NITA BEGG 1920-2011
Nita Begg D.A.
graduated in 1943 from Glasgow School of Art.
Nita was a pre-war student at Glasgow School of Art who drew and painted from an early age. By the 1960's she was receiving critical acclaim. This website is dedicated to the story of her artistic life which spanned 70 years.
See 'Nita Begg Archives' for more paintings and photographs and ephemera (also that of her partner, artist William (Bill Gallacher).

This site is intended for education purposes and is funded by the author. A full bibliography and references will be published when time permits.

Art School

1. Art School Days 1937-38: First year of 2 Year General Course. 
Nita was admitted to Glasgow School of Art, in 1937, two years before the impending world war. This proved to be a turning point in Nita’s life where she began to come out of her shell and to build her social and artistic confidence. Now was her opportunity to develop, experiment, learn and flourish. Still somewhat nervous she utilised this energy and threw herself into this world with little to hold her back.
Prior to the Second World War the fine art course at the School of Art was a precisely structured five year course. Based on the traditional artistic skills of draughtsmanship and craft of the applied arts Nita's first year studies included a taste of the disciplines of drawing, modelling, design, geometry and perspective, metalwork, ceramics and plant drawing. The principal of the GSA at this time was William Oliphant Hutchison who was a great encouragement to his students. Among her tutors were Hugh Adam Crawford RSA, Henry Y. Alison, Jimmy Barr (modelling), James Huck (anatomy drawing-he left in 1937) W. McLean (who played gramophone records in class,also left around 1937), Benno Shotz (modelling) and Alex Dick.
Other members of staff at this time and all former GSA students were Ian Fleming, William Crosbie (former GSA student 1932-35), David Donaldson (part-time staff from 1938, former GSA student 1931-38), Ancell Stronach (Professor of Mural Painting) and Jack Coia.
Nita remembers W.O. Hutchison as having a courteous demeanour in contrast to Henry Y. Alison of whom she was so frightened she sneaked out of class when it was known he may be approaching. He regarded female students with complete disdain.
Among her first year peers were Catherine Arthur and Alex McCallum (who later married), Alec Young and Christina McKay (who later married), Marie Millar, Dorothy Henderson and Ann Adam. This year group was a large complement before the depletion of the war years. Classes were created using the alphabetic order, thus; Adam, Arthur, Begg, etc.
Nita became part of a threesome with Christina McKay and Marie Miller. Christina travelled in by bus from Mosspark and Marie by train from Stepps.
From whatever direction or method of transport they all climbed the steep hill up to Renfrew Street and came together in mutual appreciation of the creative arts. This was still a time of great promise, days of innocence in sharp contrast to the dark days ahead.

During this academic year the talented 'Roberts', who had digs in Renfrew Street, were the award-winning final year students. Robert MacBryde was awarded the 'Director's Prize' while Robert Colquhoun the 'James Guthrie Prize'. This was to be followed after their graduation by the award of a travelling scholarship to each. First year students at this time were well acquainted with the artistic talents of their peers and thus not short of inspiration. The 'Roberts' at this juncture were each awarded a scholarship to Hospitalfield House, a post-diploma opportunity to study at the residential summer school near Arbroath under the indomitable James Cowie. This scholarship was also to be awarded to Nita after her war service in 1947.

