Falmouth School of Art is delighted to announce an award open to final year BA(Hons) Fine Art and BA(Hons) Drawing students, generously made by Nysha Concannon-Brook in memory of her Grandmother, Caroline Sassoon. The launch of the Caroline Sassoon Emerging Artist award coincides with what would have been the artist’s 100th birthday.
Caroline Sassoon was born Daphne Elsie Dawn Taylor on the 11th October 1918. Her discipline and drive were clear from an early age, when she won the regional ice-skating championship at just ten years old. She had lost both of her parents by the age of nineteen, their deaths falling within three years of each other. She trained to be a teacher, specialising in art. Her headmaster at Crewkern School in Somerset commented that, “she has revolutionised the conception of [art]… even those to whom this medium of expression is not natural have been stimulated by her method of approach.”
Sassoon was a fierce feminist from a young age and remained disappointed that she never lived to see women paid equally. On marrying Hamo Sassoon in 1948, she told him, in the crisp and clear way that she always communicated, she would not be spending all of her time cooking for him. If he wanted a chef, he could pay for one.
Hamo was an archaeologist which meant they lived in many different places, including colonial Africa – where in addition to their own three children, they adopted three cheetahs whose mother had been killed by hunters. During these years of travel, she illustrated the book Friends and Enemies by Naomi Mitchison, drew renditions of the local African life, and on arriving in Fort Jesus in Mombasa, she wrote and illustrated her own book called Chinese Porcelain in Fort Jesus.
Sassoon had an ever-expanding interest in all art, from cave paintings, through to David Hockney, and she was always open to modernisations within the industry. In her later years, from the age of seventy-one, she began painting coastal watercolours in Cornwall, near where she lived in Fowey. They were exhibited and sold in the Julia Gould art gallery in Cornwall.
Caroline Sassoon was someone who never saw age as a barrier, taking a course in genetics at the Open University at seventy-eight years old. She believed that you never stopped learning and that perseverance was the key to achieving clearly set goals. In her memory, the Caroline Sassoon Emerging Artist Award will make a monetary contribution to the successful student, with the intention of aiding their continuing practice as an artist following their degree studies.