Artist, Puppeteer and Model-Maker for Hammer Films

Margaret Robinson<br/>(Courtesy of Chertsey Museum)

Margaret Robinson
(Courtesy of Chertsey Museum)

Margaret Robinson was born in 1920 in Louth, Lincolnshire. She began her career as an artist age 12 when she attended the Derby Art School, but regrettably had to leave the next year due to illness. She was to resume her art school training aged 16 when she studied at Leeds Art College, leaving in 1940 via a scholarship to the Slade School of Art.

The war had meant that Slade was relocated to Oxford to the Ashmolean Museum, which had been emptied of all its original art objects to be replaced by replicas. Included in these replicas were copies of the Elgin Marbles, which Margaret made many drawings and which was to become a recurring theme in her work throughout her life. On leaving Slade in 1942 Margaret began teaching art in day schools such as Moulton Grammar School in Lancashire and West Leeds High School… Women at this time were forbidden to teach fine art in art schools.

Self-portrait of Margaret Robinson<br/>(Courtesy of Chertsey Museum)

Self-portrait of Margaret Robinson
(Courtesy of Chertsey Museum)

After working with the Northern Children’s Theatre where she made masks for stage productions, Margaret moved to London in the late 1950s where she was able to use these skills in film and television work.

Initially working with Anne and Jan Bussell, she began a career with Hammer Films where she made masks for numerous films, most notably for the hound in the 1959 production of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles.

It was within the production team that Margaret met her future husband, Bernard Robinson, who had worked as the art director for the film. They married in 1960 and shortly after, also moved to Chertsey. As family life took over, Margaret’s career was put on hold, until 1970 when Bernard passed away. She resumed her career by teaching further education courses at art colleges. This had been an ambition Margaret had held since the 1950s but had discounted due to the exclusion of women from teaching at colleges; however, this had changed during the 1960s.

The Last Pouring by Margaret Robinson<br/>(Courtesy of Chertsey Museum)

The Last Pouring by Margaret Robinson
(Courtesy of Chertsey Museum)

The group she taught were to become the core of what is now the Chertsey Artists, located on Windsor Street. At the age of 60, Margaret took up a post as an art therapist in a psychiatric ward; a temporary post which was to last for six years until her official retirement at 66. Nevertheless Margaret continued teaching art until she was 73.

Sadly Margaret Robinson died in December 2016, but she painted right up until the last year of her life, and was involved with a local group of artists who met at her home each week to practice both portraiture and life drawing.

Margaret is just one of the talented Surrey Women featured in Surrey Museums Month 2017. To find out more about the event and other celebrated Surrey Women click here.

Extract courtesy of Chertsey Museum.

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