In 1823, six years after the Royal Decree on Teekenscholen (drawing schools), Maastricht got its very own Stadsteekenschool (city drawing school). The delay may have been due to the fact that the Municipality had to foot the bill. On top of that, there was a certain amount of resistance nationwide to standardizing drawing lessons, which had previously been provided by private tutors or societies. The education covered not just the ‘fine arts’ (for senior students only) but also the ‘practical arts.’ Provided their marks were good enough, students were given a silver medal upon graduating, for which the school must apply to the government. Student numbers were quite large, some years topping 100. Most of them were children, sometimes as young as 8. The number of teaching hours and the finer details of the curriculum were somewhat vague.
One of the Board members was the highly respected master builder Mathias Soiron. The location of the first Stadsteekenschool was lost in the mists of time, so regularly was it uprooted over the years. During the 19th century, the former Augustinian church, d’n Awwestiene - on what is now Kesselskade - was the most frequently used space. Pierre Lipkens was appointed as director and drawing tutor; he had already been giving drawing lessons from his home in the city, using his own collection of plaster casts. It is this collection that formed the basis of the present-day Academische Gipsotheek Maastricht, the repository of plaster casts. In the archives for 1823, there was mention of creating a window in the roof to admit daylight into the premises housing the school, a proposal that was anathema to Soiron's successor, Hermans. The latter believed that enlarging the existing window was sufficient - a view shared by the municipal authority, which saw it as an excessively costly undertaking. Soiron himself later discovered that, besides not being level, the window had been enlarged by a mere two inches, rather than three feet.