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Mrs Dewstoe by Joan Bakewell

This easygoing, non-judgemental teacher sparked off a love for art – and taught a valuable lesson about the importance of imagination

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I was at school during wartime and we were governed by rules. Yet, unlike the other teachers, Mrs Dewstoe, who taught art, was uncontrolling, easygoing and had a “do as you please” attitude. I found it amazing that someone could be so tolerant and welcoming. She also got married in middle age and stayed on teaching, which was unheard of for women in those days.

She had a fantastic collection of postcards of classic paintings, which she would bring in and pin on the wall. I couldn’t get enough of these postcards – Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Victorian paintings, pre-Raphaelite – and that has ...

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