Step through our door in the High Street and you will be on a journey of discovery. Inside the Gallery, you will find interlinked spaces and changing displays of contemporary art to browse and buy. You can also treat yourself to a view of some of our Permanent Collection.
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.
Creating the Gallery
Mary and Howard had eloped to Rye, as Mary’s parents in Essex had thought that their daughter marrying a man somewhat older than she, and a practising artist at that, was not a desirable match. They married in Rye church. Both were regional exhibitors while Mary in particular regularly exhibited her flower paintings, landscapes and interiors at the Royal Academy. She 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.
The Permanent Collection
Have a look at our dedicated pages to see our holdings. 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.
Our Links with Schools:
We are pleased to exhibit the work of students from our local Schools. Rye College, Buckswood School and Benenden have all held fresh and exciting exhibitions of their GCSE and/or A-level Art at the Gallery. Private Views can be arranged as needed in collaboration with school staff.
We are happy to host School visits for students supervised by their teachers. On a past visit we welcomed Northiam Primary School who brought sketchbooks and worksheets and spent a couple of hours together with their teachers in the Gallery.
If other schools in our area are also interested to work with us, please get in touch with the Director at the Gallery.
The Stormont Awards
Go to our dedicated page for this to see how our local young people are getting involved.