Rye Art Gallery


Supported by Arts Council England

Supported by Rother District Council

See our artworks on Art UK

Rye Art Gallery 

Our Spring programme continues with The Rye Society of Artists, Spring Exhibition, 2024. 

Welcome to the first week of Spring at Rye Art Gallery. An exciting time in the gallery for us all as this change of season promises new growth with so many wonderful new artworks arriving in the gallery daily in readiness for the first RSA show of 2024.

The links between Rye Art Gallery and the history of the Society go back a long way. In actual fact the first known society for the arts established in Rye was called ‘Rye Arts Club’. Originally set up and organised by local artist Howard Gull Stormont and his wife, the painter Mary Stormont who lived at ‘Ypres Studio’. This house and her original bequest of art collections became Rye Art Gallery as we know it today.

At the turn of the century Henry James the writer, was an early president of the Society and a regular visitor to our studio gallery, even after his death in 1916, he continued to be listed in printed materials as an ‘honorary president’ during the 1920’s.

After the Second World War there was another influx of new artists to Rye and in the 1950’s this growing colony in Rye started calling themselves RX8 (with reference to a local fishing boat). They staged their first exhibition alongside Rye Festival Week with an exhibition of paintings, lithographs and sculptures shown at the Mermaid Street School in Rye, which in turn went on to become the Boys Club. Exhibitors in that first show included Geoffrey Bagley, Robert Mackechnie, Margaret Barnard and Wally Cole. RX8 soon merged with another younger group of local artists which included ‘Kenny’ Townsend and Wally Cole (founder of Rye Pottery) and so it was that the Rye Society of Artists was born.

The Rye Society today represents over 40 artists and we are delighted to host this wonderful eclectic mix of over 150 artworks including paintings, prints, ceramics, sculptures and photography. In our studio space this year the RSA have also invited new artists to show their work with the potential for them to become full members (subject to a membership ballot) of the society in future years. We wish them all well and their work looks fantastic.

The show is scheduled to run until Sunday 5th May 2024

Please click here to view our Exhibitions and Events page and Gallery News to find further details of what's on.

Rye Art Gallery

Step through our door in the High Street and you will be on a journey of discovery. Inside the Gallery, you will find large, interlinked spaces and changing displays of contemporary art to browse and buy.  With an exciting annual programme of exhibitions, you can also treat yourself to a view of some of our Permanent Collection including works by Edward Burra, Fred Cuming RA, Gus Cummins RA, Jacob Epstein, Ivon Hitchens, Paul Nash, John Piper, Mick Rooney RA, Graham Sutherland and Diana Low.

The unique layout is because the Gallery has been created from two domestic houses on two different Rye streets, now combined via a short staircase link. Artists Howard Gull Stormont (1859-1935) and Mary Elizabeth Stormont (1871—1962) lived in Ypres Studio, an Arts and Crafts house on Ockman Lane, and artist Eileen Easton lived at 107 High Street. The houses now make one premise.  

Mary created the Rye Art Gallery Trust in 1957 and bequeathed the Ypres Studio to the Trust at her death in 1962. One of the couple’s many artist friends, the painter Eileen Easton, became one of the original trustees and she later bequeathed her High Street house to the Trust as well.

The domestic history of the buildings has left its mark. There are stunning views down to the Rother estuary, especially from Howard and Mary’s old studio (the Stormont Room) at the top of the building. Through an unmarked door, there is just about enough additional room for our administrative work, some of it taking place under the eaves in the original bedrooms.

The Gallery’s Contemporary Artists and Makers

We sell paintings, prints, drawings, jewellery, ceramics, metalwork, textiles, glassware, wood, and mixed media pieces. Also available are cards, gift ideas and books. We operate a special scheme for those who fall in love with a piece and prefer to spread out their payments over a two-month period.  We are happy to respond to queries and enquiries about the work we show.  Our staff are well qualified with degrees in Fine Art and Design.

To view visit: http://www.ryeartgallery.co.uk/art-for-sale


The Permanent Collection

To view the Collection, click here: https://www.ryeartgallery.co.uk/collection-artists 

They include many works by artists of national and international importance as well as regional favourites.  We have uploaded most of our Catalogue and future plans are to provide you with an image for every work along with its descriptive entry.  

If you would like to join our Mailing List (data-protected) please sign up by clicking here or on the 'Subscribe' link on the left or contact us via the 'Get in Touch' page.



Mon - Sat: 11.00am - 5.00pm

Sundays: 11.00am - 4.00pm

Closed: Tuesdays


For Individual Appointments: To view any of our works for sale or to make an appoinment to see items held in our Permanent Collection please email the gallery director Dr. Julian Day ryeartgallery@gmail.com


Art for Sale: Please follow the link below to view works currently available in the gallery 



Instagram: Please follow this link for our instagram account https://www.instagram.com/ryeartgallery/


Artists in Focus: A full selection from each artist is available to view on our 'Art for Sale' section.


Bernard McGuigan


Bernard is a quiet modest man but full of determination and energy, which is often reflected in his work. If you take for example, 'Just the Two of Us', the movement of the piece is full of vitality, the two-figures joined not only by physical attributes but also by an emotional energy too.

More recently Bernard’s work has moved towards abstraction, where marks of the artists tools are more evident, 'Autumn Days' bears this evidence where rough stone sits symmetrically next to the smooth polished stone.

Another abstract piece in place at the gallery is 'Riding the Wave', which is completely smooth and polished made from limestone which depicts a large kidney form with two smaller geometric shapes inside where the subtractive process is manifest. A piece that most visitors of the gallery cannot help but stroke, the tactile nature of this artwork makes something so hard and inanimate become more lifelike offering a special kind of sensory experience.


Sally Cole


Sally’s paintings are a means of expressing what she feels to be the essence of the land.

She spends many hours working outside in all weathers, simply looking and making marks in her countless sketchbooks. Though she does not work directly from these visual notes, they are a necessary means of storing and holding ideas.

Going back through these sketchbooks she remembers the weather, the sounds and energy of the place, she will call on these sometimes-tenuous threads to help inform the work created in her studio.

Located in Hastings Country Park, her studio again gives her immediate access to a beautifully diverse landscape. She will often spend many hours sitting and contemplating the feel of the natural park right on her doorstep.

She also spends a great deal of time travelling and painting in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and New Zealand.

The quality of light, the scale and the sense of mystery and majesty in both Pembrokeshire and New Zealand continues to inform and excite her.

IMG 8185

Melvyn Evans

Paintings and linocuts

Melvyn Evans the artist, illustrator and printmaker's bold lino-cut prints and paintings, feature seascapes and landscapes. Melvyn takes inspiration from the ancient natural elements of the British landscape specifically the Hitchen Stone boundary between Yorkshire and Lancashire.

A series of works including Stone Forest (2019) and Lost Land With Boat Form (2020) reimagine the fossilised ruins of a vast submerged area called Doggerland, where in around 6,500BC, rising sea levels flooded the area which originally connected Britain to continental Europe. Remnants can still be seen today at low tide in some areas particularly at Redcar beach.

If there’s one thing the work of Melvyn Evans conveys it’s his love for the British countryside. In both the representation of land and the sea, through a considered use of colour and shape, his paintings and lino prints embody a historic sense of place. They explore the bonds that exist between human endeavour and the landscape as a dramatic, natural backdrop.