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MUSEUM HIGHLIGHTS

museam

Welcome to "Museum Highlights", a project which is being undertaken in collaboration between the Reading Museum and the RGA.

The Reading Museum has a wealth of RGA members' work in their collections. The association between the two go back to the foundation of the RGA in 1930. However, with limited room, not everything can be on display. With kind permission from the Museum, we here take the opportunity to showcase those works exhibited by our members and celebrate the RGA's rich heritage and wonderful art. Eventually, all the works will be available as a new topic within the Museum's Online Collections.

Research is taken from "A History of the Reading Guild of Artists – 1930-1980" by EV Watson, RGA Annual Exhibition catalogues and the RGA Archives held at The Berkshire Record Office. Many thanks go to local historian Sidney Gold for his invaluable research compiled on behalf of the Reading Museum collections. The RGA is sensitive to any artists copyright in the use of these images, and have endeavoured to report accurately. If you have any further information or queries about any of these works or artists, please contact Martina at webmaster@rga-artists.org.uk

Many thanks go to the support of Elaine Blake and the team (past and present) at the Reading Museum.

 

 

Head Carved in Limestone

by Albert C. Carter (1894 - 1958)

Carved Limestone

1957

RGA member 1930 – 1958

(Vice-President 1933 – 34
President 1934 - 58 died in office)

Reading Museum Accession Number
REDMG : 1957.62.1

 

Museum Tour:

The Lilies for Oscar Wilde are now on display at the Reading Museum. Why not combine your visit with a short tour of works by past RGA members currently on display, which includes our current Museum Highlight Head Carved in Limestone by Albert C Carter. You can download the tour from here rga-museum-tour-2017.pdf or borrow a laminated copy at the Museum.

This work was simply called Head Carved in Limestone in the catalogue of the Reading Guild of Artists Twenty-Seventh Annual Exhibition, Municipal Art Gallery Reading May 4 – June 1, 1957.

One of the most long-standing Presidents of the Reading Guild of Artists was sculptor Albert Clarence Carter, in a time when the position was not limited to 5 years. A member of the RGA Council from the very first year, he became President in 1934, a position he held until his death in 1958. 'A formidable man, whose influence was to be both powerful and sustained'. Born in Lambeth, Albert was the second son of a carpenter, and at 19 was an apprentice metal engraver. He would exhibit metalwork as well as sculptures and the occasional oil painting at the RGA Annual Exhibitions. His sculptures, mainly portraits and figures, were worked in stone, marble and wood. He'd studied at Lambeth and Central Schools of Art.

In 1933 he gave an illustrated lecture 'The Meaning of Sculpture', which he begun by saying that he 'found it very difficult to reconcile so-called modern sculpture with his ideals'. Extolling the virtues of the classical approach he pointed out that 'in great historic periods the best work had been produced by civilisation that was approaching its ideal'. He was a member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors.

 

Demolision, Hosier Street

 

Demolition, Hosier Street, Reading

by Leslie E. Windsor (1905 -1991)

Collage and Watercolour

1959

RGA member 1932 - 1989

(Served on RGA Council 1951-1957)

Reading Museum Accession Number

REDMG : 1959.176.1

Leslie Ernest Windsor was one of the Reading Guild of Artists longest serving members joining in September 1932 on the strength of his woodwork, his first exhibit being a 'Radio-Gramaphone Cabinet'. He later went onto exhibiting watercolours. He served on the RGA Council 1951-1957 and continued to exhibit with his watercolours, many of local buildings and scenes, until 1989. Demolition, Hosier Street, Reading was exhibited at the Reading Guild of Artists 29th Annual Exhibition, May 2 – May 30 1959 at The Municipal Art Gallery, Reading, catalogue number 83 for 12 Guineas.

