Hells Passage, Oxford

Hells Passage, Oxford



Randolph Schwabe was born in Eccles, Manchester, the son of a German born cotton merchant. He initially studied at the Royal College of Art but after a short time transferred to the Slade. In 1904 he won the Slade Scholarship and in 1905 won the college Summer Competition. In 1906, a Slade scholarship allowed him to study at the Academie Julian, Paris before travelling to Italy. Unable to enlist due to poor health he was an official War Artist during World War I. After the war he initially worked as a theatrical designer and book illustrator he began teaching at Camberwell and Westminster Schools of Art. He was then drawing master at the Royal College of Art before succeeding Henry Tonks as Slade Professor and head of the Slade School of Art in 1930. In 1941 he joined the committee of the War Artists’ Advisory Committee. Schwabe was a prolific exhibitor at the New English Art Club and Goupil Gallery, also showing at Carfax Gallery, Fine Art Society, Leicester Galleries and Royal Watercolour Society. Examples of his work are in the collections of the Tate Gallery, Imperial War Museum and elsewhere. During World War II the Slade School was evacuated to London and was based at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. This watercolour of a narrow passageway in Oxford dates from this time. Hell’s Passage was the birthplace of Jane Burden, who later married William Morris. The name of the alley has now changed, the north part being called Bath Place and the southern end now called St Helen’s Passage.


Height 121.92 cm / 48 "
Width 91.44 cm / 36 "
Framed height 167.64 cm / 66 "
Framed width 134.62 cm / 53 "