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Collection News


Danny Pockets 'Still Life With Lemons'

Posted on Jun 22nd 2022

Following the successful staging of Danny Pockets retrospective, 'Everlast". We are delighted to be showing 'Still Life with Lemons', which is now part of the permanent collection at Rye Art Gallery, the work was kindly donated by the Cuming family.

Danny Pockets Still Life With Lemons

Betty Ellwood - RIP

Posted on Mar 29th 2022

We are currently featuring in the Gallery this painting from the Collection - 'Portrait of Elizabeth', 1942, by Christine Young. It is in memory of the sitter.

It is a portrait of Gallery supporter and Friends Committee member Betty Ellwood who died this year and is sadly missed. It shows the sitter in pensive mood. On the table are a book, map and shells, including the pilgrim's scallop shell which is complete with ribbon and so is for wearing on a journey. Beyond the arches, reminiscent of those in De Chirico's surrealist paintings, is the sea.

We do not know anything of the artist except that she was a friend of Betty's. If you can tell us more we would be grateful. We think the painting is remarkable and an enigma. We do know that Betty was involved in work at Dover in WW2...

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John Wiltshire - 'I'm Painting, Dearie'

Posted on Mar 4th 2022

The image shows 'I'm Painting, Dearie', by John Wiltshire, purchased from the artist for the Collection in 2021.

On the left is a black and white photo showing Edward Burra and his sister Betsy on the beach as children. To the right is Burra's green tin box containing half-used tubes of watercolour paint. These are both in the Burra Archive observed by John during his Residency at the Gallery.

John's Fine Art degree is from Canterbury and he also has Qualified Teacher status. He exhibits accross the south east and East Anglia, is an award winner and has held residencies at the Botanic Gardens and at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

John Wiltshire I M Painting Dearie 2021

Acquisitions - three paintings by John Wiltshire, inspired by the Burra Archive

Posted on Feb 26th 2022

During 2021 painter John Wiltshire spent time researching our Edward Burra Archive and creating responses to the items he found.
The Archive includes photographs, painting items such as brushes, paints and test sketches, but also many quirky small ornaments and unique objects which Burra had about his studio.

We are thrilled to accept John's donation of 'The Low Sly' and the Trust has purchased 'I'm Painting Dearie' and 'Toes In'. The three works were part of his exhibition 'B is for Burra' at the Gallery last autumn, alongside the adjoining exhibition 'Burra and Friends'.

JWiltshire 3 To Collection 2021

Photos from the Burra Archive

Posted on Sep 11th 2021

During the exhibition 'Burra and Friends' these photos represent many more held in the Permanent Collection.

Some here show Burra (1905-1976), but also his closest friend William Chappell (1907-1994). Some of the photos are by Barbara Ker Seymer (1905-1993). He met both at Chelsea Art School and the friends remained in close contact for life.

Billy danced for Ballet Rambert and at the Vic Wells, later becoming a stage designer and director of over 40 productions. He wrote 'Edward Burra: A Painter remembered by his Friend' 1982 and edited Burra's letters in 'Well Dearie' 1985.
Barbara was a photographer, society girl, and later worked for a film studio.

Burra Archive Photos S

Visit from artist Julian Le Bas

Posted on Sep 11th 2021

We were delighted to welcome Julian on a visit to the Gallery.

We hold his dramatic, expressionist charcoal drawing of Rye Bay in the Collection. The image awakens our sense of being emotionally present in the tumultuous land and sea scape. It was purchased at the time of his exhibition 'Source to Sea' at the Gallery in 1990.

Julian is a Sussex-based artist inspired by the South Downs and its coast. He has a BA(Hons) in Fine Art from Brighton and post-graduate qualification from Cyprus.

Julian Le Bas With Rye Bay 1990

Our Edward Burra Archive researched for the audio trail 'Against our Vanishing'

Posted on Jun 29th 2021

Dr Diarmuid Hester, Fellow in English at Cambridge, visited the Gallery to research our Edward Burra Archive.

He was commissioned by Climate Art, a public art platform, to create an audio trail of some of the queer artists and writers, past and present, who have made Rye their home. They include artist Edward Burra and writers Henry James, E F Benson and Radclyffe Hall.

Entitled 'Against our Vanishing' the audio trail is free to download from
See also Diarmuid's Instagram @Dehester which can also be googled.

The image shows Edward Burra (1905 - 1976), a photo from the Archive.

Edward Burra

Mary Stormont's 'Lime Kiln' painting to illustrate a book on Geology

Posted on Feb 13th 2021

The authors of a new book on the geology of Essex approached us for permission to use one of our Collection paintings as an illustration. We were delighted to agree.

The writers are Ian and Ros Mercer, Chair and Secretary of the Essex Rock and Mineral Society. Ian is the author of several books on geology and this new one will have a section on the use of lime and chalk in the county.

The Gallery's founder, Mary Stormont (nee Sapsworth) grew up in Essex and started her career as an artist there before moving to Rye.
Her oil painting 'The Lime Kiln, Maldon, Essex', is topographical but much more in it's selective palette and atmospheric tones. It is a useful record of early twentieth century lime production.

Mary Stormont The Lime Kiln Maldon Essex