'The excellence of its design, the talent of its conductor, and the high opinion entertained of it by our most eminent painters, justly entitle it to a particular notice amongst the institutions connected with the arts... this institution may be considered the best in the kingdom as a probationary school for the Royal Academy, the Elgin Marbles, and the British Institution.' [from a guidebook of the 1820s]
Sass's Academy in Bloomsbury finds a place on these pages because of the many important Victorian painters who studied there, typically before going, as suggested by the quote above, on to further studies at the Royal Academy. Artists who studied at Sass's included Rossetti, Millais, W. H. Deverell, William Powell Frith, Edward Lear, Augustus Egg, E. H. Corbould, and W. E. Frost. Sass's Academy was in Bloomsbury, at 6 Charlotte Street. Students had available an art library, a collection of casts from the antique, and a large collection of Old Master prints.
Henry Sass (1788-1844) was a London portraitist and history painter, who had studied at the RA Schools and travelled in Europe somewhat. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1808-38. His own work seems never to have achieved the distinction of his better-known pupils.
Sass's health suffered in his later years, and the management of his school was taken over by a former pupil, Francis Stephen Cary, in 1842. Cary, the son of the Revd Cary who translated Dante, was a painter of historical scenes, and genre subjects from Shakespeare etc. The school gradually became known as Cary's Academy. Among important artists who studied there during Cary's time we may mention Simeon Solomon, Henry Wallis and Robert Braithwaite Martineau. Cary died in 1880, having retired some time earlier.
Top of page