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The RCA’s New Royal Visitor His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales Meets Students and Staff at the College

During his first visit to the College since taking up the role of Royal Visitor in May this year, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales met Ceramics & Glass and Print students, staff and start-up design innovators at the RCA’s Battersea campus on Tuesday 20 November.

The Prince of Wales spent time with students, technicians and staff on a tour of the Ceramics & Glass workshops and studios. Several students demonstrated the workshops in action, including: Josh Kerley, who makes functional glassware and sculptural objects, specialising in kiln-formed glass techniques; Elly Glossop whose current work is inspired by the rocaille motif of the Rococo period but uses traditional ceramic techniques in untraditional ways; and Nico Conti who is taking clay into new territories through 3D-printing technologies.

In the Wolfson Printmaking Hall, The Prince of Wales saw different types of printing press including the John Haddon Etching Press, which dates from 1851 and was used in the Great Exhibition. The press is also known fondly as the ‘Hockney press’, as RCA alumnus David Hockney – whose 1972 painting Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) recently became the most expensive work by a living artist – used it to create his Rake’s Progress etchings in 1961 when he couldn’t afford to buy more paint.

The Prince of Wales was invited to participate in a demonstration of the renowned press, using it to produce an aquatint created by MA Print alumna Kristina Chan. The featured design was a drawing of the press to mark the occasion of HRH’s 70th birthday and his first visit to the RCA. As Chan’s work (and Hockney’s before hers) demonstrates, at the RCA traditional methods of production form a strong foundation from which the next generation of artists and designers are supported, challenged and encouraged to innovate.

‘It’s a great honour for us to welcome His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales on his first visit as Royal Visitor and show him the variety of arts, crafts and innovations that are developed in our studios and workshops’ said Dr Paul Thompson, Vice-Chancellor of the RCA. ‘His passion for traditional making skills, training and educational opportunities for young people are well documented, and it was a wonderful opportunity for us to demonstrate how we are leading the way in design globally, and embracing new areas of research and innovation.’

Pioneering projects from InnovationRCA – the RCA's centre for enterprise, entrepreneurship and incubation – were also displayed to showcase the breadth of research, knowledge exchange, innovation and entrepreneurship at the College. InnovationRCA helps students and graduates transform their ideas into successful businesses such as ‘Zelp’, a device that reduces the environmental impact of methane emission caused by the livestock industry and ‘Olombria’, an agricultural technology company that enhances pollination by encouraging flies to become pollinators.

The Prince of Wales succeeds his father, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, who was Royal Visitor for 50 years from 1967, the year the Royal Charter was granted to the RCA by Her Majesty The Queen.