We are lucky to have Leslie Windsor's own recollections of this work: 'Walking along Hosier Street towards the town I noticed a street called 'Hope Street'. Most of the buildings in the vicinity had gone. Very old houses towards the end of Hosier Street on the left, with overhanging top rooms, were well on the way to disappearing forever. Making some quick notes I decided to come along the following day, a Sunday, and do more details, especially in colour. It seemed such a wonderful subject, especially as the 'Hope Street' sign was still in position, signifying the hope for a happy future for the area. The picture I made was a fairly large watercolour, with certain features emphasized with collage'

Part of Hosier Street still exists, but now looks very different. Running off St. Mary's Butts opposite Minster Church of St Mary the Virgin, part of this demolition site eventually became the Butts Shopping centre (now Broad Street Mall) a decade later. Hope Street was approximately where Queens Walk is today.

Wet Day Visitor

 

Wet Day Visitor

by Dr Francis A. Brodribb (1880-1962)

Oil
44 x 33.5 cm

Date about 1943

RGA member 1930 - 1962

(Served on RGA Council 1946-47)

Reading Museum Accession Number

REDMG : 1957.44.1

Francis Brodribb was probably best remembered and admired for his still life paintings in 'masterly 3-D realism'. Fellow RGA member Leslie Windsor said on visiting Brodribb at his home in Bucklebury, 'I was particularly interested in his studio where he was doing one of his attractive still life arrangements of flowers, berries, leaves and grasses. He told me that when he retired he became the oldest student at Reading University Art Department.'

Dr. Francis Arthur Brodribb MRCS LRCP, and his wife, Gladys Minola Brodribb were members of the Reading Guild of Artists since its foundation in 1930 and were described as 'pillars' of the Guild. Both were artists of note who had exhibited at leading national galleries. William Wilder (another fellow member) recollected in 1980 that Dr Brodribb's distinctive still life paintings would be remembered by older members. 'He liked to be among young people and joined the art classes at the University. I remember he was alarmed at some students eating an apple whilst using lead white paint 'highly poisonous and dangerous', he declared!'

In the catalogue of 1963 it states 'The Guild regret the loss of one of its original members and well-known artists Dr. F. A. Brodribb of the Cottage, Bucklebury, who died on 3rd August, 1962.' He exhibited every year from 1930 to 1962.

 

Work by Julia Forrester

 

Near Eastington, Gloucester

by Julia Forrester

Oil

59 x 50cm

Date Painted about 1953

RGA member 1944 - 1980
(RGA Councillor 1949-53,
RGA Secretary 1955-1968)

Reading Museum Accession Number
REDMG : 1953.48.1

Near Eastington, Gloucester by Julia Forrester was exhibited at the Reading Guild of Artists 23rd Annual Exhibition at the Municipal Art Gallery Reading, May 2nd - May 30th 1953. Julia Forrester was a member of the RGA from 1944 until her death in 1984 at the age of 89. She served the RGA Council from 1949 and in 1955 became the Guild's Secretary for the next 14 years. During this time she was heavily involved with expanding the RGA's horizons with her initiative and drive. She was a great advocate of the new Associate members, and was the instigator and organiser of group art classes know as the 'Carnegie Classes' which were held both in and outdoors, with often over 40 'students' in attendance.

Julia worked in oils with her subject matter including flowers studies, still life and landscapes. One of her works Cyclamen was described to show the influence of Cézanne, an influence that can perhaps also be seen here too.

Julia Forrester later married Noel Gallagher, who became, along with Julia's daughter, one of the first Non-practising members of the RGA in 1962, having been the Guild's auditor since the mid 1950s, a roll he continued to do until 1977.

 

Work by Gilbert Adams

 

 

The Cotswolds from Park Leys

by Gilbert Adams (1906-1996)

Oil on canvas

42 x 33cm

Date Painted 1958

RGA member 1934-1996 (Life member 1984)

Reading Museum Accession Number REDMG:1958.24.1

Acquisition method: Purchased by Reading Borough Council

 

This work was exhibited at the RGA 28th Annual Exhibition at the Museum and Art Gallery Reading 3rd May - 31st May 1958. Gilbert Adams was a long-standing and active member of the RGA from the very early days and exhibiting right up to and including 1995, the year before his death. Gilbert was part of a family of artists and photographers based in Reading. Son of Marcus Adams (internationally famous children’s photographer and artist), who was the son of Walton Adams (photographer and inventor). Marcus and his brother Christopher were also members of the RGA. Gilbert's wife Thelma Mason was also an artist and a member of the RGA.

