The Other Side

Peter Stanley

I am honoured to be asked to write in memory of Peter Stanley. In 1978, Reg Butler invited me to be one of the regular visitors to the Sculpture Department (then postgraduate only) at the Slade. I replaced Garth Evans who had gone to the US earlier in the year. The other continuing visitors were Mike Kenny and possibly still John Davies. Mandy Havers had also recently joined as a visitor. I was very flattered to be part of the scene where I had graduated only three years before. The small group of about 10 or so students who formed the two year postgraduate cohort were a close knit and friendly community. Most of the time they made sculpture [apart from occasional visits to the Wellington' - now called the "Jeremy Bentham") and while they all took their work seriously they were relaxed and friendly. I suspect there was rivalry but it was never too apparent. As I say, it was a community.

Peter was one of my first students at the Slade all those years ago. As I recall, he had an interest in constructing and assembling. I seem to remember that his early work from that time, had something of the influence of Mike Kenny's floor pieces about them, planes on frameworks with a sense of the solitary figure, incorporating geometrical devices and delineations. There was something else as well. Peter always had a good sense of humour and enjoyed a joke. There was a lightness of touch about his personality, never imposing but sensitive, one might say tender.

There was that in his sculpture too; thoughtful but not pompous, witty but not facile, sensitive and quietly eloquent. He was a good member of the group, generous to others, a born teacher through a natural inclination to be always encouraging through showing belief in the vision of other individuals in the group. I have no hesitation in saying that his generosity of spirit was encouraging to me in those days, in the basement of the Slade, as a young artist/teacher, in my attempts to convey critical but constructive insight. Whatever help I might have given Peter then, he certainly repaid me by being a kind, receptive and tolerant student. I think that he carried those qualities with him in his life as a teacher and I am sure his insights and wisdom will be carried forward by all those fortunate enough to have come into contact with him. I am grateful to have met and known him in his early career. I mourn his passing and am so pleased that his personality and work are being honoured with such respect and affection.

Prof. Brian Falconbridge
President, Royal Society of British Sculptors

9 April 1949 Colchester - Samokov 16 March 2006

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