A sunny corner of Reading 1938, which has hardly changed! Find out more about the RGA’s longest-serving exhibition secretary. [Highlighted: June 2023]
R. E. G. (Reginald Ernest Gerald) Brant submitted work to the Reading Guild of Artists in February 1935 and was “duly elected” as a member. Described as a “young schoolmaster and accomplished amateur artist” in November 1936 he became the Exhibition Secretary. He worked in both watercolour and pastel.
In a recollection by fellow member, Leslie E Windsor, he describes a summer holiday meeting: ‘One summer holiday, after the war, I was staying with friends near Portsmouth and decided to explore the Chichester estuary. When walking near the water at Bosham I saw in the distance a figure that seemed familiar. It was R. E. G. Brant, our Exhibition Secretary. He was staying in the area for sketching, so we decided to team up and explore a number of places by car. He took me to several interesting spots, rather off the beaten track. I became very fond of this district, and have visited it many times since, often staying for some weeks at a time. Mr Brant lived quite near to me and when in Reading for a weekend I would meet him either in his studio or mine to discuss our problems.’
1965 marked the completion of 30 years as Exhibition Secretary, and the last he was responsible for. There was a farewell presentation of a tape recorder, a gift which seems highly in keeping with Mr. Brant’s earlier life as a teacher of music and English at Alfred Sutton Secondary School. He was 69 when he retired from office, his health was becoming a little shaky, and within a few years, he was to leave the district, retiring to Dorset. Described as resourceful, methodical, and equable in temperament yet always one to uphold the highest standards, he had given monumental service to society. He was to exhibit his own harmonious and technically excellent pastels in only one more Guild show in 1968. He died in 1970.
As Exhibition Secretary he organised the Annual Exhibition which at that time was held at The Municipal Art Gallery, Reading Museum. His work A Corner of Reading was one of many works bought by the Museum from RGA members. This line and wash work of the distinctive view from Market Place of the Town Hall and St. Laurence’s Church was exhibited alongside another line and wash work of London Street, Reading, at the RGA’s Ninth Annual Exhibition, The Art Gallery Reading, October 29 to November 26, 1938.