Empire Exhibition open from May 3rd 1938 to October 29th 1938.
The 1920 and 1930’s were times of great expectation in the developments of industry, commerce and culture. After the first war and the depression of the 20's and 30's there was great hope for a better future for all. The EmpireExhibition was made possible by powerful Scottish figures with the help of the British Government who were aware of the decline of the heavy industries and keen to let the rest of the world be reminded that Glasgow was a centre for culture and learning and was still the 'Second City of the Empire'.
The exhibition was built in Bellahouston Park and open to the public for six months from May till October. 13 million visits were made, several of them by Nita and her mother who could not stay away. Catherine who was attending school and Tom working took the opportunity of visiting later in the day. Nita was fortunate to have the opportunity of visiting with her school friend Dorothea Hodge. And indeed there was no shortage of entertainment to be had. Visitors dressed in their best finery to wander among the best products Scotland and Britain had to offer. Luxury accompanied with modernism was all around. It was a miniature city of modernist architecture, fantastic boulevards with enormous water fountains which were lit at night. Nothing on this scale had been seen before in Scotland.
The design and development of the exhibition provided a great deal of work for hundreds of people from the architects under the leadership of Thomas Tait FRIBA, to civil and electrical engineers, builders and construction workers. Connections between the exhibition and the Glasgow School of Art were many. Thomas Tait the leading architect had trained in architecture and decorative art at Paisley Technical College and School of Art and from there won a scholarship to study at Glasgow School of Art under Bourdon. Other architects working for Tait and who also spent time studying at the Glasgow School of Art/Architecture were Francis Lorne, Jack Coia, Launcelot Hugh Ross, Dr Colin Sinclair, Margaret Brodie, and Richard Mervyn Noad. The Glasgow School of Art artists, Hugh Adam Crawford, David Donaldson, Charles Baillie, William Crosbie and William Gallacher (1st year student) were also employed in designing and painting mural decorations for various buildings including the Catholic Pavilion and Concert Hall. This was a fantastic creative opportunity for the Art School and the exhibition developers.
During the exhibition over 850 people were employed. Entertainment included a 12 acre amusement park complete with dodgems, mountain railway, speedway, wall of death, multiple exotic rides and a big wheel. There were concerts provided by The London Philharmonic Orchestra with Sir Thomas Beecham and The London Symphony Orchestra with Sir Henry Wood and Paul Robeson.
The exhibition closed on the 29th October 1938, this last day being the busiest of all with over 360,000 visitors in one day!

As a foot note the well known  Beresford Hotel  on Sauchiehall Street was built and opened in 1938 specifically to host visitors to the Empire exhibition. This stunning building is representative of modernism at its height in the centre of Glasgow. A few short years later it became a favourite meeting place for American Servicemen.

page from Nita's 'historic ornament' sketchbook 1937/38

2.Autumn 1938- Summer 1939: Final Year of her 2 year General Course. 
On September 30th 1938 Chamberlain following through his policy of appeasement and rearmament signed the 'Munich Pact' and announced he had secured 'peace for our time'. For a while the Art School continued much as normal for another year. Everyone hoped for peace but Germany continued to invade the rest of Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile the British Government prepared for the worst. The Air Raid Precaution(ARP) service was expanded and armaments increasingly manufactured in many parts of Scotland. In November 1937 the British government had decided to build air-raid shelters in all cities, while in January 1938 it was announced that children were to be fitted with gas masks. By July 1938 the British government ordered 1,000 Spitfires. By the end of 1938 the demands for sandbags had become so enormous that it absorbed the entire output of the Dundee jute manufacturers.
Although a number of students lived in local accommodation of rented rooms those who could travel home did so. Nita would commute from Renfrew Street back to North Mount Vernon by tram restricting to some extent opportunities for socialising. However time was spent socialising with fellow students in the evening while on Friday evenings there were dances organised in the students' common room.
With a group of first year friends she also had an excursion to a youth hostel at Loch Lomond.

Benno Shotz R.S.A. was appointed this year as head of modelling and sculpture.

At this time her brother Tom having recently left Glasgow High School for boys was training to become an accountant, while her sister was still studying at The High School for Girls soon to volunteer for the WAAF (Women's Auxiliary Air Force ).
Nita left the session early in March 1939 to visit Paris, her report for this year is incomplete.
This year George Singleton opened his Cosmo Cinema on Rose Street in May 1939 and was to become a regular haunt of the art students over the years. The Cosmo was the largest art house cinema outside London.

