RICHMOND ART SOCIETY – A BRIEF HISTORY

The Richmond Art Society, although not under quite the same name, is now over sixty years old. It started life in the late 1940’s as the Richmond Art Group and met in the old Richmond Art School, among whose pupils had been John Piper. By the mid-fifties it was having an annual exhibition, lectures and art discussions, and for a long time – from the mid-fifties to the mid-eighties – there was an open-air Summer Exhibition on the Terrace at the top of Richmond Hill.

The Society now holds two exhibitions every year – the early Summer one in the Landmark Arts Centre in Teddington and the late Autumn one in the Vestry House in central Richmond. Well known figures opening past shows have included MPs Susan Kramer, Zac Goldsmith and Vince Cable, actress Rosemary Leach, writers Michael Frayn and Claire Tomalin, and artists Ken Howard RA and Jason Bowyer PNEAC. Also every Winter season from September through to March the Society runs a series of remarkable lectures, slide shows and demonstrations by renowned artists and experts.

One of the aims of the Society is to bring together those living in and around Richmond who are interested in the visual arts, and it numbers nearly 100 working artists among its members and many more enthusiasts and experts. In all there are currently some 220 members. Since 2006 distinguished artist Ken Paine has been President. Jim Woodman is Vice-President and Angela Kilenyi is Chairman of the Society.

During 2012 the Society played a major role in celebrating the 35 years Richmond has been twinned with Fontainebleau, the historic chateau town near Paris. French artists visited and joined in showing their works at the Society’s Landmark Summer exhibition, and then in exchange Richmond artists showed their pictures in a beautiful exhibition in Fontainebleau in September.

The Society’s shows typically include over a hundred works on the walls, plus sculptures and ceramics. One can expect to see oils, watercolours, acrylics, mixed media, collages, drawings, pastels and prints, and among the prints themselves there will be etchings, drypoint, screenprints and monoprints. And in addition there are likely to be another hundred artworks in the ‘browser’ display stands. All the works are for sale and prices are very reasonable, but there is no pressure and visitors are very much encouraged just to come and enjoy the displays. And also perhaps to discover many good reasons why they might like to join the Society. Anyone interested in the flourishing state of the visual arts in Richmond today should visit the Society’s website: www.richmondartsociety.com.

Since the 1980’s the Society has also joined in the annual Richmond May Fair, along with the artsrichmond organisation and other local societies. Here many hundreds of unframed works are shown in the Art Marquee, all at affordable prices.