November 22, 2011
Royal Watercolour Society Mini Picture Show – 25/11/11 to 22/01/12
We’ve written elsewhere on this site about the long and illustrious history of the Royal Watercolour Society; more than 200 years old it’s regarded as the best of contemporary British watercolour talent and it’s regular exhibitions attract large crowds and eager purchasers. We’ve already visited the Mall Galleries and the Bankside Galleries and more recently the Autumn exhibition was well worth a visit.
Just as one exhibition finishes, another one is hot on it’s heels; the Mini Picture Show begins on 25th November until the 22nd January and is marketed as something of a winter festival and an opportunity to buy a classy Christmas present. It’s call the Mini Picture Show as all the work is small scale; it will also be available to take away on the day if the mood takes you. There’s a small selection from the RWS website shown below:
Dartmoor Moods 1 - Afterglow - Peter J Morrell
One Red Flower - Jill Leman
Alan Cristea Gallery – Editions and Acquisitions – 18/11/11 to 23/12/11
Moving away from purely watercolour exhibitions, the Alan Cristea Gallery is one of London’s foremost contemporary galleries, showcasing a wide variety of talented artists in a number of different mediums. Editions and Acquisitions will be held at 31 and 34 Cork Street, Mayfair and it’s essentially the highlights of the gallery’s 2011 publishing programme. Apart from paintings in various mediums you can check out woodcuts and and a selection of other contemporary art before the end of the year.
Anthony Reynolds Gallery – Jon Thompson – 28/10/11 to 3/12/11
The Anthony Reynolds Gallery in Soho is currently hosting an exhibition of new work from Jon Thompson, well regarded London artist
Cadence and Discord
and one time tutor of Damien Hirst. Thompson was one of the driving forces behind the Britart movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s. The movement. also known as the Young British Artists (YBA), grew around graduates from the BA Fine Arts course at Goldsmiths where Thompson was head of the department of art.
This is an exhibition well worth visiting to see the latest additions to his ongoing Toronto Cycle project; the latest work is called Cadence and Discord and you can see a sample of the offerings on the right.
Annely Juda Fine Art – Kazimir Malevich & Francois Morellet – 28/10/11 to 3/12/11
Back in Mayfair the Annely Fine Art Gallery is currently hosting and exhibition of work by Kazimir Malevich and Francois Morellet. Morellet have been exhibiting here since the early 1970s. Malevich was a Polish national residing in Russia and was one of the 20th century’s first abstract artists. Among other accomplishments, the well regarded Malevich was the originator of the ‘Suprematism’ movement, a school of art based on largely geometric shapes, mostly squares and circles.
This exhibition is a display of recent work by Francois Morellet which is heavily influenced by Malevich’s suprematist movement and the man himself is fresh from a retrospective at the Pompidou Centre in Paris.
July 26, 2011
Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding, commonly called Copley Fielding was an English painter who was famous for his watercolour landscapes. In fact Fielding came from an entire family of artists but he was the most well-known.
He was born on November 22 1797 in Sowerby Bridge, near Halifax, England and at an early age he became a pupil of John Varley (see previous post entitled “John Varley – Watercolourist & Drawing Master”). He even went on to marry Varley’s sister-in-law in 1813.
In 1810 he became an associate exhibitor in the Old Watercolour Society and then three years later a full member. He went on to become the President of this Society, later known as the Royal Watercolour Society, in 1831, a position he held until his death (see previous post about the “History of Royal Watercolour Society” for more information). In 1824 he won a gold medal at the Paris Salon alongside John Constable and Richard Parkes Bonington.
Like his teacher before him, Fielding also engaged largely in teaching the art but unlike John Varley he made ample profits.
Copley Fielding’s paintings were always highly popular with purchasers as he was an artist of much elegance, taste and accomplishment. Early in his career he specialized in scenes of Wales and the Lake District, occasionally in oil colour but his preferred medium was always watercolour. He was enormously prolific and much of his later work is repetitive.
From 1817 he spent much of his time on the south coast because of his wife’s health, and turned increasingly to seascapes and marine subjects. He died in Worthing, Sussex on March 3 1855.