Paris April 1939 - July 1939...................Studying in Paris.
During the spring of this session almost having completed her second art school year, Nita travelled to France accompanied her sister Catherine (known as Bibs). There were two main aims of her father who sponsored this trip. He himself having spent time studying art in Europe, both in Paris and Venice believed Nita could further her knowledge of European painting, along with French culture and language while Catherine who had developed 
fibrositis would benefit from the warmer climate and change of scene. They resided and studied at St Joseph de Cluny Convent, Senlis, Paris. Much to their frustration they were chaperoned all the while by an Irish nun from the convent. Nita felt this restrained them from a more adventurous time in their exotic surroundings; this keenly felt as they met up with ex-school friends in the centre of Paris. However, at weekends they resided in a small private hotel in Paris. Their uncle John Hepburn lived with his French wife Henriette at 8 Rue de Fantin Latour on the banks of the Seine. They acted as chaperones at weekends allowing a little more variety in their leisure time. Both Nita and Catherine missed home and eventually asked to be brought back. If they had stayed longer than a couple of months they may have settled but unfortunately their time in Paris was cut short. They were brought back to Scotland due to the threat of war. 

3. 1939 Sept - June 1940 1st year of the War, 1st year of 3 year Diploma

This year the following school higher certificate holders enrolled for their three year diploma; Moira Munro (married Stuart Beaty, post war student) Margot Sandeman (married James Robson, fellow student) and Joan Eardley. Both Moira and Margot's studies were interrupted when they left to work at Bletchley Park. Moira was invited by the War Office to work for them and became a cryptographer directly involved with breaking the Enigma Code.
War was declared on 3rd September 1939.
Nita's studies and personal life were interrupted by WW2 like most young people of the time however she was determined to continue her studies at art school.
This was a time of great disruption within the art school with manifold problems of logistics. At the time there were so many unknowns, whether there would be bombing and the financial constraints, apart from the indisputable fact that so many students and staff would have to leave for war service. After discussions with the Scottish Education Department the governors believed the best option was to keep the school open in order to keep the several thousand enrolled students occupied in a positive way. This was of course on condition that suitable air raid shelters and other precautions were prepared. The basement areas were converted into shelters with the assistance of the school architect who used scaffolding poles found in the art school as reinforcement. Students were put to work filling sandbags while staff tackled the huge job of blacking out the massive Mackintosh windows with drapery scavaged from any available source. There was a drop in numbers attending evening classes due to the dangers involved with travelling in the blackout but when it became widely known that the school was to open the daytime numbers increased. Without the efforts of W.O.Hutchison in his role as director many students would have lost their one and only opportunity to study at art school. Catherine McCallum recalls that "as students under pressure of war and all it meant to us, what we did not know was the tremendous effort Sir William Hutchison made to keep the school open". With a short delay of a few weeks the Art School opened for business on 17th October 1939.
In April 1939 the Government had introduced the Military Training Act. This meant that all men between the ages of 20 and 21 had to register for six months military training. By October 1939 men aged between 20 and 23 were required to register to serve in one of the armed forces. They were allowed to choose between the army, the navy and the air force. Nita's elder brother Tom was 20 years old by October 1939 and therefore required to register. Tom who had served in the Senior Division of the Officers Training Corps (OTC) at Glasgow High School between 1933 and 1936 was called up in December 1939 for training and spent a few months working on building defence structures on the east coast. 

Tom Begg (2nd from right) age 22 years

In October 1939 the British government announced that all men aged between 18 and 41 who were not working in 'reserved occupations' could be called to join the armed services if required. As the war continued men from this age group received their 'call-up' papers requiring them to serve in the armed forces. This was also the month when the first German plane was shot down over Britain.

