Old school tie

 

It has been a bumper year for Newtown School in Co Waterford which has been celebrating its bicentennial year. The celebrations have come to a peak today when the President, Mrs McAleese, makes a trip down south to congratulate staff, pupils and members of the Quaker community on the school's achievements as well as opening a major touring retrospective of the work of Irish artist, Hilda Roberts.

Roberts, who was originally from Dublin, was married to Arnold Marsh, headmaster at Newtown for 13 years up until 1939, and they were hugely involved in the artistic life of both the school and city. They were instrumental in initiating the Municipal Art Collection in Waterford city and started the first Waterford art exhibition at Newtown's gymnasium in 1934, which was supported by artists such as Jack Yeats, Paul Henry, Mainie Jellet and William Orpen.

The current exhibition, which will tour to Dublin, Limerick and Cork, shows the wide scope of Roberts's work - many of her renowned portraits as well as sculpture, illustrations, drawings and embroidery. It was all pulled together by people involved with the school such as Abdul Bulbulia and Joan and Roger John- son; Jennie Haughton, of ArtWork and an old Newtown scholar; another old Newtonian Cedric Bailey and Eithne Clark, the daughter of Hilary Roberts who died in 1982. Eithne will be presenting the school with a painting of Newtown executed by her mother at the ceremony with the President this afternoon.