Mathilde Sprovin - The Drawing school in Christiania (Oslo) and the missing architecture students: An insight into the world of the archives

The Drawing school in Christiania was grounded in 1818. For the founders and the teachers at the school the intension was to create a Norwegian art academy. The school never achieved this status, but in the 19th century the Drawing school was the only public offer for education of trades men, artists and architects in Norway.

The architecture students at the Drawing school are the topic of my thesis, and the project will investigate the architecture tutorial, the schools position in the Norwegian public, and its significance for Norwegian architecture in the century. In the search for the education of the architecture students at the school I have formed some research questions: Who were the students? Who were their teachers? In which classes were the architecture students trained? How was the training organized?

A part of my work is to trace the architecture students in the archive material preserved by the school, in the more general historiography and architects biography. But the archive material is extensive, and in my work and search of answers I have to find a way of dealing with the material, a strategy that increases the chances of finding relevant information, and don´t get lost in details which are beyond the scope of my project.

My presentation addresses the complexity of working with literature and primary sources as the schools archive and archives by the ministry of education. This work constitutes the core of my ongoing research into the history of the Drawing school of Christiania.