Mr. G. Neal (Art Master 1911-45)
At the end of last term we said goodbye to Mr. Neal, our Senior Master and Art Master, who retired after more than thirty-four years of zealous and devoted service to the School. Mr. Neal came to the School as Art Master in 1911 and as Mr. Brister, his successor as Senior Master, emphasized in his valedictory, he had always remained young, tough and ardent; indeed, he is still as young in mind and spirit as on that first day here thirty-four years ago. Old boys coming back to visit the School have always greeted the Art Master with the observation that he did not seem to grow old.
An unusually gifted teacher, Mr. Neal is also a subtle and discerning psychologist. He brought to his work of establishing and developing the art department of the school a faith in Plato's passionate ideal of "Education through Art." In experience of teaching other subjects he had seen the gleam, and, following it, he soon revealed to the practitioners in other subjects the truth of the Shavian saw "that fine art is the sole teacher except torture." It was no impracticable ideal to which he gave his enthusiasm. The first years were a period of tough spade-work with pencil, pen, brush and graver, but how well he harmonised the nearer work and the further vision, and reconciled the basic realities with the ultimate ideals, was seen when his old pupils began to achieve distinction in the field of art: by works his faith was justified. His strength was that he was able to wed art with instruction, to open the eyes, sharpen the wits and enlarge the mind, while still painting a picture.
In 1925, only three years after leaving the School art room, an Old Gaytonian exhibited at the Royal Academy. Another old boy of the School was awarded the Prix de Rome in engraving. A third won the Prix de Rome in architecture. The architect, as well as several others whose names are distinguished in the field of architecture, drew their first inspiration in ther art in the School Architectural Society, which Mr. Neal established and guided with vision and enthusiasm for many years.
Some of the work of these artists may be seen on the walls of the art room, where too we can still look on some of Mr. Neal's own work, those pictures and engravings where he has caught in line and colour some fleeting aspect of the School scene and surroundings, some moment of the conscience of the School.
These are they who took up a career in the field of art, but artistic awareness was well and widely distributed throughout the School - how well was seen in the frequent Art Exhibitions, either independently of as part of other School Exhibitions - and this awareness became alertness in the artistic publicity of those exhibitions and of other School events.
Mr. Neal is a multiple man, a man of many facets and talents, and for a period of some years he was responsible for the School association football, cricket and lawn tennis, and organised the annual athletic sports. Under his control there were years when the football eleven and the cricket eleven played through the season without defeat. Northwick House, of which he was Housemaster, was Cock House on fourteen occasions - a record in no way approached by any other House.
As well as being a man of much resource, he has many resources; he is a talented artist, he is a deeply-read man and a philosopher, and he by no means allows that his days as a lawn tennis player are over. May these wide interests bring him many happy days, and ,ay they long continue to keep young in mind and spirit our first Art Master.
(unsigned - possibly written by Sidney F. Fooks, English Master and editor of Gaytonian)
Gaytonian February 1946
Mr. G. Neal, A.T.C., a well-loved Senior Art Master, served the school faithfully from 1911 to 1945, becoming Deputy Headmaster in his last term. As Housemaster of Northwick House, he led it to a record number of successes. He was also responsible for School cricket, tennis and athletics. He readily inspired affection in all who knew him, and will be greatly missed.
Obituary in Gaytonian 1963
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