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Annual Review 2017 – 2018


As you may have noticed the RGA Annual Review for 2017 hadn't yet materialised. The decision had been made to move the publication of the Annual Review from Christmas, an already busy time of year, to coincide it with the "RGA Council Year" 2017 – 2018 and produce it for the AGM 2018, in a natural time to review the previous year's happenings. However, it has been such a busy year for our volunteers, with additional events at Reading Museum, a new gallery for the town, as well as business matters such as the change to a CIO charity, that the articles for the Annual Review 2017 didn’t make it to print.

Therefore, those articles which were destined for the Annual Review 2017, we are bringing to you on our website.

We apologise, for we are aware that many of you enjoy receiving the printed version through the post. Many thanks to all those who provided articles, and we hope you all enjoy reading them.

RGA Council

Download the PDF if you’d like to print off a copy: rga-annual-review-2017-2018.pdf (1.2 MB)


The Unique Role of the Reading Guild of Artists
by Clive Duncan


Clive Duncan adressing visitors at the
87th Annual Exhibition


We are in an era of instantaneous visual communication. Advertising, television, film, magazines are all part of a plethora which bombards our senses. Persuasion, imprinting, overt and covert visual information whether sought or unwanted, so what makes art so special.

If we look at the RGA's involvement with the public over 2017, we see that the year was filled with exhibitions, pop up shows, workshops, educational demonstrations and participation in projects such as the Oscar Wilde flower memorial.

The RGA exhibited members work in Henley, Reading University, Reading Museum and Art Gallery, links with hospitals and HolyBrook Gallery. In all cases, it brought the public face to face with the work of the RGA.

The only thing which is instantaneous in the production of art is the impact that it has on the observer when art confronts the spectator for the first time.

The production of art may well be spontaneous but more often it is a time-based process. Art is a visual synthesis through the eyes and aesthetic judgements of the individual artist, what we see in a combined show of the RGA, is a visual archive. Such shows and exhibitions demonstrate the unique role of the Guild, an unbroken visual tradition of recognition, discovery, mystery and surprise.

Clive Duncan, RGA President


View from the Chair
by Anthony Wilder

The Chair’s report was delivered at the AGM in April 2018. Most members will have seen it then but if you didn’t here it is again with an update added at the end in italics.

Anthony with jounalist and camera crew from That's Thames Valley TV  

Reviewing work at an RGA Friday


The Chair is bowled over by paper
lilies made by visitors to The Big Draw

Chair’s AGM Report 2017 - 2018

I ended my report last year by saying that for RGA at least these are challenging but exciting times. That turned out to be more prophetic than I could have imagined. 2017-2018 has brought great opportunities for RGA which we have grasped with both hands and we have earned ourselves a huge amount of credit in the community. But there have been challenges too.

On the exhibitions front, first up after last year’s AGM was our Summer Show at the University. An exciting and wide range of work was on show, accompanied by more ground breaking workshops building on last years experience. However a severe setback occurred when we were told that sales would not be possible at future events of this sort and that this was not negotiable. However, Martin Andrews and I did negotiate on behalf of RGA and with goodwill on both sides a way forward has been found, although at the time of writing there are still some issues to be resolved. Watch this space-it has been quite a journey!

Next up was our Royal Berkshire Hospital exhibition which again brought light and colour to those long corridors at a dark time of year. A change of management at the hospital meant that the future of this exhibition was also in doubt, but thanks to Hilary’s efforts we will be able to go ahead for one more year at least.

Meanwhile other opportunities have arisen. A celebration of the life of Oscar Wilde led to a wonderful collaboration between many artistic groups in Reading including RGA. Supported by Haslam’s and the Museum, a fantastic collection of Lilies (Oscar's favourite flower) was created. Therese and our publicity team were in the lead in bringing this to the attention of the wider public.

At about the same time another very successful collaboration between ourselves and the Museum brought RGA back into the Big Draw business after an absence of a year or two. Partly as a result of these two very successful activities, we were just drawing breath after the RBH exhibition had come down, and looking forward to a well-earned rest over Christmas, when Elaine Blake contacted us to see if we could organise a Pop-Up exhibition with related activities for the February half term week in the Madejski Gallery at the Museum. We gulped, said yes and threw ourselves into it. The result was a vibrantly successful exhibition, with related workshops and activities, many of them family oriented, it being half term. An amazing footfall was achieved (1200 on one day, 800 on others) and even the sales (possibly not the main focus) exceeded those from the slam sale the previous year. Longstanding RGA members commented that it felt like coming home.

