Letter: Audrey Walker obituary

Jennifer Opie writes: Audrey was a blast of fresh air. She was an inspirational head of department, introducing large-scale modelling and drawing outside – the school adjoins Hampstead Heath

I was a student at Parliament Hill school, north London, from 1955, as it completed its transformation into a comprehensive, and where the textile artist Audrey Walker was head of the art department from 1959 to 1965.

Many of the staff had been there since before the second world war and were nearing retirement. Audrey was a blast of fresh air. She was an inspirational head of department, introducing large-scale modelling, drawing outside – the school adjoins Hampstead Heath – visits to exhibitions and, most memorably, to the new Royal College of Art building in Kensington Gore. I still have my end-of-term reports in her comfortable italic and a fulsome recommendation behind my application to go to art school.

We bumped into each other in the Victoria & Albert museum (I was a curator there) in the following years and at the craft and design fair Collect, where her embroideries were shown by Ruthin Craft Centre. She always greeted me with warmth and lively interest; a truly lovely woman.

Jennifer Opie

The GuardianTramp

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