History: The Slade

Aged 22 and lodging at 60 Chepstow Place, Bayswater, London, Sheila started her course at the Slade School of Fine Art.


It was here that Sheila really began to flourish as an artist. The Slade was renowned for its teaching in ‘life drawing’ or ‘modelling’, when Sheila studied at Skipton they only drew from books or ornamental figures/statues which was sometimes referred to as ‘drawing from antique’.

Sheila won several prizes including 1st prize for her 1948 Summer Composition ‘Figures Beneath Trees’. Her achievements were rewarded in 1949 when she was awarded an extra year to study History of Art in Florence, Italy all a result of her hard work.

Having several paintings accepted for the Royal Academy summer exhibition of 1948, Sheila’s head-mistress Enid Wise, (from Skipton Girl’s High School) wrote to her:

“Congratulations on your success. I hope to go to the Academy and see the pictures sometime during the summer. It is very exciting to have an old girl doing something so spectacular and out of the ordinary”

With a shining reference from Slade professor, William Coldstream, Sheila completed her studies in 1950 to begin her life as an independent artist.

  • Sheila Bownas in her 20s
    Sheila Bownas in her 20s
  • Pencil study 1947
    Pencil study 1947
  • Pencil study 1947
    Pencil study 1947
  • Portrait in oil
    Portrait in oil
  • Portrait in watercolour
    Portrait in watercolour
  • Portrait in watercolour
    Portrait in watercolour