Another exciting opportunity came our way when Jenny Halstead invited us to provide the first exhibition to be held in the new HolyBrook Gallery in the Library in the centre of town. This is a very welcome development and we were honoured to be part of it. It meant that a small number of works from our Annual Exhibition in Henley found their way into this new gallery in the middle of Reading. The Annual Exhibition itself, entitled ‘..and the waters flowing by…’ was well received by the people present on the opening day in spite of the snowy weather.

RGA has produced many vibrant exhibitions with titles in the past but themed exhibitions like this have always had pros and cons. This approach can make it difficult to represent the range of work produced by a growing membership and the Council feels it is time to move on. Feedback from the membership would tend to support this view.

Earley Painters and RGA Fridays have continued to provide a lively programme of activities for members and friends and the Summer Painting Days had a very successful season too. None of this would happen without a lot of careful thought and hard work from Carole Pembrooke, Jean, Hilary, Clare, Karen and Nina. Thank you all.
While on the subject of thankyous, now would be a good time to thank those officers and councillors who are standing down this time, Peg as Secretary and Therese as our Publicity Officer are not able to stand again this year and Nina, Richard and Sue have had to stand down for personal reasons. Emily, Helen and Sam are also leaving the Council as they have reached the end of their three year terms. I am very grateful to all of them for their hard work and advice. We welcome Shelagh Casebourne as our new secretary and Mick McNicholas and Paul Woolley as councillors, all of whom will be standing for election this time. And we are very grateful to Karen Spencer for continuing to be a co-opted councillor.

I mentioned last year that one of our aims has been to build bridges between RGA and other organisations such as the University and the Museum. This has been hugely successful with the Museum, but we also thought it would be good to find ways of working with commerce in the town. As a result of our heightened profile, commerce has approached us! John Lewis asked if we could provide artists to produce artwork in their store and talk to the public during their Easter Extravaganza. Eight of our members took up the offer, two per day for four days. It was a great opportunity both for RGA and John Lewis. Also, Thames Water approached us to see if anyone could produce a large sculpture for their courtyard on the theme of recycling and caring for the environment and the Borough Council were looking for someone to produce a mural. At the time of writing it is too soon to know what the results of these initiatives will be, but it is all symptomatic of a new approach to Art in the Community.

At the start of this piece, I said that progress had been accompanied by challenges. The Pop-Up in particular took its toll and I think it’s fair to say that the Council in particular were exhausted by the end of it.
I am looking forward to welcoming the new team and working with them to fulfil all this fantastic potential.

Since then the exhibition at the University went ahead although not without last minute emails flying backwards and forwards right up to the night before opening! In the event, it was a great success and the Vice Chancellor, Sir David Bell was very enthusiastic and delivered an excellent speech to open it. The exhibition was able to go ahead in part because RGA’s new structure as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation came into force just in time. It’s registration with the Charity Commission is ongoing. After that, the Council enjoyed a well-earned break…apart from those involved in producing the Review…Congratulations all!

Anthony Wilder
RGA Chair



Exhibitions and Events 2017

As reviewed on our Past Exhibtions and Events page of the RGA website, here we take another look at what was a busy year...

Slam Sale Poster



Art in the Dark Months - Reading Museum
Slam Sale and Family Event

Sat 11th February 2017

In conjunction with the Reading Museum's Art in the Dark Months season and Ray Atkins: The Reading Years exhibition.

Great to see so many visitors to our Slam Sale, with works by RGA members, available for sale at affordable prices and family art activities and RGA members at work, it was a fantastic day.

A big "thank you" to all the RGA Members who came along, either by bringing work for sale or simply coming to support, assist and socialise!

And an extra special thank you to the Reading Museum and their staff for being helpful. 25% of our sales were donated to support the important work of the Museum.



Slam Sale Slam Sale Slam Sale



Poster for Henley Hooray!

The 87th Annual Exhibition

"Hooray Henley!"

Sat 18th – Tue 28th March 2017

The Old Fire Station Gallery
66 Market Place
Henley-on-Thames, RG9 2AG

The Old Fire Station has been hosting the Reading Guild of Artists' Annual Exhibition for well over 10 years and this year's title Hooray Henley! was a tribute to the town. A selection of of works was be based on those things for which Henley is famous: the river and locality, well-known characters, Henley's festivals, local history, industry or architecture and more...



