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David Westhead Art History collection unveiled

The Art History Department welcomed Celia Westhead, her family and friends, teachers and pupils (both past and present) as well as colleagues and pupils from local schools to the opening of the David Westhead Collection at Bryanston.

David, who sadly passed away in 2016, was an artist and former Head of Art & Art History at Parkstone Grammar School. He bequeathed his extensive collection of art history books to the art history library at Bryanston, which has completely transformed the space. It has been installed as a complete collection in its own specially designed library.

Jethro Lyne, Head of History of Art, commented: “We wish for this new library collection to become a centre of learning for art history pupils and those from related disciplines, and a resource to encourage greater contact and collaboration between neighbouring schools.”

David’s collection of over 2,000 books was built up over many years and his love of art was something, his wife Celia Westhead said, began at an early age:

“As a child, Dave had asthma and the only way in those days to control the symptoms was to avoid going outside. Nearby kilns belched thick, polluted smog across the potteries which made breathing difficult, so Dave was not allowed to play football, learn to swim or ride a bicycle. Consequently, he spent hours indoors reading books and drawing. This was the beginning of a lifetime’s love, fascination and delight.”

Pupils will now have access to a much broader range of periods, and it is indeed the first time that they will have entire shelves of books on, for example, the Russian and German avant-gardes of the 1920s.

Celia summed up David’s wishes by adding: “Our hope is that pupils, students and adults throughout Dorset will have access to the collection and that they too will begin a lifetime journey enriched by the art of the past.”

Image of David Westhead bookplate to be inserted inside each one of his booksPhoto of David Beardsley, Celia Westhead and Jethro Lyne standing in front of a bookcase