The founding of the RGA

“… it is important for people to realise that diverse and accessible art is being made in their own community.”

Donald Hamilton Fraser RA
President of the RGA 1994-200

“On Wednesday 5 March 1930 a meeting took place of those interested in matters of Art, and with the object of forming a society for the exhibition of works of Art.

The meeting followed a letter that had been circulated to those people thought most likely to be interested in such adventure. The joint signatories of the letter were Professor Allen Seaby, Professor of Fine Art at the University of Reading, and William Smallcombe, Curator of Reading Museum and Art Gallery.

Seventeen people attended the meeting and the occasion marked the beginning of the Reading Guild of Artists. Officers were elected with Professor Seaby appointed as President. The Guild brought together the ‘Town and Gown’ with professional and amateur artists.”

A History of the Reading Guild of Artists 1930-1980
E.V. Watson

And so it all began. The RGA became a charity in 1987 and in 2018 a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). In 2020 the pandemic prevented us from properly celebrating our 90th anniversary but we are still going strong.


Allen Seaby 1930–1933
Herbert A. Barkas 1933–1934
Albert Carter 1934–1958
Frank Ormrod1958–1969
Robert Gillmor 1969–1986
Richard Paul 1986–1994
Donald Hamilton Fraser 1994–2001
Eric Stanford 2001–2010
Martin Andrews 2011–2015
Clive Duncan 2016–2022
Fiona Talkington 2022–present

Allen Seaby was a remarkable man achieving many things in his life. A notable artist and printmaker, he became one of the country’s leading wildlife artists pioneering woodblock printing of Japanese style, he was also an educationalist and author. Having served as the RGAs first President, Seaby continued as a loyal member of the RGA and exhibited with the RGA until his death in 1953.

Banner Copyright © 2024 Rebecca Howard

Scroll to Top