Museum Highlight

Noel Gregory Baguley

Inspiration for our en plein air painters, but sometimes we know very little about our past members and their art… we would love to know more. [Highlighted: February 2022][Updated: March 2023]

Chilterns over Fawley Bottom
Noel Gregory Baguley (1898–1980)

Oil on canvas
48cm x 38cm
Date: 1959

RGA member 1956–1974
Reading Museum Accession Number
REDMG : 1959.177.1

Fawley Bottom is a small village in Buckinghamshire, north of Henley-on-Thames. Much of the Chilterns were designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1965. The artist John Piper and his wife, the librettist Myfanwy Piper lived in Fawley Bottom Farmhouse from the mid-1930s for their lifetime. This work was exhibited at the Reading Guild of Artists’ 29th Annual Exhibition at the Municipal Art Gallery, Reading May 2 – May 30, 1959.

Noel Baguley lived in Webb’s Farm, Middle Assendon which is very near Fawley Bottom, so this is possibly a view from his home. He was a member of the Reading Guild of Artists 1956–1974 exhibiting in a wide variety of media. Little else is known about the artist except that he served on the RGA Council from 1958–1961 and again 1967–1969.

In 2023 the RGA learned more about the artist and his life from his granddaughter. Noel was born in Newark-upon-Trent, Nottinghamshire 1898. Having fought in the First World War, he was invalided out before the end. He studied Chemistry at Nottingham University and later worked for Courtaulds the Chemical and Textile Company, Coventry. During the Second World War, the family moved to Henley-on-Thames and later bought a property in Middle Assendon, Webb’s Farm. The famous artist John Piper lived very close by and Noel’s work was greatly influenced through his contact with him. Noel was an amateur painter who did most of his painting after his retirement aged 60, having recently joined the RGA in 1956. His later works were mainly of churches and other architecture.

Noel successfully exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1966 with a work called Three Entrances of Salamance Cathedral, the same year he exhibited Three Portals of Salamance Cathedral at the Reading Guild of Artists 36th Annual Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery, Reading.

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