SALLY SWIFT, PRINCESS DIANA, MISS RIDSDALE, RIDDLESWORTH HALL AND PERFECTING SCRATCH ART! Sally Swift has been known to islanders for many years as a former nursing sister, naturopath and massage therapist. What many do not know, Sally is also an excellent artist in a very elite field. And if you have met Sally, you will know she has an English accent. Whilst she has lived in Australia for many years, she remembers well where she first learned the art of ‘scratch art’. “I was a school border at a very young age. ‘My parents thought it might be a good idea to send me to boarding school from when I was seven years of age. “I remained there until my early teens,” Sally told. As it turns out, the boarding school Sally attended was a very special one. It was called Riddlesworth Hall, located in Norfolk. it was originally a girls boarding school for young ladies from early childhood to 13 years of age, and that’s how it was when Sally attended. Now to really grab your attention, we have to tell you that one of Riddlesworth most famous students was Diana Spencer, later to become Diana, Princess of Wales. Sally did not know Diana personally, as Sally attended Riddlesworth several years before Diana became a student. Anyway, it was up to the headmistress, Miss Ridsdale, who introduced Sally to ‘scratch art’. For those who know nothing about this medium, it is art that is the reverse to most other forms of art. Instead of a canvas, the art student is introduced to a black surface with a white plaster behind it. The art form involves an extremely sharp ‘scalpel’, as sharp as a surgeon’s blade. The surface is then scratched by removing the black area and leaving black areas to form images. Remember, Sally was seven when Miss Ridsdale put an extremely sharp implement into the hands of a seven year old girl! We can only imaging in some of those early artworks the colour red of blood blending with the finished image! Anyway, it seems Sally was a talent in the art form and she went onto produce many fine artworks, some of them featured on this page. In recent times, Sally has started attending ’normal’ art classes at MIAC and is enjoying the transformation. We are not surprised, with not a blade in sight!!
• Sally as a student at Riddlesworth Hall
• Lady Diana Spencer when she attended Riddlesworth Hall
• The magnificent Riddlesworth Hall.
• Sally Swift today and some examples of her ‘scratch art’.