February 25, 2016 | Simon Jenkins
A gift from Terry Ingram (General Studies 1963) in memory of an inspirational Professor has enabled the University to buy a remarkable piece of artwork for its gallery – and Terry has pledged further support in his Will.
“He was inspirational,” says Terry, recalling artist Quentin Bell who was Chair in Fine Art at Leeds in the 1960s. “No-one missed his lectures.”
Bell’s influence was a formative one for Terry, who hadn’t realised that his General Studies course would even cover art.
“I developed a great interest in fine art,” he says. Terry’s subsequent career in financial journalism in some of the leading newspapers of Australia and South Africa also gave him the opportunity to indulge his passion for the subject, and write about galleries and auctions and some of the great pieces of artwork which were on sale.
He is now a respected art critic and historian. One of his key interests is the Bloomsbury Group, an influential group of artists, art critics and writers in the early part of the 20th century. Bell was the son of Clive and Vanessa Bell, and the nephew of Virginia Woolf – all leading members of the Group
Terry’s support has helped the University to buy Henry Lamb’s ‘Study for Advanced Dressing Station on the Struma 1916’ which now hangs in the Gallery. Lamb was a close associate of the Bloomsbury Group, and Terry says the painting reflects their ambiguous attitudes towards the war.
“I wanted to remember Quentin Bell and I wondered what the gallery would want and then this became available; it was serendipity. Leeds is the obvious home for it.”
Terry’s interest in the arts dates from his childhood. “My dad had a bike shop in the Black Country. He bought an old postal van going cheap and on Sundays drove the family to visit historic homes and I derived a lot of pleasure from that.”
He has fond memories of his time as a student: “I was very lucky really. I got my GCEs at the grammar school and had no problem getting into University. In those days people received scholarships.”
They were times of great political unrest: “I remember walking into the students’ union when everyone was talking about the Cuban Missile Crisis. There was much greater student participation in politics back then.”
He left Leeds in 1963: “It was quite hard to get a job. I started on a weekly newspaper in London earning £6 a week. Friends from Australia suggested I go there; it cost £10 for my passage and I secured a job on the Sydney Daily Telegraph on my first day there.
“So I was chasing fire engines and going to court, but after two years I went into finance reporting and worked in South Africa on the Sunday Tribune in Durban and the Financial Mail in Johannesburg.”
Terry returned to Australia to take up a post on the Financial Review – the equivalent of the Financial Times – where he started coverage of the arts and the art market
His knowledge of the field was crucial in securing another work of art for Leeds. In 2011 he contributed towards the cost of securing and conserving ‘A Still Life Asheham House’ by Duncan Grant, when he spotted it in an auction catalogue. It now hangs in the University’s Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery beside its twin ‘Still Life (Triple Alliance)’ by Vanessa Bell, which was given to the University Art Collection by Sir Michael Sadler when he stood down as Vice-Chancellor in 1923. The two paintings depict the same objects from differing points of view – and were painted by the two Bloomsbury members in 1914.
Terry has also pledged a legacy to give further support to the University after his death – and in particular to support a student from a disadvantaged background studying fine art or the history of art.
To find out more about leaving a legacy to Leeds, click here.