An early easel—the art desk

BGGS has long placed an emphasis on the creative arts, evidenced by the purpose-designed and purchased solid oak and pine desks that once adorned art rooms.

When I attended Girls Grammar, the junior art room was located at the front of the School in what is now the Administrative Support Centre (W1.04). The building was constructed to complement the rooms on the opposite side of the Main Building, which included science laboratories. Both buildings replicated the wonderful arched windows of the Gailey-designed Main Building and added symmetry to the streetscape.

Art Studio windows, Western Wing, 1940

This beautiful room was a wonderful learning space with high ceilings and large windows. The light was perfect for art. It always reminded me of what I imagined artists’ studios would look like from reading novels. The room was equipped with single person desks—not conducive to the large and often multi-media pieces of the art students of today—but they did allow for individual adjustment of angles and had that handy lip so your paper did not slip into your lap.

Past students remember these desks and this room with nostalgia and often express the wish that, with its high profile position, the room be restored to classroom use, but with the comfort of modern desks and chairs.

These old art desks have not totally disappeared, and an example of one has been preserved. It now holds pride of place in one of the Beanland Library spaces on Level 1 of the Elizabeth Jameson Research Learning Centre. Teachers and students alike use it and the ability to adjust the level of the desk surface is, ironically, perfect for laptops. Old desk, modern technology—it’s a visual metaphor for the School and its ability to thrive in the present without losing a sense of our past—a true object of substance.

Mrs Kristine Cooke (Harvey, 1967)
Director of Information Services

1917 Drawing class—Art desks in use

Art Studio in the 60s