These age ranges meant that not only students but staff were drafted. Once staff were away they could not be easy replaced. Some returned to teach for a few days when on leave to keep the students on track as much as possible. Catherine MacCallum (nee Arthur) recalls 'Ann Adam was a mural student and was taught between Sir W.O. Hutchison and design staff. All who had different ideas. It was a miracle they all managed.' The comings and goings of all these students is almost impossible to track nowadays as each followed their own individual pathway. Some like Dorothy Henderson, a textile student (who later had a design selected by Courtaulds) left to join the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (Fanys) and returned at a later date to complete her diploma. Others were called up before finishing. Catherine MacCallum recounts that her now husband Alex MacCallum, as he was the youngest male student in his year group had not yet been called up, and 'with only three weeks to finish his diploma in 1940 he was called up. The school appealed and he was allowed to finish it and then was immediately removed to the army and then to Egypt and Palestine for six years'. A small number of the boys had a similar experience and had to appeal. Alex Young was also called up and became a prisoner of war in Japan.
For the art school students this period brought familiarity with rationing and times of hunger along with the general privations of war time. The overwhelming memory for many students was the freezing temperatures of both the Macintosh and Henderson buildings. Any heat source available was engulfed by shivering students. However this was all countered by a sense of joie de vivre and many a happy time was spent socialising with each other.
As in line with war arrangements across the city the Art School was to some extent appropriated for the war effort. In September 1939 the Governors granted use of part of the Mackintosh building to the British Red Cross Society. This they use as a hospital supply depot and stores. William Gallacher, a student at the time, recalled the processing of sphagnum moss for use in bandages. Sphagnum moss has been used for centuries as a dressing for wounds, including during both World Wars, since its properties mean it can absorb twenty times its dry weight in blood and also has antiseptic qualities. Through the first year of the war the demand for supplies became so great that the school were requested and granted more rooms to include the basement as well as the ground floor, in fact two thirds or more of the space in the Mackintosh building. This caused a lot of pressure on the students' accomodation with the result that the students carried out the bulk of their work in the Henderson building as well as the assembly hall which was used by the Design School. An extremely tight war budget meant that many activities had to be curtailed; a number of art classes taught by visiting lecturers had to be cancelled; the usual series of exhibitions were not held; lectures by visiting experts were cut to one by Eric Newton (the previous year visiting lecturers had been Ashley Dukes, Dr Nikolaus Pevsner and H.G. Murphy R.D.I.) ; along with cutbacks in materials and minimal spending on the fabric of the buildings themselves.
A contribution to the war effort using their skills was to decorate working men's and boys clubs. This was arranged through a great supporter of the Art School, the Lord Provost Sir Patrick Dollan. There were five of these this year; 43 Doncaster Street and Plantation Club by William Crosbie; Cathcart Boy's Club by David Donaldson; the Y.M.C.A by Isobel Brodie; and The Boy Scouts' Club, Gorbals by John Miller. Four of these had opening ceremonies were the Lord Provost gave a speech. In addition the School designed eight different posters for the Salvage Collection Scheme .
A little later in April 1940 the Royal Airforce was also granted part of The Henderson Building, now demolished, for their use. 

4. 1940 September -June 1941: 2nd Year of the 3 year Diploma Course
The Art School reopened for studies on 24th September 1940. This year but proved to be a challenging time.
By early September 1940 The Battle of Britain which had been played out in the skies was over and the Blitz of British cities began. In December came the massive bombing of London. As a result of this bombing, in the early months of 1941, a firewatching scheme was set up and managed by Henry Y. Alison. The perfect observation area was the ‘hen run’ at the highest point of the Macintosh building. Firewatch duty was voluntary at first and taken up by the majority of male students and staff. As time progressed Nita along with other girls took up this essential work. It was a duty she detested, bored, cold and frightened all at the same time, she couldn’t wait until each watch was over. Some students lay down on coats on the lavatory floor to rest although camp beds were eventually set up. It was, to be fair, mainly voluntary, rota-ed and with a little pay (3/6d for a couple of nights) which paid for food and drink. As the war progressed so did the facilities for firewatch, eventually there were dormitories of camp beds with the boys in the Henderson building and the girls in the Mackintosh building.
In Scotland the bombing started on March 13th and 14th 1941. The town of Clydebank and City of Glasgow were attacked from the skies. The Clydebank bombing raid was the most devastating suffered in Scotland in one town. In two nights of bombing 1200 people died, more than 500 in Clydebank and over 600 in Glasgow. Out of a stock of 12,000 houses in Clydebank only 7 houses were left intact. A month before the bombing a survey showed that only 30% of the population of Clydebank thought heavy air raids were likely. This made the bombing all the more of a shock. In Glasgow some bombs were strays but others were aimed at riverside quays such as Princes Dock and Queens Dock, and also Harland and Wolf and Alexander Stephen and Sons shipyards (where Nita's aunt worked as a tracer) and the Rolls Royce aircraft engine factories. Stray bombs fell in many areas on these nights; 110 were killed in Nelson Street just South of the Clyde, tenements were destroyed in Maryhill in Kilmun Street killing 83, 80 were killed at Yarrow's shipyard, 50 were killed in Peel Street in Partick, 66 were killed in Scotstoun while in Knightswood 39 were killed. In Hyndland 36 were killed when a landmine was dropped on Dudley Drive. Many more were seriously injured in these attacks. In all 647 men, women and children were killed on these two nights in Glasgow alone.

