Ishbel McWhirter

Alexander Sutherland Neill, 1883 - 1973. Educationalist (1964)

About this artwork

Born in Forfar, Neill was the son of a Scottish village headmaster. Dissatisfied with the inflexible Victorian school system, Neill agreed with Freud that emotional development in children should take precedence over intellectual demands. He founded Summerhill, an experimental school, in Suffolk in 1927. The essential quality of Summerhill was, according to Neill, freedom and self-government for children and staff. This did not lead to anarchy and empty classrooms and it was seen as proof of the experiment's success that creativity was encouraged rather than conventional academic goals. McWhirter was herself a pupil at Summerhill.

  • title: Alexander Sutherland Neill, 1883 - 1973. Educationalist
  • accession number: PG 2638
  • artist: Ishbel McWhirterEnglish (born 1927)
  • depicted: Alexander Sutherland Neill
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: Education
  • materials: Oil on canvas
  • date created: 1964
  • measurements: 76.20 x 61.00 cm (framed: 85.50 x 70.60 x 3.80 cm)
  • credit line: Purchased 1985
  • copyright: © ISHBEL McWHIRTER
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Ishbel McWhirter

Ishbel McWhirter

Mcwhirter was born in London, the daughter of a Welsh mother and a Scottish father. She grew up in North Wales and was educated at Summerhill, the experimental boarding school in Suffolk founded by AS Neill. Her talent was spotted by Oscar Kokoschka whilst she was still a schoolgirl and she moved to London in 1946 to become his pupil. She is best known for her sensitive, introspective portraits, often painted to commission, but she also paints landscapes and still-life.