Here we recognise the passing of staff of Sotheby’s Institute of Art, honouring their lives and contributions to the art world.
James Malpas (1959-2015)
It is with great sorrow that Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London announces the sudden death of James Malpas.
James was an art historian with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Western and Eastern culture which not only spanned art and architecture, but also literature, poetry, history, music and philosophy – his intellectual scope was prodigious and one he generously shared with students and colleagues alike. He was a virtuoso and inspirational teacher, able to lecture on a host of topics from Japanese armour to Hogarth to Pop Art. A truly Renaissance man, James never filtered or censored his knowledge – he had an abiding desire to share his passions with all and many former Sotheby’s students who had the opportunity to study with him, will remember this quality.
Following a BA at Cambridge and MPhil at the Warburg Institute, James joined Sotheby’s Institute of Art in 1986 on a part-time basis, becoming a full-time member of The Works of Art Course team (now the MA in Fine and Decorative Art) in 1989. In 1995 he moved on to the semester courses, running the 19th and 20th Century Fine Art course, which formed part of the BA program, with Sue Jenkins. In 2004 he became co-tutor for the Styles in Art course with Lis Bogdan; in 2008 he not only became the sole leader of this program but also of Foundation in Asian Art. In addition, James made an invaluable contribution to evening and summer schools offerings at the Institute and he also taught one of the first online courses offered by the Institute. This roll-call of courses in itself hints at the extraordinary breadth and dynamism of James’s teaching; whilst he was primarily a western fine art and Japanese specialist, James had a passionate interest, enthusiasm and curiosity about so many areas of cultural activity and demonstrated an incomparable willingness to explore new areas and fresh topics. It was a sad day for the Institute when James moved to Christie’s Education to become its Director of Short Courses in 2012; however, though his departure was the Institute’s loss, we recognised how appropriately this important new post would positively challenge his knowledge and breadth of expertise.
James was a polymath; his unique and complex approach and openness to cultural knowledge dominated a life that was defiantly wide-ranging and full. James also lectured at the Tate, V&A and Hayward Gallery, for the National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS), National Art Collections Fund (NACF) and Inscape. He was a regular broadcaster on Radio 4 and 3 and reviewer for the Observer and The Art Newspaper. He was the author of Realism from Tate Editions ‘Movements in Modern Art’ series, and contributed a chapter entitled ‘Realism and Authenticity in Ceremonial Samurai Armour 1450-1800’ in Understanding Art Objects: Thinking Through the Eye(Lund Humphries and Sotheby’s Institute) in 2009. But James was also a practicing artist – he drew, kept an etching press in his garage and had recently taken up ceramics. He possessed an extraordinary flair for landscape design too, creating a personal garden that reflected his passion for Asia.
There was another side to James, far removed from his art and art historical activities. He loved parachuting, martial arts, marathon running, ice hockey and motorbikes. He was also a member of the Territorial Army and during the Iraq war he was a valued weapons instructor for the Parachute Regiment - many former students and colleagues will be familiar with the panoply of camouflage and motorbike gear that decorated his office space. His compassionate spirit was reflected in his many charitable acts – the marathons runs and also night shifts as a blood runner; James’s humanity and generosity extended far beyond his gifts as an inspirational educator and a loyal and supportive colleague.
James will be remembered by countless students who have benefitted from, and been inspired by, the wide compass of his teaching, and by colleagues past and present who have enjoyed the companionship of a warm and true friend who lived his all-too-short life to the full.
It is with great sorrow that Sotheby’s Institute of Art-London announces the death of Raymond Notley, Lecturer Emeritus. Raymond was associated with the Institute for over twenty five years, first as a student on the 19th and 20th Century Decorative Arts Course and from 1987 as a tutor on that program. But his contribution was much broader than this implies – Raymond taught on the BA in Fine and Decorative Art, was a regular lecturer on semester courses (past and present) including Styles in Art, Foundations in Asian Art, 17th and 18th Century Decorative Arts and Decorative Art and Design. He also lectured for MA in Contemporary Design and MA in Fine and Decorative Art and on many varied public programs over the years.
Raymond’s primary fields of expertise were glass and ceramics of the 19th and 20th centuries and he collected and published in these areas and also made generous donations to museums. However, his knowledge was encyclopaedic and thus he was in demand as a lecturer across all areas and periods of the fine and decorative arts. Raymond was a highly cultured individual – naturally inquisitive, well read, widely-travelled and with interests spanning art, literature, music, opera, and much more, he was able to bring both depth and breadth to his teaching. Moreover, he was never complacent about his prodigious knowledge but always keen to accept challenges and engage with new areas.
Students will remember Raymond not only for the erudition of his teaching, but also for the sparkling and witty manner of its delivery. Generous with his knowledge, Raymond’s lecturing style was effortless and his infectious enthusiasm inspired all who listened to him. Learning with Raymond was, quite simply, fun and his many anecdotes and witticisms will be remembered with affection.
Colleagues will have fond memories of Raymond as a supportive, warm and generous companion who enlivened any gathering. His contribution to the Institute was immeasurable and he will be sorely missed by all who had the pleasure of working with him and those who were fortunate enough to have been taught by him.
We were sad to learn that our former colleague and librarian, Sarah Gilmour, passed away on 24 February 2014. Sarah was the librarian at Sotheby's Institute of Art, London, until December 2006. During her four-year period with the Institute she achieved a lot and developed the library in many key areas. She introduced an electronic library management system, moving away from manual issuing and returning of books, and also planned and moved the library collection when the institute relocated to its current location at Bedford Square. In addition, Sarah was instrumental in setting up a new library in New York when the Institute established a campus there.
Sarah was a warm, creative, energetic and personable person to work with who cared deeply about everything she did. She is greatly missed. Sarah leaves behind her husband and young son.