OM Focus: Katyuli Lloyd (MO 1998-03)

Katyuli Lloyd (MO 1998-03) returned to Marlborough in September as Artist-in-Residence, and she will be working with pupils across all year-groups throughout the 2020/21 academic year.

Katyuli is an artist, illustrator and designer. Following five years here at Marlborough, she read Russian and Modern Greek at Clare College, Cambridge (2004-8). From 2014-2016, she completed an MA in Children’s Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art. Katyuli’s illustrations for Virginia Woolf’s novel ‘Flush’ (1933) were short-listed for both the V&A Illustration Awards 2016 as well as the World Illustration Awards 2016. In 2017, Katyuli produced new book cover designs and internal illustrations for The Folio Society’s editions of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s Mani (1958) and Roumeli (1966). She has sold her designs throughout the UK and Greece, including at The British Museum, Tate St. Ives, The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, and the Benaki Museum in Athens.

How did the opportunity of returning to College arise?

Well, I first met Edward Twohig, the Head of Art, about two years ago, when I came to speak at a Speed Careers Talk for the Hundred. He’d seen my illustrations for ‘Flush’ by Virginia Woolf and we met up and chatted just before the event. We kept in touch and I came to give a talk as part of the Visual Arts Week in Spring 2019. I think the idea of Artist-in-Residence came up soon after that. I have to confess, the opportunity of having Edward, who is an incredible draughtsman and printmaker, as a mentor of sorts here, was a huge incentive.

How have your first few weeks been?

They’ve been wonderful! I have tried to refrain from using the adjective ‘nice’, but it has been just that. I lived in Marlborough (my father joined as Head of Classics in 1991) since I was about five years old until just after I finished Cambridge. So, coupled with my years studying here, returning after 17 years (including over a decade in London) really does feel like coming back home to a family. It’s been great to see so many familiar faces – and to see people remember me! It’s the perfect thing for me at this stage in my life and career. Also, although I was very keen to, I never studied Art A level. So I feel like I’m finally doing it!

Who inspired you during your days as a pupil in the Art Department?

The person I remember most from the Art Department is Niall Hamilton, who still works for the school. He taught me in my Shell year. I remember his positive, bursting enthusiasm as he whisked around the art school and engaged with pupils. He was totally focused and absorbed in art and thinking about art. That was a great thing to see. And I know so many pupils around College looked up to him for that energy and commitment.

As I take art scholars for sessions now, I have to remind myself to get the balance between drilling them in tonal drawing, as well as simply communicating my love of art.

As an OM, how do you think your time at Marlborough can benefit you as Artist-in-Residence?

Well, I think knowing my way around the place has helped me hit the ground running. I’ve spent my first few weeks trying to gain access to interesting high-points (The Mound, St Peter’s Church, the Portico of C1) where I can get interesting perspectives down onto College. Knowing the place and where I want to go, and then also knowing the people and having a rapport with them – in some cases for some 28 years(!) – has helped me get this done quickly.

I think I also appreciate what the average Marlburian has to go through. It was full on when I was here – happily the pace and the breadth of activities and opportunities available hasn’t diminished. Hopefully if pupils know I’m an OM they won’t be hesitant to chat or ask for help.

What are your aims for the year?

I had about three projects in mind which I proposed to Edward before I started. One of them is to complete a series of pen and ink line drawings of the College. This is in a way a continuation of my postcards of Greece series which I have been working on over the last few years and which you can see on my website.

The second is to do a series of portraits of a cross section of the college. I’m ambitiously aiming for around 100 portraits in different media by the end of the year. Initially I had thought it might be cool, for want of a better word (I am reverting to an A level pupil), to paint portraits of the Sixth Form leavers. But then I thought why not include teachers, and from that grew the idea to include a cross-section of the entire school, including gardeners, caterers and maintenance. They are the unsung heroes who keep the show on the road at the College. We’ve all just had a pretty disruptive and sometimes fairly gruelling last six months of lockdown and we are craving human company. Therefore this portrait project is a homage to what we’ve been missing and hopefully something different and fun for individuals, and it can also be for posterity. As well as being a great excuse for me to practice my portraiture!

And if I have any time left, I’d love to work on a textiles project. I was at Morris House during my time here, and William Morris, who had been a pupil here, is a designer I look up to enormously. I would love to complete some repeat pattern designs inspired by the same countryside and nature which inspired him.

Katyuli Lloyd – Website


Katyuli Lloyd – Instagram