Liverpool Art School
Ronald William Kirby was admitted into the Junior School of the Liverpool City School of Art at the tender age of 14, by its Principal, Henry Huggill, who recognised his excellent graphic skills.
Henry Huggill was the Art School’s Principal from 1930-51. In his book, 'Liverpool Seen, Post-war artists on Merseyside', Peter Davies notes that Huggill favoured hard work and discipline, but “did not preclude gaiety.”
Kirby was a successful student, and was regarded as an outstanding draughtsman. A selection of his examination results survive in the Art School’s Archive.
The School of Art’s archive also contains a letter from Huggill, unaddressed, but indexed in Kirby’s name, and therefore probably correspondence to him. It appears to be an open reference to prospective employers written after Kirby had completed his main courses of study. The letter reads:
14 December 1948
Mr Ronald William Kirby of 58 Argo Road, Waterloo, Liverpool 22, completed a course of general art training in the Junior School in 1944 and then passed into the Senior School with a Lancashire County Art Exhibition [a type of financial scholarship] of the value of £45 per annum for 3 years.
In 1946 he passed the Ministry of Education Art and Crafts examination and in 1948 was awarded the National Diploma in Design with painting as his special subject.
Mr Kirby is a most conscientious and accurate draughtsman, has a fine sense of pictorial composition and is able to carry a job through with a very high degree of technical accomplishment and artistry.
He has had little or no industrial experience as yet but I am quite sure that he will quickly adjust himself to industrial conditions and when he has done so, he will be a very valuable worker.