Obituary: Professor Christopher Cornford

Click to follow
The Independent Online
I WORKED for 10 years under the professorship of Christopher Cornford in his General Studies Department at the Royal College of Art, writes Richard Chopping (further to the obituary by Frida Knight, 5 May).

My brief was to teach 'Creative Writing'. Neither Christopher nor I admitted that we could ever define what that really meant. His breadth of understanding of student needs, and mine, was paramount. He gave me a completely free hand and never interfered with my 'methods' - if such they could be called, giving me unlimited support in my attempts to interest a wide variety of students outside their college specialities. I have always felt that I learned more than the students in the process; and for that I am grateful to Christopher.

He and I shared an early mentor in Dorothy Bristow, who was Art Mistress at the school in which I was incarcerated for seven years. Earlier she had been companion/governess to Frances Cornford and her family. I like to think that we drew from her influence some of the qualities which made us what we became. Christopher, for certain, did. He was a man without rancour, spite or enmity; in fact a truly loving man.