It was these bombings which now justified the fear which the students had before the start of the phoney war. War was real and horrifying. Many students lived in fear of further bombing. Catherine MacCallum lived with her parents in Airlie Street the closest street to Dudley Drive where 36 people were killed. To this day she is often drawn back to these days in the early hours when the flight to Glasgow Airport passes across the skies of Hyndland. Nita recounts the morning after the bombing, sitting in art class the lecturer with head bowed. One of the male students lived in Clydebank, as the door opened he appeared as normal much to the relief and delight of his teacher and classmates.

One member of the Art School community who was closer to the devastation on these nights than most was the lecturer Ian Fleming. When hostilities started in 1939 Fleming served as a reserve policeman in Glasgow and recorded his experience of the Glasgow Blitz in a series of prints. In 1941, he joined up as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Pioneer Corps. By this time he had already painted his well-known portrait of the two Roberts. After the war he returned to Glasgow and resumed his position at the School of Art. In 1948 he left to succeed James Cowie as Warden of the Patrick Allan-Fraser College of Art at Hospitalfield.

It provided another opportunity for socialising as eventually these nights would become social opportunities with students eating, drinking and discussing art and politics- a popular subject of the times. Exotic visitors would be invited across from the Glasgow Art Club by Hugh Adam Crawford, the head of drawing and painting, to meet with the students and alleviate any boredom. On one occasion Duncan Grant, a member of the Bloomsbury circle appeared. On a regular basis local personalities Macaulay Stevenson (one of the Glasgow Boys), Tom Honeyman (director of Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries), George Singleton (otherwise known as Mr Cosmo, owner of the Cosmo cinema) and Henry Mavor (aka James Bridie, playright and founder of the Citizens theatre in 1943) spent time with the students and some volunteered as panel experts for 'Question Time' style quizzes.
This year social events organised by the students included a Christmas dance in aid of the Red Cross who had been occupying a good part of the Macintosh building.
Some of the staff and students utilised their creative skills outwith the school in order to improve the surrounding environments of war workers and the Forces. As in the previous year staff and students decorated canteens and other centres , for example, Hugh Crawford decorated the Central Fund offices of the Lord Provost Dollan of Glasgow, while lecturer David Donaldson assisted W.O. Hutchison design and paint a large wall-panel of 'The Battle of Camperdown' in one of the Naval canteens in Rosyth.

The worst possible news arrived for Nita just at the end of the summer term. In July a telegram was delivered to 'The Elms', Mount Vernon. In February 1941 Tom had been transferred by ship to serve with the Norfolk Yeomanry in the Middle east, three months later on 16th June 1941 he was killed. Tom who had become a gunner with 53rd Anti-Tank Regiment Royal Artillery had been killed in action in Egypt at Torbruk. On June 15th a 3-day operation 'Battleaxe' was launched finishing on the 17th. Nita was now exposed to the tragedy of her beloved brother's death.
Also this school year,
In September 1940, 83 evacuated children sailing for Canada were killed in the bombing of the SS City of Benares.