Hooray Henley Exhibition Hooray Henley Exhibtion Hooray Henley Exhibition

Hooray Henley Exhibtion Hooray Henley Exhibtion Hooray Henley Exhibtion

Martin Andrews, RGA member and former President, was the Assessor for this year's Marie Dyson Award. Martin praised the amount of vibrancy and colour that the Henley theme had inspired in the members, and how difficult it had been to pick a winner. So, he surprised himself when he chose joint winners, which are both monochrome works. A Sense of Spring, a delicate oil painting by Liz Baldin (above left), and “Morlais Castle" - The Last Days of Steam, Henley-on-Thames a lithograph by Martina Hildebrandt (above right). Martin Andrews, a printmaker himself, enjoyed the fact that a fun and quirky printing technique had been used, which Martina later told him was inspired by an RGA Friday workshop. (See article "A Tale from an RGA Friday").

RGA Chair, Anthony Wilder, concluded with a special big thank you to Carole Stephens, with this her last outing as Exhibition Secretary. After seven years and numerous exhibitions, Carole steped down at the AGM 2017, but happily will still remain a part of the RGA Council. We all thank her for this fantastic Exhibition and for making it all happen.

Hooray Henley Exhibtion Hooray Henley Exhibition


  Carole Stephens' last outing as Exhibtion Secretary after 7 years




Summer Show flyer



RGA Summer Show 2017

Art Building L04
The Institute of Education
University of Reading
London Road Campus

Thu 15th – Sun 25th June 2017

As well as an extensive exhibition at the RGA's 4th Summer Show there were a selection of workshops taking place including "Exploring Mixed Media" with Helen Lunn and "Monoprint" with Robert Fitzmaurice, plus a variety of opportunities to use the Print Studio on the site.

Also on display were works by the final year BA Ed Art students and an exhibition by Artist Duncan Swann whose work was displayed thanks to the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism at the University.





Summer Show Workshop Summer Show Workshop Summer Show Workshop

Summer Show Workshop Summer Show Workshop Summer Show Workshop

Summer Show Workshop Summer Show Workshop Summer Show Workshop


  Printing and mixed media workshops at the Summer Show 2017




Special Workshop held as part of our Summer Show 2017

It was with great pleasure that we could welcome back members of the “Young People with Dementia” charity to a textile workshop at the Summer Show lead by textile artist Rachel Knight (RGA member Sam Knight's Mother!). Young People with Dementia is a charity in Wokingham working with people who have had a diagnosis of dementia below the age of 65. Working with the help of their carers, who are often their spouses, the group stitched pre-cut colourful felt shapes together to make a pretty design which we framed before they took them home with them.

Summer Show Workshop Summer Show Workshop Summer Show Workshop

Big Drawer 2017



Oscar Wilde BIG Drawmuseam
with the RGA at
the Reading Museum

Mon 23 October 2017

We celebrated Oscar Wilde at the The Critic as Artist exhibition, Reading Museum. RGA members were on hand to help visitors adorn the Museum with Oscar’s favourite flowers and draw the works of art on display.



Big Draw 2017 Big Draw 2017 Big Draw 2017




24th Royal Berkshire Hospital
Corridor Exhibition

6 Nov to 16 Dec 2017

Our annual corridor art exhibition of paintings, drawings and original prints had lots of lovely present ideas for the Festive Season.

25% of proceeds went to the Hospital Art and Garden Fund.


RBH Corridor RBH Corridor RBH Corridor

RBH hand-in RBH hand-in RBH hand-in


  Volunteers busy at the RBH. Mick, Linda, Jane, Karen and Lou.






Regular Workshops

A Tale from an RGA Friday
by Martina Hildebrandt

If the idea of going out on a dark Friday night to an RGA Friday doesn't exactly appeal, you are not alone, but make the effort and you'd be surprised what it can lead to.

