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A snapshot of 1970

In this year at Warwick:

  • Work began on the Arts Centre, with the first phase including a theatre, studio theatre, music centre, bookshop and conference room.
  • New proposals were put forward for departments in Theatre Studies, Latin and Classical Studies, Psychology, Applied Social Studies and Statistics.
  • The Queen paid a formal visit to campus.
  • The Arts Building, now known as Humanities building, was built.

Diane Ibbotson was a student at the Royal Academy Schools in London. This painting formed part of her degree show – the painting equivalent of a MA thesis – and was bought directly from the Royal Academy Schools exhibition in 1970.

The work on the easel operates both as reflected image and image. It shows us the artist in her “best dress”, made by her mother. We, the viewers, are positioned in the artist’s studio space in the Royal Academy, looking out at the room beyond. In effect, we are standing where the artist is. This is a remarkably sophisticated exploration of pictorial space – of an optical illusion on a flat surface – by an artist who was still only a 24 year old student at the time.

And in the world:

  • The Boeing 747 jumbo jet made its first commercial flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport to London Heathrow Airport.
  • Paul McCartney filed suit for the dissolution of the Beatles' contractual partnership. However, the dissolution was not formalized until December 1974.
  • The 1970 United States Census began. There were 203,392,031 United States residents on this day.
  • The Conservative Party won the UK general election, and Edward Heath became Prime Minister. This was a shock result, as many opinion polls had predicted a Labour win.
  • The first New York City Marathon began.
  • Tonga and Fiji gained independence from Britain.


The Queen's visit in 1970. Pictured here with the President and Vice-President of the Students' Union.


Diane Ibbotson | Self Portrait in Best Dress | 1970 | Oil on canvas | 1398 x 1397 mm