Antony C Wolffe is a retired architect based in Gatehouse. In January 2015, after a 70 year wait, he was honoured by the City of Edinburgh with the City of Edinburgh Civic Design Medal. This exhibition was produced by The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) and shown in January at the Edinburgh College of Art, where at a special reception Antony was presented with his medal. We are delighted to be able to bring this exhibition of Antony's student drawings to Gatehouse, his home town.
The following background to the exhibition is from Edinburgh College of Art's introduction to the show.
Antony C Wolffe studied at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) between 1938 and 1944, taking a diploma first in Architecture and then in Town and Country Planning.
He had a long and successful career as an architect, and his archive is now housed at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS).
This exhibition of his student work has been curated by three Skills for the Future trainees at RCAHMS: Philip Brooks; Gillian Conabeer; and Thomas Gibbons.
It includes key pieces from the archive that reveal Wolffe's own interests, as well as the ways in which Architecture was taught at ECA at the end of the 1930s.
Collaboration with RCAHMS
RCAHMS has been running the year-long Skills for the Future programme, annually, since 2011.
Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the programme aims to give trainees invaluable practical experience in the heritage industry to help them get jobs in archives, museums and galleries.
Philip Brooks, one of the Trainee Curatorial Officers who organised Antony C Wolffe: Student Drawings 1938-44, explains how the exhibition evolved and came to be hosted at ECA…
“We were set the task of creating an outreach project based on the student drawings collection at RCAHMS. Out of the thousands of drawings, we chose to focus on Antony’s because of their vibrancy and the range of different styles on show. He was really keen to get involved and he’s got a fascinating life story, which really brought the drawings to life for us”.
“ECA is the ideal place for the exhibition. As soon as we started the project, we knew that we wanted to do something here, because it’s where Antony studied 70 years ago. Nowhere else would have been this perfect. All the staff have been really helpful, and very enthusiastic about it too”.
Antony C Wolffe - a life in architecture
Born in Berlin in 1920, Antony C Wolffe fled his homeland in 1937 in the face of Nazi oppression.
His German origins meant that he was interned for part of the Second World War.
After the completion of his studies at ECA, he moved into architectural practice, running a successful office in Dumfriesshire, while also working part-time as an Inspector of Historic Buildings.
70-year wait for city honours
Despite the interruption to his studies by a period of internment, Antony came top in his final year at ECA.
He would have received the City of Edinburgh Civic Design Medal, but for wartime sensitivities around his nationality.
After a 70-year wait, he finally received his Medal at a ceremony on 26th January 2015 to mark the opening of the exhibition, Antony C Wolffe: Student Drawings 1938-44.
Working closely with the City of Edinburgh Council, staff at ECA had sourced the original medal mould and had had a new version cast in silver.
Antony C Wolffe receives the City of Edinburgh Medal for Civic Design from John Brennan, Head of ESALA at ECA
Image courtesy of David Cheskin