Following his training at the Slade in 1944, Kyffin secured a post as art master at Highgate School in London. His description of this opportunity as ‘one of the luckiest moments of his life’, in his autobiography ‘Across the Straits’, betrays the satisfaction he gleaned from this work, until his retirement from teaching in 1973.
Kyffin’s Bequest to the National Library includes not only his own work, but also the work of other artists and friends. Amongst these are an interesting group of art works by the pupils of Highgate: over 250 drawings / paintings on paper, and 25 linocuts. A former pupil tells me that Kyffin on occasion would ask if he could keep an artwork. The collection provides interesting evidence of Kyffin as a teacher: in its variety, and in his adding example drawings of his own on the reverse side of some items for the students’ benefit.
Many of his former pupils became successful and productive artists in their own right. Notably Anthony Green and Patrick Procktor joined him later as fellow members of the Royal Academy, and an early drawing by Anthony Green is in the collection.