An art degree at 96

Wild nature

If any of you are ruling yourself out for a new career on the basis of age, then think again.

Two years ago at the age of 94, Archie White, who lives in Strand Quay, joined a degree course (BA in fine arts) at Hastings College and expects to start his third year in late September 2020. He has just finished writing a 5,000 word essay, ‘Art Versus Beauty’ for his third year.

Archie White

During the summer, when allowed, he drove to Norfolk for a three day art course (and hopes to drive to St Ives depending on Covid-19 to complete another three day course). He is working towards a 2:1 which will allow him to apply for a masters at Plymouth University. His drive, passion and intellect has to be admired and should encourage anyone younger that it is never too late to do something not yet achieved.

Archie, at 96 says he is open for any new art form and while initially he worked with watercolour, the course has encouraged him to use oils and combine abstract with figurative images. He says: “Covid restrictions have not diminished my energy and I continue to use my time to paint and write each day”.

Life before art

Whilst always interested in art – his uncle was a water colourist and his sister a stage and dress designer after leaving art school – Archie took a different direction and opted for law, becoming a barrister in 1956 and a solicitor in 1967.  He retired two years ago at the age of 94 and was then doing some work with Heringtons.

In his early life he preferred Devon to living in London but eventually moved to Tenterden. After some time though, his wife was not well and they both wanted to live in a more convenient community and moved to Rye. Sadly his wife died in 2012. He wondered how to fill his time beside working and engaged tentatively in his art career, starting to paint for pleasure.

Now a local and late blooming artist, Archie has had a full life and under the town radar he is a formidable model to combat ageism in society.

Image Credits: Heidi Foster .


  1. Mr White – what an inspiration and such lovely artwork too! Makes you realise that at any age if you have always been thinking of doing something then ‘you should just do it!’ Wishing you good luck in the 3rd year of your degree!


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