Last week we were excited to receive a copy of a new publication by Annie Creswick-Dawson, great granddaughter of Benjamin Creswick. He was a much liked teacher at Birmingham School of Art, where he was head of modelling from 1889 until 1918.
Annie spent some time looking through our School of Art minute books for the years that he taught here, learning that John Ruskin's encouragement of him during his early career would have played a significant role in his being considered for the teaching position in 1888. George Baker, a former Mayor of Birmingham, who was on the appointments committee, had strong links with several of the leading supporters of the Arts and Crafts movement in the city.
By the time he arrived in Birmingham, Creswick had already played a prominent part in the first Arts and Crafts exhibition in London. Within a year, his students were winning the major share of the national modelling awards and his teaching had been praised by Walter Crane. Despite his enthusiasm for teaching, his own work was not ignored, with commissions for public buildings in Birmingham forming a substantial part of his output.