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News > School News > OR Lady Ritblat comes to Roedean

OR Lady Ritblat comes to Roedean

On Wednesday 7 November we were delighted to welcome OR Lady Jill Ritblat OBE (Slotover, No. 2, 1955-60) to Roedean.
12 Nov 2018
School News
Lady Ritblat's visit started with a tour of the School with Year 10 pupils Eliza F and Melanie W, both in House 2 themselves. A highlight was a visit to the Art Studio, where she told the class all about her memory of making a lino-cut print in the studio, and it was a sheer co-incidence that Year 10 happened to be cutting print blocks at the time. Lady Ritblat also enjoyed chatting to some Year 13 students who are applying to Art School; she was interested to see their work and hear about their plans for the future. Lady Ritblat has extensive connections in the world of Fine Art being on the board of the Design Museum and other notable institutions. She helped with many Tate initiatives, including being on the judging panel for the Turner prize in 1988. Surely one of her most notable experiences was having her portrait created by Andy Warhol, and having rejected an offer to be painted by Lucien Freud because she wasn’t too keen on his style!

After lunch she presented an informal talk on her life to a group of senior girls in the Keswick Common Room. She gave a fascinating overview of her varied career, from a young ambition to be a ballet dancer, school life at Roedean, and training as a barrister, to eventually finding her feet in the art world, via a fabulous fashion collection. It was Lady Ritblat’s interest and knowledge in high-end fashion that fascinated the students most and she recounted a story of having collected pieces by Alexander McQueen when he was a young fashion designer, and how she knew him well. Lady Ritblat also told us about how her wedding dress and trousseau were handmade made by Christian Dior, causing quite a gasp from the audience. She has donated a huge number of her garments to the V&A for their collection, and has 2 pieces in the forthcoming Dior exhibition.

She finished her talk with a list of ‘Dos and Don’ts’, which she and her husband put together to inspire the girls to follow their dreams and loves, and, above all, to be brave. We are so grateful to Lady Ritblat for spending a day at the School and hope she will visit again soon.

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