One of the main reasons I joined the RGA was because of the workshops. Every two weeks during the winter there is something else to try out, be it from experimental drawing, collage, set displays to work from, life drawing or an unusual printing technique. And it was just such a session 'Kitchen Sink Lithography with Karen Carter' that ended up with a big surprise. Traditional lithography isn't the most accessible print making technique but one I'd always wanted to know more about. This session used tin foil and cola to create a printing plate based on lithography methods. The session was a popular one, and everyone was busy experimenting with the aroma of cheap cola and oil paint in the air. As is often the case when you get home, exhausted from the week's work, but buzzing to do something creative, I continued to experiment over the following weeks. This workshop coincided with the Annual Exhibition with its Henley-on-Thames theme. I'd already started preparing for a lino cut based on the last steam locomotive to leave Henley Station in the 1960s. I thought the image might be usable if tried with this new technique. So with my marker pens and tin foil, cola and oil paints I played around and was quite pleased with the result, something different I hoped for the Annual Exhibition.

Morlais Castle

"Morlais Castle" - The Last Days of Steam,


The hand-in and hanging of the exhibition arrived and my time was then spent producing the catalogue and keeping the website updated with images, so by the time the Private View came along my last task was to put up the signs marking the winners and commended work for the Marie Dyson Award, and getting the information ready to put on the website once announced. I didn't twig that Carole, with her last outing as Exhibition Secretary, was keeping something from me!

Well it seems my work inspired by an RGA Friday workshop tickled the assessor, Martin Andrews (who enjoys an unusual printing technique), and I was announced as joint winner of the Marie Dyson Award along with Liz Baldin for her work A Sense of Spring!

So give something new a try, come along to our workshops, and who knows... you too may have a wonderful surprise.




RGA Earley Painters

Reading's crumbling roads inspire Guild’s artists. Some of the interpretations of the subject "Street Scene" which involved looking at the varied surfaces, markings and ironworks found on roads and pavements.

The mysteries of the underworld. Looking at the undersides of natural and man made objects in the session "Looking beneath".

These pieces were all produced in the two and a half hour sessions and may not necessarily be complete.


RGA Summer Painting Days 2017

Our first Summer Painting Day of 2017 was at the university's lovely Harris garden and was enjoyed by 11 RGA artists, who all said it was a great success. There were lovely seas of blue and amazing avenues of stunning lime green euphorbias and Nina caught the last of the cherry blossom.

Harris garden Harris garden

Dinton Pastures Shiplake

The Summer Painting Days have been making the most of our hot summer weather as you can see from these photos from our day out at Dinton Pastures, with artists managing to find some shady spots. Not only were the glorious surroundings an inspiration for painting and sketching, some also found fellow artists as inspiration!

The Summer Painting Day at Shiplake church was a real success with the largest turnout so far, 14 painters loaded with equipment, lunch and creative intent.

Shiplake Shiplake Shiplake Dinton Pastures

There was a lovely atmosphere in the group as we settled in chosen places around the church or down the steep slope to the riverside and boat houses. The weather stayed good but providing a challenge with fast changing clouds and shadows on the water, not to mention boats and water fowl and the ever present need to decide whether to change your picture and suddenly insert a boat... or not.

We had a get together at 3.30 to view and admire the group output, it was noticed how very individual each person's work was.

Mapledurham Mapledurham Mapledurham

Summer deserted us for the last of the Summer Painting Days at Mappledurham, but a few hardy souls braved the raindrops and produced some lovely works. The venue was stunning, and the staff friendly and welcoming. It rained persistently so when we got too damp we retreated to the tearoom to enjoy excellent cakes and convivial company - so altogether a lovely afternoon.


News from the Council

Upgrade 2017
by Carole Pembrooke

A record number of people applied and a total of 19 Upgraded in 2017. While the Upgrade Team recognize that for applicants this can be nerve-wracking, the Team have the privilege of seeing finished art works and an amazing collection of sketch books. The standard of work submitted was high and will further enhance future exhibitions.

Congratulations were sent in February to Elinor Cooper, Carole Elleman, Paul Manning, Adeliza Mole, Rebecca Ratnasamy and Karen Spencer. In May - Janina Maher, Zoran Matic, Christine Morgan and Mike Simmons. In October - Sadie Brockbank, Liz Chaderton, Philip Davies, Bass Ela, Linda Graves, Vibha Kapur, Caroline Streatfield, Sally Taylor and Heather Young.

