Michael R. Hoar, landscape artist and former Fine Art Lecturer

Michael R. Hoar, landscape artist and former Fine Art Lecturer

Special Collections is sad to hear that former Fine Art lecturer and landscape artist Michael (Mike) R. Hoar A.R.C.A. passed away on the 11th of October 2017. The news comes some eighteen months after the death of his wife, Lulu Hancock.

Mike graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1964 and subsequently taught at DMU until 2003. Exhibitions of his work have been held throughout Europe and Britain as well as a few on the DMU campus.

His Saatchi Art profile notes that: “working from the Landscape, Mike Hoar has documented extensively his previous place of residence, Leicestershire. Initially producing small observational paintings on site within the landscape, larger works are created in his studio. This practice he has applied to landscapes/ sky-scape/ urban-scape through-out Spain, Japan and now France. Analytical and expressionistic drawing, sense of place, vibrancy of colour are but a few words to describe the sometimes abstracted, sometimes representational works created.

The archive holds some materials on Mike, including images of campustwo posters and exhibition brochures.

To see more of Mike’s fantastic work please follow this link to his website: http://www.hancockhoar.moonfruit.com/














Tales in Archive Stock Taking Part Three

Buried Treasure!

From the Special Collections that brought you such instalments as Tales in Stock Taking Parts One and Two comes the Third chapter in our trilogy! However, Ewoks and Eagles will not be making any appearances.

With this being the first stock take undertaken by the DMU Special Collections since the creation of the repository back in 2013 we have discovered many intriguing items. One that really caught our eye was this intriguing collection of three engraving.

The provenance of these prints is unknown and can only be guessed at. Most likely they were purchased by a member of staff possibly in Italy during the early years of the Leicester College of Art as it made efforts to travel across Europe to study the art and design being produced elsewhere such as Benjamin Fletcher’s visits to Germany and Austria.

The engravings pictured are from a series by Angelo Biggi who was active around 1870 and are made after Raphael frescoes. Some more investigating needs to be conducting but these three prints might be from a series of 38 of which the British Museum currently holds 10.


375th Anniversary of the English Civil War

375 years ago today King Charles I arrived in Nottingham with his army and raised the royal standard (flag) above the castle officially declaring war on parliament. Charles was riding on his successful capture of Nottingham’s arms having failed to take the munitions of other cities, including Leicester.

However, two years later the Royalists returned and on the 30th May 1645 the Newarke, Leicester became the stage for one of the bloodiest sieges of the Civil War.

The buildings and fortifications that were once key features during the war now provide a part of the historical backdrop around DMU campus, such as the Magazine that housed the city’s weapons and ammunition and the Turret Gateway, also referred to as Rupert’s Gateway. Rupert of the Rhine was the nephew of Charles I and led the assault that burst through the Newarke fortifications and sacked the city.The gatehouse itself was destroyed so that now only the gateway survives.


Turret Gateway was damaged during the Civil War and more so in a riot that took place in 1832, but the image above helps to illustrate what the Gatehouse may have looked like during the time of Charles I.

After three weeks occupation the Newarke saw military action once more, when the Parliamentarians arrived and Leicester was recaptured from the Royalists. DMU Special Collections holds the Town Armour belonging to Trinity Hospital and it is possible that it saw action in one or both of the Newarke sieges.


While the majority of the Town Armour  is accommodated in the DMU Special Collections, a selection of artefacts can be seen in the DMU Heritage centre.

The Town Armour collection consists of breastplates, back plates, gorgets and helmets that were typical of your standard pike-man

Also within the collection are nine halberds that are reminiscent of what the Uruk Hai would wield whilst storming Helm’s Deep (but that could just be me), as well as a ceremonial  sword complete with the Wyvern Crest of Thomas Crouchback that we are more familiar with from the Leicester Coat of Arms/City Arms.



Strawberries and Cream in SW19

Yesterday at SW19 Johanna Konta, British number one, became Britain’s first women’s Wimbledon semi-finalist since 1978! And today at Wimbledon the men face off, all eyes will now be on Andy Murray who will look to follow Konta into the next round.

Looking through our shelves we were sure we could find at least something related to the sport that requires a strong neck from its spectator! Perhaps it was Suzanne Lenglen who gave the designer the inspiration for this French Fashion Drawing pictured below. Lenglen was a trendsetter and one of the first international female sports stars:


Below are some details of the French designed tennis outfit.