5. 1941 Sept - June 1942. Nita's final year of her 3 year Diploma.
By December 1941 conscription began for women. Britain was the only country on either side, ally or foe to conscript women. Single women age 20-30 were conscripted into factories, farming or any occupation that would help the war effort. Women did not take part in the fighting but were required to take up work in these reserved occupations - especially factories and farming - to enable men to be drafted into the services. These young students also had to think carefully about their own next steps to protect their ability to continue their studies or if not to return to study after war service. Mercifully those who were planning to teach after graduating were exempt from war service. Some like Catherine Arthur graduated with her diploma in summer 1941 before conscription began and commenced teacher training becoming a teacher in 1942. However Catherine like Nita and her peers worried enormously about family away at war, those called-up and those yet to go. Catherine's father was a master mariner and merchant navy officer. He was 'torpedoed and shell shot in the first world war, mercifully a survivor, and again in the second, again a survivor, as you can imagine life was very hazardous for a seafaring family with a father and four uncles all involved in hazardous convoys'. Tragically her uncle was killed when his ship was torpedoed while on duty at Loch Long.

This initially was due to be Nita's final diploma year but it was her time to decide upon her future.
In November 1941 she was 21 and due to be called up for war service in the school year. Unlike many of her peers teaching was not an option on graduating as she had not stayed on at school to achieve her Higher Leaving Certificate. This meant she was not adequately qualified to undertake teacher training. She decided to delay her final year and entered an unfamiliar world, a munitions factory in Shettleston. The job allocated to her was as in administration mostly requiring the seemingly straightforward task of answering the phone, taking down messages, orders, instructions and so on. Unfortunately and to her mortification she failed miserably as she could not understand a word spoken in broad accents. This was exacerbated by the massive background noise of the machinery which she found hard to bear. She lasted little more than a week and left before she set the war effort back. Luckily a position was found for her in her Uncle Tom's property office where more allowance was made for any attributes which she had available.

Nita and friends met up with students from Glasgow University visiting the International Students Club where she developed a close friendship with an Afganistan army officer. Nita eventually brought him back home to visit asking permission for their engagement. Although her father seemed amenable at the time secretly he strongly disapproved and Nita believes used his influence as a magistrate to end the relationship with the young officer being sent back home.

It in September and October 1941 that along with other art schools across Britain a large map was designed and constructed by staff and students for use by the Air Ministry. This was to be used by plots for simulated flight exercises. The talents of the art school community were also put to use in designing camouflage for the Home Guard and giving lectures to over 500 Home Guard officers in its use.
A noticeable decrease in male student numbers throughout this year and the following year was due to being called up, many being called up before Christmas. This was also apparent in the second year cohort who did not get a chance to finish their general course before call up. A few students only a couple of weeks from completing their studies managed to get an extension with the help of an appeal from the director. This was highlighted by the director who had already anticipated that after the war these young men would return in the hope of completing their training. He was already thinking of making the necessary adjustments.

Nita was behind with her studies. Although she had studied for some of this year it was decided between her and her tutors that she be given the opportunity to complete a further year of study. Thus 1943 became her year of graduation.

Also this art school year,

Dec 7th 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbour and Americans entered the war becoming a World War.
March 1942 Britain suffered the worst shipping losses of the war so far.
June 'utility wear' is launched to produce economical but smart fashions.

 6. 1942 September -1943 June: Nita's Final Final Diploma year at GSA  
This year was a return, in a small way, to normality for Nita. It was to be her last year at art school, her diploma graduation year which would require great commitment and hard work no matter what was going on around her. The war was still very much at the forefront of everyones lives. At this time her school friend Dorothea was touring England with the Anglo Polish Ballet and she recounts “narrowly escaping the bombs in Bath where the audience was so grateful they covered the stage in bouquets of flowers. Hitler was bombing the cathedral cities, many of which we visited, such as Norwich”.

This year at total of 464 students registered at the school between the day classes and evening classes. During the year a third of these joined the Forces or took up war work such as the Land army or A.R.P. Ten were reported dead on active service and two reported missing. Throughout the war the remaining students supported their active comrades by way of a war comforts fund which had been set up in 1939. The students raised money for the fund on their own initiative making up 346 parcels this year to send to those staff and students on active service and war work.