I would also like to thank all of those RGA Council Members who gave freely of their time to assist in forming the Upgrade panel.


rgartevents.uk - members events 
by Linda Saul

Following a year-long trial period the rgartevents.uk website has been given the green light by council. This website lists members’ events such exhibitions and art trails, has been very well received and has listed more than 100 events since it’s inception.
That we could contemplate having a secondary specialist website like this is down to the fabulous job that Martina Hildebrandt does on the main website.
Exhibiting members can list events where they are showing their work. It doesn’t matter if the event is local or further afield or even on another continent. You might be participating in one of the art trails, opening your studio or have a work selected for a juried exhibition. We want to list it. Please send details including at least one image of a piece of your work to me at info@rgartevents.uk. Once an event is added it can be changed later, to get the best out of a listing the earlier it is on the website the better.
Workshops tutored by RGA members can also be listed and there is a section for artists who want to offer studio visits by appointment to the public. Please let me know if you are interested in participating in this.




Farewells – Obituaries


Robert Stoddart
by Anthony Wilder

Sadly in August 2017 the RGA had the news that former RGA Chairman Robert Stoddart passed away.

He was a very fine watercolourist and a stalwart member of RGA (a member since 1997, he was also vice-chair 2004-2007). I personally thoroughly enjoyed working with him and valued his sound judgement when he was Chairman and I was Secretary.

We will miss him.



Rita Howe
by Jenny Halstead

After suffering very poor health for the last few years, Rita Howe died on 6 January 2018. Always a stoic fighter, she got on as best she could by concentrating on oil painting, having been obliged to switch from her beloved pastels because of the chalk dust.

She was born in Woodley to a family of six and her eldest sister Jean (Aust) is also a painter. After marrying, Rita moved on a number of occasions, but always to somewhere with a challenging garden. She maintained her love of gardening almost to the very end with the help of an electric scooter.

I first met her some twenty years ago while she was exhibiting at a gallery in Wargrave, and we became close friends. I was in the process of moving back into painting after a career in medical illustration. We soon put together a programme of painting days inside and en plein air as well as gallery visits. We explored oil, acrylic, mixed media and print-making and in 2002 had a joint exhibition in a friend’s barn in Sonning-on-Thames. We both applied for RGA membership and became full Members the same evening. We used to work together at least once a week both inside and out, always finishing with a tough crit! We tried to set ourselves a challenge at each session, with lots of laughter followed by a glass of wine at the end of a successful (or even an unsuccessful!) day.

It was Rita who first introduced me to pastels, one of the many things for which I will always be grateful. I will always remember her helpful practical advice, her mischievous sense of humour and all the fun we had together.

She leaves behind her son James, her daughter Wendy and her granddaughter Jess.


Ruth Farrelly

A member since 1973, Ruth studied at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, Holborn and then trained as a teacher, and for many years taught adult education classes in Berkshire. She studied printmaking at South Hill Park, and also in France for two years. Jean Aust says, "She was the most instinctive artist for line, composition and colour that I have ever had the pleasure of working alongside. Ruth was a real asset to the RGA by regularly offering her professional creations for exhibition and for the years she spent on RGA Council." Until recently she was also a keen participant in our Earley Painters sessions. Sadly Ruth passed away just days before the Museum Pop-up in February 2018 where one of her lino cuts, Being Modified II was being exhibited. It is now currently on display in the Sir John Madejski Art Gallery, Reading Museum as part of the "Patrons and Donors: Reading's Art And How it Got Here". Ruth was in her centenary year.




Exhibitions and Events 2018 - the story so far... 'til April

Pop-up poster




RGA Pop-Up at Reading Museum
Sir John Madejski Art Gallery

The RGA enjoyed a fabulous week in the Art Gallery Reading Museum. Sat 10th – Sat 17th February 2018.

As well as a Pop-Up Exhibition of RGA members' work, with paintings, prints, books, cards and more for sale, we had lots of art activities from weaving and print making, glueing and sticking, to colouring in for all the family during this half-term week. With a bit of a Medieval theme, in support of the Reading Museum as it launches the new Reading Abbey Gallery, the RGA felt very at home returning to where it all began in 1930.

So it was fitting that we took a step back in time when RGA Chairman Anthony Wilder and Life member Elizabeth Heydeman took a stroll around the Museum Highlights display of past members' work from the Museum's Art collection. And we revisited the Artists at Work project from 20 years ago which recorded the buildings' extensive refurbishment.

The RGA "Artists in Residence" recorded what they saw everyday, drawing and sketching around the Museum and with some braving the cold weather and venturing outside to paint.

