Enter an art exhibition with the planet and climate at its heart
Next Saturday (April 9) will see the opening of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Art Society’s popular spring exhibition, which includes paintings on the subject of our planet and climate change. Eileen Leahy discovers more…
The Signal Box by Mary Harris
The new exhibition runs from April 9-18, 2022 with paintings and ceramics, and includes works by Colleen Davies and Kate O’Brien among several others.
The company’s vice president, Suzy Phillips, a Rusthall-based painter who has shown her seascapes at a Mayfair gallery, tells us a bit about two of her fellow artists featured here.
British Red Fox by Colleen Davies
Colleen Davies is a graduate of Fine Arts and specialized in Ceramics. She was born in Zambia and later moved to Zimbabwe, where she met her farmer husband Paul and lived a fully self-sufficient life. In addition to potting, Colleen worked as a nurse for all farm workers and animals. The couple made all their clothes and grew their own crops. Returning from Africa in 1994 after difficult times in Zimbabwe, they now live on a farm in a valley near Lamberhurst.
Ceramics by Colleen Davies
Colleen taught pottery at Adult Education in Tunbridge Wells for many years. She creates unique, elegant stoneware and porcelain pieces inspired by the animals and landscapes that surround her and her memories of the African ocean. She recently ran a stall in Pantiles Market to sell her pottery to benefit Ukraine and raised over £350 for the charity.
Lemons by Kate O’Brien
Kate O’Brien was born in Cork, Ireland and only recently moved to the St John’s area of Tunbridge Wells after spending years in West Sussex, where she studied miniature painting at West Dean College and Earnley Centre, as well as antiques. Swapping England for France in 2002, Kate continued her studies on a larger scale, moving into still life oil painting. His paintings vary from large A0 to small A5 pictures of fruits and vegetables. She has exhibited extensively in Ireland, England and France.
A Brief History of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Art Society
Tunbridge Wells has long been known for its cultural spirit with many artists based here and many burgeoning exhibition spaces, galleries and groups.
The oldest is the Royal Tunbridge Wells Art Society (RTWAS), which was founded in 1934 and has a track record of well-known artists involved in the past – including Winston Churchill, who took part in one of the summer exhibitions !
Its first president was recorded as Mary, Marchioness of Abergavenny, and the club was linked to 17 other companies who pledged their support to help RTWAS find suitable premises. This eventually led to them acquiring space at 61 Lower Pantiles, where they are still based today.
The society’s archives date back to 1945, and there are photos and documents of many of their past events, including the then vice-president, MC Tattershall Dodd, giving a lecture on the painter John Ruskin.
RTWAS started with just 18 members and has steadily grown over the decades to now have over 170 members, all of whom feature a variety of aesthetic styles, as well as an official board.
See the Spring Exhibition at the Royal Tunbridge Wells Art Society, 61 The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TE April 9-18, 10:30am-4:30pm.
For more information, see
All photos are © The Royal Tunbridge Wells Art Society and the respective artists