Today, specimens of his work from 1829 to 1850 can be seen in the water-colour gallery of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London as well as other major museums. Among the engraved specimens of his art is the ‘Annual of British Landscape Scenery’ published in 1839.
Categories: English Artists, European Artists, Watercolour Facts.
July 20, 2011
In a few of our previous posts, we have made mention to John Varley in his capacity as an art teacher and the influence he undoubtedly had on his pupils, such as David Cox and Peter De Wint, so we thought it appropriate to learn a little more about this celebrated teacher who was also an excellent watercolourist in his own right.
John Varley was born in Hackney, London on 17 August 1778. His father, Richard Varley, had settled in London after the death of his first wife. For a brief time John Varley was employed by a portrait painter and then, at the age of 15 or 16, he attended an evening drawing school twice a week in Holborn, London run by Joseph Charles Barrow. It was Barrow who took Varley on his first sketching tour to Peterborough from which he was to emerge as a professional painter.
Throughout his career he worked primarily in watercolour and was particularly skilled at the laying of flat washes of watercolour which suited the placid, contemplative mood that he often sought to evoke.
In 1798 he exhibited a highly regarded sketch of Peterborough Cathedral at the Royal Academy and became a regular exhibitor at the RA until the foundation of the Old Watercolour Society in 1805 (see previous article ‘History of the Royal Watercolour Society’).
As one of the founders of the OWS Varley exhibited many pieces there, over 700 drawings in total. In between sketching expeditions to Wales and Yorkshire, he executed topographical views of towns, particularly of half-timbered buildings in Hereford, Leominster, Conway and Chester, drawn in the picturesque idiom of the late 18th century.
As previously mentioned, he also became a highly successful drawing master with pupils including David Cox, Copley Fielding and John Linnell but despite his success he was constantly in financial difficulties.
He died in London on 17 November 1842, aged 64.
Categories: English Artists, European Artists, Watercolour Societies.
July 10, 2011
Beach at Rhyl
David Cox was one of the most important figures in British Art during the so-called ‘Golden Age of Watercolour painting’ with a reputation for his fresh, lively landscape paintings and was considered by his contemporaries to be rivalled only by Constable in his portrayal of nature’s moods and the British weather.
He was born on April 29 1782 in Birmingham, UK and he initially studied drawing with Joseph Barber and also Fieldler, a painter of miniatures. Following Fieldler’s suicide he went on to become a scenery painter at Birmingham Theatre Royal and at Astley’s Theatre in London where he moved to in 1804 and took lessons from the celebrated watercolourist John Varley. While living in London he married Mary Ragg, the daughter of his landlady and in 1808, the couple moved to Dulwich. At the same time, he abandoned scene-painting for the theatre, and took up watercolour painting for which he was to become so famous.
Whilst he exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy from 1805, his paintings never reached high prices, so he earned his living mainly as a drawing master.
By 1810 he was elected President of the Associated Artists in Water Colour and following the demise of the Associated Artists in 1812, he was elected as associate of the Society of Painters in Water Colour (the old Water Colour Society). He was elected a full Member of the Society in 1813, and exhibited there every year (except 1815 and 1817) until his death.
Between 1814 and 1827 he was based in Hereford where he taught at a girl’s school. He moved back to London in 1827, and was by this time quite well-known as a painter of landscapes. In 1826 he toured France, Holland and Belgium and, in 1829 and 1832, returned once more to France. Between 1844 and 1856 he made annual visits to North Wales where he made some of his finest watercolours. In 1841 he moved to Harborne, Birmingham where he lived and painted until his death in 1858.
David Cox also had a son of the same name who followed his calling as a watercolour painter. He was born in Dulwich and educated in Hereford. He exhibited in London from 1827, although today he is known mainly through association with his father.
Categories: European Artists, Watercolour Facts.
July 3, 2011
In our previous posts detailing the history of the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, we referred to some of the founder members of these Societies and in our next few articles, we will provide further background to some of these artists.
First up is Peter De Wint who is probably one of the most important figures in the history of the watercolour medium. His work today is still represented in major public and private collections throughout the world and is one of the most popular and sought after of all the British Romantic watercolourists.
