Head of a Man

WAG 7358


John was invited to teach painting and drawing at the Liverpool School of Architecture and Applied Art in 1901. The School was part of the University College, now the University of Liverpool, and known locally as the Art Sheds. His exceptional drawing skills enabled him to excel in teaching life classes. He inspired his students and injected life into the Art Sheds. He boasted of his success to William Rothenstein (1872-1945) in 1902, writing: ‘my stick of charcoal is magnetising students from the other art school and my class increases’. John encouraged his students to study anatomy and Old Master drawings to understand the structure and contours of the body. He taught the importance of close observation, instructing the class, ‘When you draw, don’t look at the model for one second and five minutes at your drawing, but five minutes at the model and one second at your drawing’. John also taught by demonstration. Occasionally he would draw the model himself, discarding his work on the floor after class. These sketches were quickly collected by his students. This is one of several drawings to survive.