Many thanks to everyone who took part in all the very many elements of the Pop-Up. We had a brilliant time and thank you Reading Museum for having us.

Pop-up Pop-up Pop-up

Pop-up Pop-up

Pop-up Pop-up Pop-up

Pop-up Pop-up



The RGA 88th Annual Exhibition 2018

"... and the waters flowing by ..."

highlighted Henley’s stunning location along
the River Thames.

The Old Fire Station Gallery,
66 Market Place,

Sat 17th – Tue 27th March 2018





Old Fire Station Gallery Old Fire Station Gallery Old Fire Station Gallery

Old Fire Station Gallery Old Fire Station Gallery Old Fire Station Gallery

It is 50 years since the very first Marie Dyson Award was presented in 1968. It was in the early 1960s that Marie Dyson led a group of relatively new members to expand the range of RGA activities and her contributions and influence were long-lasting. This award is given in her memory, after her untimely death in 1967, for a work of outstanding merit. The 2018 Marie Dyson Award Assessor was Anna Lever, Director of Sunningwell School of Art since 1994.



Joint Winner 2018

Going with the Flow
Ink, watercolour, metal leaf on panel
by Liz Chaderton


Joint Winner 2018

Table Mountain
by Delphine Sym


CA logo


"RGA Pop-up at Reading Museum"

for a Reading Cultural Award

The RGA was proud to be nominated for two Reading Cultural Awards.

Our "RGA Pop-up at Reading Museum" was nominated in the Celebrating Reading’s Heritage Award (for A project or organisation that has raised the profile of Reading’s heritage) and also for The Made in Reading Award (A ‘piece’ made by a Reading artist or artists. This could be a performance, visual arts piece or project but must be created within Reading).

We really enjoyed working on this fantastic project.

Congratulations to the eventual winners:

The Shady Side of Town, Reading Tree Wardens and Two Rivers Press


Being Gordon Greenidge, South Street Arts Centre & Benedict Sandiford






RGA at the HolyBrook Gallery, Reading

A new gallery space, where to begin? Well "with the RGA of course!" … so said Jenny Halstead (RGA Member) who has been responsible for organising the refurbishment of the HolyBrook Gallery at Reading Central Library with sponsorship from RGSpaces.

Reading has been without a central especially purposed gallery space, that artists can rent to show off their talents, for a long time, so the opening of the HolyBrook Gallery is a very welcome new facility.

RGA provided the opening exhibition, showing a selection of the art works from our recent Annual Exhibition. A total of 23 art works were hung, that represented the range of sizes, materials and working methods employed by the RGA Membership, including paint, print and stitch. We were unable to include free standing 3D works on this occasion.

A well-appointed exhibition space for individuals and small groups of artists, HolyBrook Gallery is unfortunately too small to accommodate a full RGA exhibition, so we are still searching for a home in the Reading area.


Join in with the Urban Sketching phenomenon!

Reading now has its own urban sketching group. This mix of RGA and non-RGA participants meet up occasionally to sketch in or around Reading. It is very relaxed and friendly. During the winter months we are confining ourselves to indoor locations, but we have had outings in Sonning, Wokingham and central Reading and participated in ‘Open For Art’ in 2017. 

The group communicates via Facebook, so if you are interested, join the Facebook group ‘Reading Sketchers’.

Alternatively email Linda at info@rgartevents.uk




Sketch by new RGA Member Mohan Banerji


Museum Highlights


Bargain Hunters
by A. Duncan Carse (1875-1938)

Tempera on Canvas
128 x 87cm
Date: about 1933

RGA member: 1931-1938 (Vice-President 1937-38)

Reading Museum Accession Number
REDMG : 1939.37.1


Past RGA exhibtion

Reading Guild of Artists held an exhibition at Reading Museum and Art Gallery on Blagrave Street in Reading.

This photograph was published in the Berkshire Chronicle on 6 May 1949.

Reading Museum Accession Number
REDMG : 1980.36.B132.1

If you're a regular visitor to the RGA Website you may have noticed a new feature. Museum Highlights is a project which is a collaboration with Reading Museum with whom our history goes back to the foundation of the RGA in 1930. We knew that the Reading Museum has many works in their collection by RGA members, both past and present, however we didn’t have much of an idea how many works this entailed nor had any great details.