Nita had progressed steadily and training in at least fifteen of twenty-two disciplines while at art school she had finally reached the stage of graduation. Due to the restrictions of war any celebrations were very low key and as in the previous war years the ceremony was not open to the public. Along with her fellow peers the ceremony was held on in June 1943 in the Mackintosh lecture room, sitting tightly packed on tiers of seating, each graduate taking in the moment and not one of them having any possibility of knowing what the future may hold. Along with them would leave the director W.O.Hutchison. The previous session he had informed the Governors that he wished to leave, not to retire but to pursue his desire to spend his time painting. No doubt he felt he had done everything he could to steer the School through these difficult times and perhaps was inspired by the quality of work which these young war time art students were producing. In his Director's report of 1943 written sometime after leaving he gave a sense of growing optimism for the outcome and end to the war hand in hand with a revival in interest in the arts and “all things of the spirit”. At a large gathering of those both employed and associated with the art school a presentation of a cheque was made to Mr Hutchison with which he generously and wisely set up a fund in order to purchase a drawing selected annually from a diploma graduate. Thus forming a collection for the school over time. This to be awarded as 'The W.O. Hutchison Prize'.
The assessor for the diploma in painting this year was Professor Randolph Schwabe, a friend of Charles Rennie Macintosh and Principal of The Slade School of Fine Art school in London. Schwabe had undertaken the position as examiner for the Board of Education for a number of years and was highly regarded. Prof. Schwabe commended the work generally.
During this diploma year there was no shortage of influences on the students with a number of lectures and exhibitions based in and around the art school. An exhibition of Yugo-Slav embroidery and textiles, opened by General Radovitch was said by W.O. Hutchison to be both “interesting and stimulating” while several lectures were delivered including one by Sir Kenneth Clark (Director of the National Gallery) on drawing, another by Professor Vogel from Czechoslovakia on Baroque art, both said to have '”added materially to the instruction received by the students during the year”. Other influences in the area included 'The Centre', also referred to as the 'Refugee Centre' at 7 Scott Street where Polish refugees and artists Josef Hermann (a young 29 year old) and Jankel Adler spent time between 1940 and 1943. Adler was to influence the Two Roberts and when he moved to London he rented a studio immediately above theirs at No. 77 Bedford Gardens one year following the Roberts arrival. The New Glasgow Club, formed in 1940 by J.D. Fergusson and his wife and situated in 229 West Regent Street and in 1942 founded the New Scottish Group.

These young students had now reached the end of a long road but had little time to rest as the country remained in the throes of war. Choices for all were very restricted; teacher training, war work or the forces.
Diploma graduates were scarce this year, only eleven in drawing and painting, the low numbers due to war call-ups and so on; John Aitken, Agnes B. Begg (aka Nita Begg), Fred E. L. Day, Joan K. H. Eardley, Ethna F. Low, Helen G. McNairn, Jean R. Moore, Betty S. Murray,  Allison J. S. Robertson, Eugenio F. Carlo Rossi, Dorothy G. Ward. 

Note.There may be 'year group lists' which have omitted an expected name as they were called up but received their diploma at a later date.
For other subject awards this year including architecture see 'The Scotsman' digital archive Thursday 22nd July 1943, page 3.

During the 1942 to 43 session the Royal Airforce vacated the rooms allocated to them in 1940.
Also this art school year,
October 1942 General Montgomery launches an offensive against Rommel at El Alamein and in November 1942 Church bells are rung all over Britain to celebrate British victory at El Alamein.
January 1943 RAF carried out daylight bombing of Berlin.
March 1943 the last raid on Glasgow was on the night of 23 March 1943 when the main casualty was Alexander 'Greek' Thomson's Queen's Park Church which was completely destroyed.
May 1943 German U-boats withdraw from the North Atlantic and German forces routed in North Africa.

Diploma Self-portrait 1943

                                               Graduation in Mackintosh Lecture Theatre 1943
Nita Begg centre, looking at camera


Nita c.1943