THE RGA

"... it is important for people to realise that diverse and accessible art is being made in their own community."
Donald Hamilton Frazer RA.
President of the RGA 1994-2001

Black and white old photo of gallery
RGA 19th Annual Exhibition
Municipal Art Gallery Reading Museum 1949

"The Guild has some remarkably talented members. The work as a whole is vibrant and distinctive both in approach and medium."
Clive Duncan
RGA President 2016-present

modern photo of gallery
RGA 89th Annual Exhibition
Sir John Madejski Art Gallery Reading Museum 2019

"On Wednesday 5 March 1930 a meeting took place of those interested in matters of Art, and with the object of forming a society for the exhibition of works of Art.

The meeting followed a letter which had been circulated to those people thought most likely to be interested in such adventure. The joint signatories of the letter were Professor Allen Seaby, Professor of Fine Art at the University of Reading, and William Smallcombe, Curator of Reading Museum and Art Gallery.

Seventeen people attended the meeting and the occasion marked the beginning of the Reading Guild of Artists. Officers were elected with Professor Seaby appointed as President. The Guild brought together the 'Town and Gown' with professional and amateur artists.”

And so it all began. Ninety years later, with a membership of over 170 artists, the RGA still thrives and plays an active role in the development of artists in Reading, and still has a close association with Reading Museum.

We organise an Annual Exhibition as well as additional exhibitions throughout the year. Venues have included The Old Fire Station, Henley-on-Thames, The University of Reading, Reading Museum, The Peacock Gallery, Reading Contemporary Art Fair, and HolyBrook Gallery. Many members also participate in the Whiteknights Studio Trail, Caversham Arts Trail and the Reading Charity Art Fair on an individual basis.

We also arrange various workshops and activities throughout the year including RGA Fridays, Earley Painters and Summer Painting Days and activities during our exhibitions.

The RGA became a charity in 1987 and in 2018 a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Our object is for the advancement of public education in visual arts by means of exhibitions, lectures, demonstrations, criticism and discussion.

Membership is open to all, and new members are very welcome, from the experienced professionals to complete beginners and those with an interest in the visual arts.

Cover of book
Images and text taken from the RGA publication
"A History of the Reading Guild of Artists 1930-1980" by E.V. Watson
Drawing of Allen Seaby
Allen Seaby (1867-1953) was a remarkable man achieving many things in his life. A notable artist and printmaker, he became one of the country's leading wildlife artists pioneering woodblock printing of Japanese style, he was also an educationalist and author. Having served at the RGAs first President, Seaby continued as a loyal member of the RGA and exhibited with the Guild until his death in 1953.
Photo of William Smallcombe
William Smallcombe, Curator of Reading Museum
and Art Gallery and co-founder.
Photo kindly donated by his grandson Mike and family.

Presidents of the RGA:

Allen Seaby 1930-33
Herbert A. Barkas 1933-34
Albert Carter 1934-58
Frank Ormrod 1958-69
Robert Gillmor 1969-86
Richard Paul 1986-94
Donald Hamilton Fraser 1994-2001
Eric Stanford 2001-2010
Martin Andrews 2011-2015
Clive Duncan 2016 -

Cover of book
"Then and Now", book celebrating seventy-five years
of the Reading Guild of Artists, 1930-2005

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