Gilbert Adams served on the RGA Council several times over many years, chairing a social committee and even supporting RGA activities by lending his studio at 22 Market Place for drawing and painting from a model: "Being young and quite dedicated to the Guild by the time War broke out in 1939, I recollect the sense of and urgent need to keep the RGA going". He won the Marie Dyson Award in 1970 and 1987.

He wrote in 1980 on reflections about the early days of the RGA "It seemed a happy group imbued with a great desire to raise the standards of work both in its part-time and in its professional members". Words that still reflect the RGA today!


Work by Annie Bradley


 

 

A Pupil of Green Girls' School, Reading

By Annie Margaret Bradley (1863–1941)

Oil on canvas

75.5 x 86cm

Date Painted 1898

RGA member 1930-1941

Reading Museum Accession Number
REDMG : 1946.94.1

Photograph: The Reading Guild of Artists

Photograph: The Reading Guild of Artists exhibition opened at Reading Art Gallery (Museum) on Blagrave Street in Reading.

In attendance were L - R: Mr Albert C. Carter (President of the RGA) , Mrs A.T. Lloyd (Patron of the RGA), Mayor McIlroy and Miss Annie M. Bradley (Vice-President of the RGA)

This photograph was published in the Berkshire Chronicle on 12 April 1940.

Museum object number REDMG : 1980.36.A371.3

 

The painter of this work, Annie Bradley, exhibited at the very first RGA Annual Exhibition at the Municipal Art Gallery, Reading Museum, 1930. She served continuously on the RGA Council for the first eight years of the Guild's existence, was vice-president from 1939-1941, and at whose house Council Meetings were regularly held. She was a "competent and sound painter" in both oils and watercolour, many of which were portraits.

In 1935 two works were listed in the catalogue of the Annual Exhibition about which was reported in the Evening Gazette Nov 12th 1935: "Another outstanding picture among the oils is Green Girl in St Mary's Church Reading by Miss Annie M Bradley, also of Reading. I do not understand the title as perhaps I ought but I admire tremendously the calm lovely grace and rich parchment tone of the drapings. The picture has a companion Reading's Green Girl at Work and here again a lovely figure set in lovely shades".

Annie Bradley was an Art Teacher with perhaps some connection with the "The Green Girls' School?"

"At a Council Meeting held in September 1941 we read, sadly, of a posthumous vote of thanks 'to the late Miss Bradley, their host for so long … She had been in the thick of things right from the beginning.'"

In the RGA Annual Exhibition 1942 it states: catalogue number 22, Annie Bradley (The Late), The Green Girl, oil painting, no price. Probably hung in commemoration of her service to the RGA.

 

Work by Reginald Smith

 

 

Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

by Reginald Smith

Oil on canvas

78 x 58cm

Date painted: 1965

RGA member: 1966-1979

Reading Museum Accession Number
REDMG :1966.67.1

Acquisition method: Purchased by Reading Borough Council

 

 

Our first choice links well with our 87th Annual Exhibition "Hooray Henley!" and celebrates our close links with Henley-on-Thames. This work was exhibited at the RGA 36th Annual Exhibition at the Museum and Art Gallery Reading 7th May-28th May 1966.

This was the first year Reginald Smith exhibited with the RGA so we can only imagine his feelings of having one of his works bought by the Museum for their collection. A landscape painter Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire was one of 4 works he exhibited in this year, two oils and two watercolours, the others all being scenes of Kettlewell in Yorkshire.

Reg Smith was a professional artist and notable exhibitor in the 1970s. He served on the RGA Council for several years, seemingly greatly involved with the RGA's social activities, as well a designing covers for two of the Exhibition catalogues.

He exhibited for the last time in 1979, when it was later reported “the very sudden and totally unexpected passing of one of [our] most active and best loved practitioners”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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