William is thought to have been born in 1851, Bamham Ossey, Norfolk.​ At age 20 (1871), he is recorded as living in Glamorgan, where he won an 'excellence' prize in Model Drawing as well as a prize for Freehand Drawing at the Cardiff School of Science and Art in 1870. 

Edwin Seward - Architects Assistant

Seward's dream for Cardiff, with a "people's palace" of culture overlooking the city in the upper left-hand corner. (Cardiff Castle is in the lower left-hand corner, and the spire of St John's Church in the right-hand one.)

"Much less well known outside Cardiff was Edwin Seward (1853-1924), who nevertheless played a major role in pushing forward the extensive programme of public building that made the city a world-class capital. Born and first articled in Yeovil, Somerset, Seward came to Cardiff in his sixteenth year as an assistant to George Edward Robinson. He continued his studies at the original Cardiff Science and Art School, distinguishing himself​ by winning no less than three national prizes, various other less important ones, and a number of certificates. He was responsible for some of the city's landmark buildings of that period, promoted its cultural life and set the stage for the development of Cathays Park". Banerjee (2014)

Edwin was awarded a 'certificate in lieu of a silver medal' in 1874 for the 'Cardiff Town Prize' and also won the National Prize for Architecture, receiving a special certificate from the Science and Art Department. 

Tom Riches - Engineer

T.H.Riches was awarded the Magnetism and Electricity prize certificate in 1870 

"Tom Hurry Riches was born in Cardiff on 24th November 1846, being the son of the late Mr Charles Hurry Riches, of that town. He​ was educated at Trices' Academy, Cardiff at the age of seventeen he entered the locomotive works of the Taff Vale Railway as an apprentice, under Mr Joseph Tomlinson. He spent five years in the shops and drawing office of the company, pursuing his studies at the same time with such success at Science and Art classes that he gained in 1868 a scholarship at the Royal School of Mines. Riches died i​n 1​​​​911"Grace's Guide (2013)

Mary E Foster - Artist

​Mary won an 'excellence' prize for Geometry and a certificate in Model Drawing at the Art School in 1870 as well as narrowly missing out on the silver medal for drawing in 1872 (below). 

William Bidgood - House Joiner and Carpenter

William received a certificate in Freehand Drawing in 1870 from the Cardiff School of Art.

Edward Morgan - Printer

It is thought that Edward was born in Carmarthenshire in 1845. He won an 'excellence' prize for Geometry in 1870, when he attended the Cardiff School of Science and Art. 

Robert Boyer - Consulting Engineer

The 1881 UK Census states that Robert was born in 1852 in Lancashire. It records that he was residing in the county of Glamorgan in 1881; age 29, and his occupation was a consultin​g engineer. Robert won prizes in Geometry and Perspective at the School of Art, as well as winning the Bronze 'Cardiff Town Prize' in 1874.

James and Fanny Bush - Head and Tutor 

"James Bush (1844-1923) and his wife Fanny (1848-1923) were the first occupants of 'Bryn Asaph', 15 Romilly Road, Canton. James was born and schooled in Carmarthen. After taking the art mast​er's certificate he started the first science and art classes in Newport in 1865. He was then asked by the Cardiff Free Library Committee​ to begin classes there, which developed into the School of Science and Art, with James as headmaster of the art school.

His wife, Fanny (born 1848), was from Cheltenham originally and was a trained artist. She married James in 1866 in Cheltenham, and worked as an assistant art teacher at the School. She would later become the Secretary of the Glamorgan branch of the Welsh Industries Association". Edwards (2008)​

Edward C Plant - Tutor

Edward Plant was one of the first tutors to teach at the School of ​Art in the 1800's.