So our Archivist Martina has been working her way through the Museum's database and linking up the art works with the RGA Archives, researching the artists and their works. Eventually there will be a new topic within the Museum's Online Collections but you can see already some of the Museum Highlights on the RGA website, and every month or so a new one is added. So far we have featured Reginald Smith, Annie Bradley, Gilbert Adams, Julia Forrester, Francis Brodribb, Leslie Windsor and Albert Carter... and there are many more to come, including some well-known names and some that are more of a mystery.

Your help is needed. Members recollections add personality and colour to any historical project so if you have any insights or stories you are happy to share please contact Martina at webmaster@rga-artists.org.uk who would love to hear from you.

Lilies for Oscar Wilde
by Thérèse Lawlor

‘Lilies for Oscar Wilde’ was a unique Reading project that brought local artists and art organisations together in a creative partnership, to produce a stunning 2 metre high display of hand made lilies as a tribute to Oscar Wilde.

Conceived by Reading Museum and Two Rivers Press, the idea was to show Reading Artists’ appreciation for the wit, humour and humanity of Oscar Wilde. The lily was one of his favourite flowers.

Local artists, Jelly, The Reading Guild of Artists, and the Whiteknights Trail all took on the challenge to produce lilies. Local artists leapt at the opportunity of working together on the joint project. Two Rivers Press set up and managed a closed facebook group for participating artists and it was a joy to see communication developing throughout the summer, with artists initially posing questions, then sharing ideas and tips on how to make the lilies, then recounting disasters and recoveries and lots of friendships evolved. Artists who had not met before formed friendships created stunning lilies from glass, feathers, felt, metal, and even an innovative 3D printed lily.


Mark Allridge, Creative Director of Cherubs Floral Design, volunteered to turn the lilies into a extravagant installation to show them off to the public. Haslams worked in partnership with the group and volunteered to launch the installation in their office in Friar Street for several week in October/ November. They hosted a private view and gave the artists a great opportunity to meet in person at last! The evening was buzzing and a huge success. The lilies moved to Reading Museum in November and were proudly presented in the box room until Feb 2018.

The "Friends of Reading Museum" joined the partnership and funded some protective Perspex for the delicate lily display. Museum staff and volunteers catalogued the lilies and the artists statements and had them available at the museum. Local artist, Jo Thomas, a steering group member, suggested we ask artists if they wanted to sell the lilies for charity, and Launchpad – the local Reading charity for the homeless were delighted to join the partnership and get behind the publicity for the sale of the lilies.

Friends of Reading Museum stepped up another gear and offered to organise a "blind auction" where people were encouraged to bid for their favourite lily by placing a sealed bid in a box at the museum. The blind auction was a huge success - the highest bidder won in each case and an astonishing £1000 was raised for Launchpad.



John Lewis Easter Extravaganza

As part of John Lewis’ Easter Extravaganza, eight of our members set up their easels painting and drawing, chatting to customers about their art, the RGA and art in Reading, in the summer house on the Lower Ground Floor of John Lewis, Reading, from Saturday 24 March to Tuesday 27 March 2017.

A wide range of styles of artwork was on display, including cards, paintings, drawings, handmade books, featuring a variety of media – watercolours, oils, acrylics and graphite pencil.

Jo Evans, PR and marketing coordinator & community liaison coordinator from John Lewis, said: “John Lewis Reading is very excited to welcome Reading Guild of Artists into the store. We are passionate about celebrating the work going on in our community and giving talented local people the opportunity to showcase their work. We are looking forward to an extremely busy Easter extravaganza week and our sure that our customers will enjoy all the surprises and offers in store.”

The RGA was delighted to be given this opportunity by John Lewis. We are always happy to work with local businesses in new ways like this, showcasing the work of our artists and finding new ways of promoting the amazing difference art can make to our everyday lives.




Annual Review 2018 – 2019 Get involved!

The next Annual Review 2018 – 2019 will be published in time for the AGM in April 2019. If you have any news or articles you wish to submit, please email them to info@rga-artists.org.uk by the end of January 2019.

Sketches by Carole Pembrooke, RGA Councillor and RGA Friday co-ordinator, part of her "a drawing a day" project.

Have a say in the running of the RGA! We have positions available, or if you just want to help out, please contact us at info@rga-artists.org.uk for more information.

Many thanks,
The RGA Council





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