Within our Sports History Rare Books collection we have a number of handbooks and almanacs relating to Tennis, Wimbledon and the Lawn Tennis Association.


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My favourite find today is from the ever posh Encyclopedia of Sport, 1912:

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This beautifully bound collection of volumes contains a vast array of sports both familiar and less-so. Between the entries of the hunting of exotic creatures  the encyclopedia describes the tennis player as someone …”imbued with the antiquarian spirit” and nods to the more complex rules that govern the game.

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Best of luck to all still in the competition! COME ON TIM….aaargh, I mean ANDY!

25 Years of De Montfort University

On 26 June 1992 national and civic dignitaries joined governors, staff and students at the official launch of De Montfort University. 2000 guests toasted the new university on the lawns of De Montfort Hall. The annual report for that year notes that “1992 will be remembered in this University’s history as a year of milestones and fundamental organisational changes”.

Leicester Polytechnic had been formed in 1969 on the merger of the Leicester College of Art and the Leicester College of Technology. The two Colleges had shared central resources such as buildings and administration, and were managed by the same Committee. Polytechnics tended to concentrate on practical and applied subjects and degrees were awarded through the UK Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA). In 1992 the Further and Higher Education Act made provision for polytechnics to become universities, able to grant their own degrees. Formal agreement was given by the Privy Council for Leicester Polytechnic to be renamed De Montfort University in early June 1992.

In a speech at the launch event, Vice-Chancellor Kenneth Barker described the mission of the University: “to provide teaching, research and complementary services delivered through a distributed University which is internationally competitive, locally sensitive and everywhere excellent.” The name ‘De Montfort University’ was chosen as it acknowledged the institution’s Leicester origins, and a new corporate image was then unveiled, including the lion’s head logo we still use today.

This week

This week 2

Under the new title DMU will develop as one of the new breed of dynamic, progressive universities, transforming Higher Education in the 1990s and beyond.” (quote from 1993 Prospectus)


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World Baking Day 2017

World Baking Day 2017

World baking day is something that we are not all too familiar with in the office but we cannot be happier to find an excuse to cake the sides of our kitchens in flour as we try to replicate a Paul Hollywood delight! I feel as happy as I did when I discovered the magic of Half-Christmas (That’s the 25th of June btw)!

The Baking course was taught at De Montfort University’s predecessor, the Leicester College of Technology from 1927 and taught young students the fundamentals of the trade. As was with most courses at Leicester Colleges of Art and Technology students would follow a syllabus that was drawn up by the City Guilds Institute, helping to prepare them for the industry.

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In the Gift Book there are mentions of donations of ingredients in February 1932 such as raspberry and strawberry jam as well as something known as “gold medal icing sugar”… must be some pretty fancy sugar!

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Speaking of gold medals, Leicester Technical School has produced Master Bakers such as L. J. Capps in 1937 with other students winning similar awards through the years until the 1970’s.

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The course ran for approximately fifty years until the Leicester College of Art and Technology became the City of Leicester Polytechnic and Baking was moved to the Charles Keene college where courses catered for 15-18 age groups.

However you choose to celebrate this day, make sure you and some hungry (brave!?) loved ones tuck into something delicious.

#Brexitday: say au revoir but not goodbye

While many of today’s newspaper articles and reports will become the archives of the future, documenting the UK’s controversial and divisive exit from the European Union, for the sake of balance, we thought we would revisit our holdings for 1973, the year Britain joined the EU. This reminds us that Britain was not always a member of the EU and therefore there is hope, that one day, we will be reunited again.













The articles in the Illustrated London News perfectly explain how the membership was not purely driven by economics but by a desire to unite Europe politically and peacefully.

Like our VC, Dominic Shellard, we hoped that #Brexitday would not become a reality, however, now it is here we have to stay positive and focus on nurturing our international relations. Since the referendum result last spring the campaign #LoveInternational to protect residency rights for international staff and students has made us proud to be a part of a university that takes action.

Today, in response to the triggering of Article 50, the VC has visited Poland to reach out to concerned students and communities to reassure us all that DMU remains an international and outward looking university.

Plaque commemorating the visit of Wojskowa Akademia Techniczna from Warsaw, Poland to De Montfort University, 18-22 April 1998.