Historical Newspaper Articles

Read some newspaper articles from the 1800's about the Art School and it's students

News Article - Prize Winner 1872-3.pdf News Article - Prize Winners 1876.pdf News Article on Art Classes 1869.pdf

'The Ware Scholarship'
Tuesday 5th December 1876
Western Mail

"We are authorised to state that Mr James Ware, of Penarth, has generously present £25, which will be supplemented by £25 from South Kensington authorities, for the purpose of forming an extra prize for the students of the Cardiff School of Science and Art and that the committee have resolved to call this prize the 'Ware Scholarship'".


'Cardiff Science and Art Classes - Distribution of Prizes'
Thursday 8th January 1880 
Western Mail

"On Wednesday evening at Town-Hall, Cardiff, the Dean of Llandaff distributed the prizes and certificates awarded by the Science and Art Department to students of the Cardiff School, on account of work done during the season 1878-79. Mr Thorpe, the deputy town-clerk, read the annual report, which traced the history and progress made by the Science and Art Classes since they started in 1865".


'Cardiff School of Science and Art - A Successful Student'
Monday 25th July 1887
Western Mail

"Mr John Richards, a student of the Cardiff School of Science and Art has just completed his three years study at the School of Science, South Kensington to which institution he obtained access by means of scholarship in connection with Science and Art School contributed by Mr James Ware".


'Welsh Industries - Cardiganshire's Gift to Princes Mary'
Thursday 2nd July 1914
Western Mail

"The Cardigan Association has been permitted to present her Royal Highness Princess Mary with a model of a cradle 130 years old, made by one of their members. The bed furnishings being made by the Cardiff School of Art Needlework". 


'Cardiff School of Art'
Tuesday 23rd April 1918
Western Mail

"Five out of 35 applicants for the post of Headmaster of the Cardiff School of Art (In succession to Mr James Bush) were selected by the Cardiff Technical Instruction Committee on Monday to appear before the full education committee on Friday for final selection. Their names are as follows:- Mr Harry Brown; Principal of Cambridge and County School of Arts and Crafts; Mr Percy Glea​ves, Head of drawing and painting section, Swansea Art School; Mr Harold Holden, Principal of the School of Arts and Crafts at Cheltenham; Mr Wilson Jagger, Chief Assistant of the Cardiff School of Art; and Mr Donald Sinclair, Headmaster of the Newport School of Art. Each of the five is an A.R.C.A (Lond.). The salary is £400 a year, rising by £10 annual increments to £500". 


Research collated by Molly Shatwell

Banerjee, J. (2014). Edwin Seward (1853-1924) and the Building of the Welsh Capital. Available: Last accessed 27th November 2014.

Ceredigion County Council. (2011). June 4th - September 3rd 2011 : Harps in the museum. Available: Last accessed 27th November 2014.

Chapel. (2014). Chapel 1877 History. Available: Last accessed 27th November 2014.

Clera (2007). The Harp. Available: Last accessed 27th November 2014.

Edwards, G. (2008). Bush Family of Canton Papers. Available: Last accessed 27th November 2014.

Grace's Guide. (2013). T. Hurry Riches. Available: Last accessed 27th November 2014.

National Museum Wales. (2014). Lady Llanover and the Triple Harp.Available: Last accessed 1st December 2014.​​

Rachel Ley. (unknown). Lady Llanover and the Triple Harp . Available: Last accessed 27th November 2014.​

The British Newspaper Archive. (2014). Western Mail - Tuesday 05 December 1876. Available: Last accessed 28th November 2014.

The British Newspaper Archive. (2014). Western Mail - Thursday 08 January 1880.Available: Last accessed 28th November 2014.​

The British Newspaper Archive. (2014). Western Mail - Thursday 17 February 1887.Available: Last accessed 28th November 2014.​

The British Newspaper Archive. (2014). Western Mail - Monday 25 July 1887.Available: Last accessed 28th November 2014.​

​The British Newspaper Archive. (2014). Western Mail - Thursday 02 July 1914.Available: Last accessed 28th November 2014.

The British Newspaper Archive. (2014). Western Mail - Tuesday 23 April 1918.Available: Last accessed 28th November 2014.​