De Wint was born on 21 January 1784 in Stone, Staffordshire and was the son of an English physician of Dutch extraction. In 1802 he was apprenticed to the engraver and portrait painter, John Raphael Smith and in 1806 in visited Lincoln for the first time where he met his future wife, Harriet Hilton as well as John Varley, the celebrated teacher and Dr Thomas Monro, who ran an informal academy for young artists. Both Varley and Munro were major influences on the development of De Wint’s style.
De Wint first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1807, and in 1809 he entered the Royal Academy schools. He was elected an Associate of the Old Watercolour Society in 1810 and was made a full member the following year. By that time, he had also built a very successful practice as a teacher and each summer would be spent teaching at the home of one of his patrons.
In 1812 he became a member of the Society of Painters in Watercolours, where he exhibited largely for many years, as well as at the Academy.
He frequently visited his wife’s home city of Lincoln, and many of his panoramic landscapes and haymaking scenes are set in Lincolnshire. He occasionally toured in Wales, and in 1828 travelled to Normandy.
He died in London on 30 January 1849.
De Wint’s life was devoted to art and he is quoted by his wife as often saying ” I do so love painting. I am never so happy as when looking at nature. Mine is a beautiful profession.”
Categories: European Artists, Watercolour Societies.
June 17, 2011
One of the key aims of the Royal Watercolour Society is to make the work of their members available to the general public and they achieve this by holding a number of exhibitions throughout the year, both solo exhibitions of individual artists but also exhibitions where all their members can display their latest work.
The two main Royal Watercolour Society exhibitions are held twice a year, in the spring and autumn at their home at the Bankside Gallery but they have two special exhibitions coming up this summer.
A Year in the Life of the Royal Albert Hall
This successful exhibition, which has been on show at the Royal Albert Hall (see our previous post dated May 1 for more details) is coming to the Bankside Gallery. ’A Year in the Life of the Royal Albert Hall’ is the culmination of a partnership between the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Albert Hall and sees the ‘coming-together’ of these two Royal institutions, where for the first time, Members of the Royal Watercolour Society have been given access to the iconic building in order to capture the events which took place at this working venue over the period of one year, from on stage performances to behind the scenes.
The exhibition takes place at the Bankside Gallery from 28th June to 3rd July 2011.
High Watermark II
After 182 years of rivalry, the Royal Watercolour Society (RWS) and the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI), who we have also previously featured on this site, will be temporarily joining forces for the second time, as they present an exhibition of paintings by both Societies’ Members under the same roof!
The biennial combined RWS/RI exhibition is rapidly becoming a must see event which showcases the best of contemporary watercolour painting by members of the two major Royal watercolour societies. The exhibition begins at Bankside Gallery and concludes at the Mall Galleries (see below for schedule of dates).
Bankside Gallery – 8th to 24th July 2011
Mall Galleries – 16th to 20th August 2011
Royal Watercolour Society Autumn Exhibition
A bit of prior notice but this year’s Autumn exhibition by the Royal Watercolour Society will take place between 7th October and 5th November 2011 where you will be able to see it’s Members latest vibrant pieces.
Categories: European Artists, Exhibitions, Watercolour Societies.
June 8, 2011
In our last post, we provided you with a brief history of the Royal Watercolour Society (RWS), and we made reference to another society calling themselves the New Society of Painters in Water Colours, who would go on to become the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI).
Like the RWS, the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours is one of the oldest societies of professional watercolour painters and both societies were started at a time when the Royal Academy was refusing to accept watercolours as a suitable medium for serious artistic expression, despite its use by many highly regarded painters.
The RI was inaugurated in 1807 as an alternative to the RWS, who only exhibited the work of its own members. From the start the RI showed the work of non-members’ alongside that of members and their exhibitions attracted some of the foremost watercolourists of the time including David Cox, Peter De Wint, William Blake, Samuel Prout, Paul Sandby and Joseph Powell. Financial problems caused them to fold in 1812 but in 1831, Joseph Powell, with several like minded artists, resurrected the New Society of Painters in Water Colours but unfortunately they decided to abandon the policy of exhibiting together both non-members and member’s work thus losing a vital component of the difference between themselves and the RWS.
