The Catherine Moody Archive – Week Two

Over the summer of 2011 two Art History students; Holly Lambeth-Fradgeley and Hannah Fisher will be working with Worcester City Museum and Art Gallery on an archive relating to the late Catherine Moody. Ms Moody, who passed away recently, was a Malvern artist who was long known to the Museum. Holly and Hannah will document their progress as a blog as they get to know both the archive and the artist.

20/7/11 – Our second day cataloguing the ephemera of Ms Moody. Everything has been stored in boxes & bags and we seem to get a box done a week; there’s an awful lot to go through. This week we were working with a lot of photographs, most of which were from Catherine’s time as Head of Malvern School of Art. Soon we’ll be sorting through what could possibly be a thousand or so of her photographic slides. We’re quite fond of this format though I’m sure through documenting all the duplicates we’ll have a few second thoughts.

A large portion of the photographs we sorted were printed by Norman Mays in Malvern which many residents still remember. They were from the mid-late 70’s and were taken of classes and seminars at the art college. They give a picture of how important the college was to the community and even its international reputation. Catherine’s enthusiasm must have been quite infectious as artists were there annually to teach special lectures which were always full of students.

This week we really got to grips with cataloguing – every photo got a number and was added to our spreadsheet which will eventually use to organise every item in the collection. There were a couple hundred black and white pictures to sort this week and we did find it hard to differentiate each individual item.

Some of the nicest pieces we’ve found so far are photographs. We have an original photo from the 1897 official School of Art picnic with pupils and teachers lounging in the grass wearing boaters. There’s plenty of explanation as to who the individuals are so it’s a very nice piece to be able to examine. Another photo is possibly of the director Henry Cass implying that he might have links with the college, but it’s a lovely photo regardless.

Next week we may have a visitor who knew Catherine and the Moody family for most of her life. From what we’ve heard of her so far I’m sure it’ll be fascinating and it’s quite special to get a real human account of an artist and someone who was obviously quite important to Malvern.

Blog written by Hannah Fisher – just completed a foundation diploma in Art and Design at Camberwell College of Art and will be returning to London in September to study Art History and Art World Practice at Christie’s Education with the University of Glasgow and will eventually end up in Scotland for the last two years of the degree.

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