“Among the Most Promising…”
Minnie Jane Hardman and the Late Victorian Royal Academy Schools
Minnie Jane Hardman (née Shubrook) (1862-1952) was a student at the Royal Academy Schools in 1883-1889. One of approximately twelve female students admitted yearly, she started at the Academy only twenty-three years after the first female student was accidentally accepted in 1860.
By the 1880s, women were still only permitted to attend the antique and painting schools, and Academy registers show that Hardman spent much of her time isolated from the men in classes dedicated to “Ladies Painting”.
The breadth and unrivalled coverage of the Minnie Jane Hardman Collection at the University of Reading provides a unique and in-depth insight into the education and practice of a female artist during this period. Works include sketches after the antique, anatomical and life drawings, and studies and examination papers in perspective. Many are complete with labels recording Hardman’s class number, surname, age, register number and stage and the collection includes a series of prize–winning works, underlining her accomplishment as a draughtswoman.