In 1863 the New Society became the Institute of Painters in Water Colours and two years later a new group of watercolour painters was inaugurated, known as the Dudley, whose exhibitions were open to all-comers thereby filling the gap left when the New Society closed their doors to outsiders. In 1883 the Institute and the Dudley joined forces and this amalgamation saw a significant change in the Institute’s exhibition policy, and after many years of exhibitions limited to the work of members only, the RI once again opened their doors to all comers, a policy still followed today. It was in 1885, by command of Queen Victoria, that the Institute was able to add the prefix ‘Royal’ to its title.
Categories: European Artists, Exhibitions, Watercolour Facts, Watercolour Societies.
May 30, 2011
Bankside Gallery - Home of the 'RWS'
In one of our previous posts entitled ‘Royal Watercolour Society Exhibition – A Year in the Life of the Royal Albert Hall’ we touched on the work of the Royal Watercolour Society and we thought it would be a good idea to give you a bit more history on the world’s oldest watercolour society.
Founded in 1804, essentially the Royal Watercolour Society originated as a protest group of watercolour artists who felt they were being poorly represented by the Royal Academy and were dissatisfied by the way in which their watercolour pictures were hung disadvantageously amongst the oil paintings. Also, the Royal Academy would not elect as their president an artist who painted only in watercolour.
This renegade group of artists therefore decided to form their own society for watercolours only and hence the Watercolour Society was born.
Another society calling itself the ‘New Society of Painters in Miniature and Watercolour’ was set up a couple of years later, and from this time the original group was called the ‘Old’ Watercolour Society, however later on they were given permission by Queen Victoria to use ‘Royal’ in their title, hence the name today ‘The Royal Watercolour Society’.
Founder members included John Varley, Joshua Cristall and George Barratt who were painters of landscape mostly in the Old Master tradition. Within a few years, David Cox, Peter de Wint and Copley Fielding joined the Society, bringing much needed vitality. As time went on artists such as William Hunt, Miles Birkett Foster, JF Lewis and Samuel Palmer also became members, and the society flourished. There was no coherent ‘RWS style’ and it was not a school of painting in the sense of the French or Italian schools.
Instead it was simply a society that many of the finest painters in watercolour of the time wanted to join, whose only relation to each other artistically was the fact that they had elected each other to membership. This tradition of electing members remains in place today and new members are elected by the current Membership of the Society based on the quality of their work alone.
Categories: European Artists, Exhibitions, Watercolour Facts, Watercolour Societies.
May 1, 2011
The Royal Watercolour Society represents the finest watercolour painting in Britain. Established in 1804, it is the oldest watercolour society in the world, and is second only to the Royal Academy of Art in it’s importance as an art society.
The Society has defined a watercolour to mean “a painting in a water-based medium on a paper-based support”. This allows the work by the Members, who are all elected by their peers, to embrace both established and experimental practices and the Royal Watercolour Society exhibitions reflect these different approaches. These exhibitions are held twice a year, in the spring and autumn, at their home in the Bankside Gallery but they also hold special exhibitions throughout the year, one of which is currently on at the moment in the Royal Albert Hall.
Royal Albert Hall - Winter
“A Year in the Life of the Royal Albert Hall” is the culmination of a year-long partnership between the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Albert Hall, where for the first time, Members of the Royal Watercolour Society have been allowed full access to the Royal Albert Hall and have been working backstage and behind the scenes to capture the many events that take place there. The result is a collection of large watercolours which are currently being exhibited along the ground floor corridor and tell the fascinating story of a year in the life of the Hall, from it’s various performances and audiences, to it’s staff, restaurants, and even the boiler room!
The exhibition is taking place from 23rd April to 7th June 2011 and can be viewed either when attending a performance at the Hall or by visiting on one of the following free open days, when Society Members will be available to discuss their work and their experience of painting at the Royal Albert Hall.
Saturday 23rd April, 11am – 3pm
Sunday 15th May, 11am – 3pm
Saturday 21st May, 11am – 3pm
Categories: European Artists, Exhibitions, Watercolour Facts.