Collection News


David Crew was a student of Kitty French

Posted on Feb 5th 2020

We have been able to borrow 'Reclaimed Lands' from artist David Crew to show in the Kitty French Exhibition. He was one of her students at what is now known as Rye College.

David writes "Sometimes on fine summer days, we would be taken out to draw 'in the field', a favourite spot being Camber Castle. We had the run of the place, it being then completely open, with turf running up to the top of the walls is a subject that has remained in my consciousness ever since."

This graphite and oil painting is the result of close observation and preparatory drawings of the intensity that is often given to still-life painting. The title suggests not only the actual reclaimation of land from the seas on which to build the castle, but the passage of time reclaimed in the landscape.

David Crew Reclaimed Lands

Kitty French (1924 - 1989), Donation of two works

Posted on Feb 3rd 2020

Artists Louis Turpin and Davida Smith have most generously donated two large collage works by Kitty French to the Permanent Collection. We are hugely grateful. Both are superb examples of her colourful and patterned work in collage and textile.

One is 'The Entertainer', 1974, which is shown here and the other is 'Portrait' from 1976.

Both are on show in the current exhibition 'The Artist Kitty French and Friends' curated by trustee Julian Day and donor and printmaker Davida Smith.

Kitty French The Entertainer 1974 Lores

Ken Townsend (1935 - 2001), a loan from the artist's estate

Posted on Feb 3rd 2020

Also in the current exhibition in the Stormont Studio (see above) we include this glowing and rich oil painting by Ken Townsend, generously loaned by his family from his estate.

The Collection is currently short of work that is abstract and relies on colour, shape and form, so we are particularly grateful to be able to show this work. It is entitled 'Abstract' from 1978, contemporary with the work by Kitty French who headlines the exhibition.

Ken Townsend Abstract 1978

Flower Paintings in the Collection

Posted on Nov 21st 2019

The Collection exhibition 'Flowers Reunited' shows oil paintings by the English artist Mary Stormont and by several others.

The photo shows one of a pair of oil paintings attributed to an unknown Dutch 17th century artist, collected by the Stormonts and used by Mary as an inspiration for her own work.

Another flower painting owned by the Stormonts is attributed to Rachel Ruysch (1664 - 1750), a northern Netherlandish artist who became famous in her own lifetime.


'Black Mountain' c.1970 by Edward Burra (1905-1976)

Posted on Oct 30th 2019

This week, Rye Art Gallery welcomed a group from Inscape Fine Art Study Tours. Visitors came to see some artworks selected by the permanent collections curator Julian Day including works by Paul Nash, John Piper and Edward Burra.

Art historian, Louise Simkiss Day (pictured alongside the painting Black Mountain) also presented a short talk on the works of Edward Burra and his life in Rye.

This large landscape water colour features a view of 'Black Mountain' with malevolent hooded figures around a tractor in the foreground. At the bottom right hand corner are petrol cans with the Shell oil logo visible. Edward Burra disliked the way in which the countryside was being torn apart for the building of new roads and hated the Shell oil company. This gem from our collection will feature in a special exhibition at Rye Art Gallery next year called:

'Tinker-Bell Town', a portrait of the artist Edward Burra and his life in Rye.
Saturday July 4 - Sunday 30 August 2020.

Louise With Black Mountain

'Winter Lane' by Neil Meacher RI (1934-2010)

Posted on Jun 27th 2019

'Winter Lane' in pencil and watercolour depicts a dark skewed view of Rye. It has been generously donated anonymously to the Permanent Collection.

This work will be featured with many other representations of Rye and the surounding areas in our next new exhibition, "Postcards From Rye” that runs from the 3rd of August, through to the 29th of September, in the Stormont Studio gallery.

Commenting on behalf of the Trust, Collections Curator Julian Day said: "We are grateful and delighted to add this fine example of the artist’s work. Neil Meacher was a well known distinguished local artist and I am looking forward to showing his work to the public from Rye and beyond”.

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'The Gaze' - Stormont Studio Exhibition

Posted on Apr 8th 2019

The term ‘male gaze’ has been a subject of much debate by visual culture theorists, in the 1970’s the term the ‘male gaze’ was extensively used as an ideological basis of patriarchy, socio-political inequality by which male created institutions determined what is natural and normal in society.

This photo image (circa. 1920) is from our Stormont Photographic Archive. Howard and Mary Stormont created these pictures in this Studio, as the Gallery building was originally where they both lived and worked. The artist's model used for these works is unknown. Someone in Rye may possibly know who she is ? We would love to know!

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'Patterns of Inspiration'

Posted on Mar 26th 2019

Weaving looms displayed in the Stormont Studio as a part of our 'Patterns of Inspiration' exhibition. This was a creative collaboration between the Gallery and Romney Tweed. During the exhibition, weaving experts demonstrated craft skills in design and making of tweed from the yarn of Romney Sheep.

The weaving and textile items were accompanied by a selection of paintings by Howard Stormont, drawn from the Permanent Collection.
It was striking how the colours of the landscapes in Howard's paintings were identical to the soft colours of the dyes used by Romney Tweed.

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'Eyes Shut' 2005, with the artist Tony Bennett

Posted on Jan 15th 2019

The artist Tony Bennett is pictured here with his ceramic piece called 'Eyes Shut’ (2005). Tony’s work had been selected for display from our Permanent Collections by a WEA (Workers Education Association) art study group, from the Jerwood Gallery, Hastings.

This exhibition runs until the 24 February 2019 in the Stormont Studio. Admission free.

Tony Bennett Eyes Shut

'Late Sun' has been donated by Keith Purser

Posted on Nov 22nd 2018

Keith has donated one of his oil paintings to the Gallery Collection. We are especially thrilled to receive this fine example of his work as he has been exhibiting and selling with us, as well as around the UK, for many years. We are always proud to show him.

The artist lives at Dungeness, which is a mysterious and unique land and sea area - the largest shingle bank in Europe. His work is a distillation of the colours and forms of land, sky and sea, approaching abstraction and yet serenely recognisable.

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