4 The end of an era -
The School of Art had lost its independent status in 1959 when it became part of the Ipswich Civic College and shortly after lost its status as an undergraduate painting and sculpture school. Local government reorganisation in 1974 caused the Civic College to change its title to the Suffolk College when the County Council assumed control and the School of Art became the Department of Art and Design.
The Centenary of the Club was celebrated in 1974 with a Dinner held in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall. The President of the Royal Academy, Sir Thomas Monnington, was guest speaker. Sadly, the Club's President, gifted artist Edward Seago, died before the event took place and Wallace Morphy was elected to serve as the next President. It fell to him to host the Anniversary Dinner, which he did with some distinction.
Ipswich's Corn Exchange, formerly a provision market, had been refurbished and was reopened as an exhibition and concert complex by the Duke of Gloucester in 1975. The inaugural exhibition in the new Robert Cross Hall was the Club's Centenary Exhibition and in subsequent years this has become the regular venue for the Society's annual shows.
In 1979 there was an exhibition at Christchurch Mansion to celebrate Leonard Squirell's 86th birthday. Although widely travelled in Britain and Europe, he spent much of his life in his home town of Ipswich where he was a revered teacher at the School of Art. He exhibited for sixty years at the Royal Academy and for sixty five years with the Ipswich Art Club. Working in a variety of media, this prolific and meticulous topographical artist gained a genuinely popular reputation both internationally and among a numerous East Anglian following. Troubled by a persistent stammer, he avoided carefully all gatherings and functions. However, deeply moved by his reception at the opening of his exhibition in a Wolsey Gallery packed with admirers, he found himself rising to his feet and, to his astonishment, successfully delivering an impromptu speech.