Our history

Archive photograph of open-air display of artists' work in Hampstead
Open-air display of artists' work in Hampstead

Founded in 1946

Hampstead School of Art (HSoA) was founded in 1946, as a Community Art Education Charity with the patronage of Henry Moore, directed by Jeannette Jackson, Bernard Gay and the collaboration of many others. It has since provided a centre of artistic excellence to the whole community, offering tuition in a wide range of skills by practicing artists, in an historic and beautiful part of London, close to Hampstead Heath.

HSoA grew out of the Hampstead Artist’s Council (HAC), founded in the 1940’s. The archive postcard image above features the regular outdoor exhibition in Heath Street, Hampstead.

HAC was reincorporated with the school in 2014.

The school continues the vibrant cultural history of the area, following the footsteps of Constable and Freud. The school’s outreach work is an integral part of it’s DNA.


Kenneth Clark KCB

Screenshot of Tate website, Kenneth Clark exhibition Looking for Civilisation
Tate website, Kenneth Clark exhibition Looking for Civilisation

Kenneth Clark KCB  (13 July 1903 – 21 May 1983) was a British author, museum director, broadcaster and one of Hampstead Artists Council's early patrons together with Henry Moore, Sir Colin Anderson, Sir Leon Bagrit, Lord Cottesloe, Sir Philip Hendy, Oswald Milne, Sir Alan Bowness, Jeanette Jackson.  He was the best-known art historian and aesthetician of his generation, writing a series of books that appealed to a wide public while remaining a serious scholar. In 1969, he achieved international fame as the writer, producer and presenter of the BBC Television series, Civilisation, the inspiration for the current Exhibition at Tate Britain 'Looking for Civilisation'

Hampstead Artists Council was the mother organisation of Hampstead School of Art.  Its tradition is based on the forward thinking of this set of patrons who believed that art is for everyone and were proud to exhibit the work of local artists, which is integral in the school's mission.

'When Kenneth Clark was thinking about the meaning of civilisation, he was actively encouraging its creation in the local Hampstead area through the early school' says Principal of Hampstead School of Art Isabel H Langtry in her article for the Camden New Journal.

Tate Britain Exhibition
Looking for Civilisation
Kenneth Clark