Hertford Art Society 70th Open Exhibition
April 29th – May 6th 2023
This year’s Exhibition celebrated 70 years of such shows, at different locations around Hertford as the Society changed venues for meetings and Exhibitions. See Trevor Chamberlain’s article below for his recollections of Exhibitions past.
Each year the style of the Exhibition varies. The selection of work is made by a panel of practising artists who are completely independent of the Society. This year we were delighted to welcome Olivia Bishop, Jude O’Sullivan and Mike Todd as judges for both the 2D work and 3D items. The wide variety of work submitted each year and the range of expertise and opinion of the judges ensures that each show has a unique mix of artworks. 110 artists submitted 435 items for consideration this year. 316 2D works were selected for hanging and these, together with 20 sculptures and 3D items, provided visitors with a varied, colourful and stimulating Open Exhibition at Cowbridge Halls. The work of 104 artists in total was displayed. This included work by 57 Hertford Art Society Members. There were many new exhibitors this year and the Society thanks all the artists whose contributions combine to make our Exhibitions so exciting.
The exhibits included oils, acrylics and watercolours; etchings, lino and screen prints; digital images; pastel, pencil, charcoal and ink; collage and 3D works in a stunning variety of materials. There was something for everyone: townscapes and seascapes, atmospheric landscapes, abstracts, figures with stories to tell, still life images (lots of lemons, flowers and jugs), birds and various animals including some very dramatic zebras and elephants. This year’s show included a great many beautifully executed and very moving portraits. Some works were bold, others delicate, some rich in colour, others monochrome. Work to suit all tastes. Additional works were displayed at other venues in Hertford.
Open for 8 days the exhibition attracted many visitors from a wide area. Hundreds of visitors cast their votes for their favourite exhibit - the winner was Love by Helen Tansley.
This Exhibition, the 70th Annual Open, was very well received and thanks go to all the people who contributed their time and effort in making it such a success.
The exhibition takes place at Cowbridge Halls, Cowbridge, Hertford SG14 1PG and runs from Saturday 29th April to Saturday 6th May 2023 and these are the Prizewinners
70th Open Exhibition
Reflections and recollections by Trevor Chamberlain
This year (2023) we are celebrating 70 years of activities since the Society was formed in 1953, and as I am the longest serving Member, I have been asked to recall and record some past artistic activities and events since inauguration.
I was not one of the twenty or so people involved with the newly formed Society as I was serving 2 years National Service, but I can recall visiting that first Exhibition and Sale at the Durrant Hall which was located by the weir in Old Cross, Hertford. The Exhibition was held in aid of the Lord Mayor of London’s Flood and Tempest Fund and 113 exhibits by Hertford Art Society Members together with invited works by notable established contemporary artists of the day including Henry Moore, Frank Brangwyn, Adrian Heath, Terry Frost, Wyndham Lewis, Ben Nicholson, Rodrigo Moynihan and Victor Pasmore resulting in a very successful show. At the time I remember thinking that I would like to become involved in such an impressive society, so in 1954 I submitted an Oil “Lago Di Como” which was included in the exhibits on show at the Corn Exchange that year.
It wasn’t until August 1955, when I was eventually discharged from the Army that I was able to become an active member of Hertford Art Society. By then the Society had become established with the Rt. Hon. Marquess of Salisbury as President and Henry Moore and Ashley Havinden as Vice-Presidents. The tradition of inviting celebrated painters and sculptors of the day continued for some years and included such artists as Sir Alfred Munnings, John Nash, Ronald Maddox and Mark Gertler (1902-1939). This Gertler oil was a large painting of a voluptuous nude but the owner did not have any title for inclusion in the 1963 catalogue. So prompted by myself and my wife, Elaine, the HAS Committee gave it the title of “Queen of Sheba”. The painting was then sold from our exhibition to the Tate Gallery for £250. It is now on show from time to time at the Tate bearing the title we gave it and could now be worth something approaching £100,000.
For our 40th Exhibition Alan Davie lent one of his paintings “HOPI STUDIES No. 7.1990 OPUS G 2119”. As was usual Henry Moore lent a work each year for our annual exhibitions which were held at the Corn Exchange until about 1980. Then after four years exhibiting at the Museum Annexe (until 1984) we returned back to the Corn Exchange until 2006.
Soon after inauguration in the mid-fifties the Society met weekly on Tuesday evenings for practical painting sessions and talks in the Priory Rooms (adjoining the Friends Meeting House) which we eventually outgrew and moved on to the Museum Annexe. After a year or two there we moved yet again to the refurbished Corn Exchange. In about 2007 the Cowbridge Halls became available to us for all our painting and exhibiting activities, so the only activity which is conducted away from the premises is our outdoor sketching programme in the summer months.
The Open Annual Exhibitions and the Member’s Annual Shows are now all mounted under the one roof. Membership currently averages 120 members.
Over the years since my involvement in the Society my wife Elaine took on the role of General Secretary for a long period and then a substantial period as Exhibition Secretary. My own contribution to the functioning of the Art Society was a term as Chairman, approximately 35 years as Exhibition Coordinator and over 20 years as Summer Programme Secretary.
The Art Society would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the current Marquess of Salisbury for his continuing involvement in our Society, following in the footsteps of his father, Lord Salisbury.
I am pleased personally to have this long association with such a fine Society and appreciate and thank the Membership for elevating me this year to become Vice-President.
Trevor Chamberlain ROI RSMA
Annual Open Exhibition Reviews
Open Exhibition Awards
We are grateful to our Sponsors for their Awards.
Each year the following Prizes are awarded:
"The Queen of Sheba" by Mark Gertler
In 1963 the Hertford Art Society sold a large nude painting "The Queen of Sheba" by Mark Gertler, to the Tate Gallery.
The Open Exhibition is a celebrated part of the Hertfordshire art scene. Quality is maintained by a panel of three independent judges selecting from the wide range of more than 500 artworks presented by artists both amateur and professional. About half of these are accepted and shown. A number of major prizes are generously awarded by our sponsors.
The exhibition has a national reputation for showing exciting collectable artwork with many buyers returning each year to extend their investment in art.
This prestigious exhibition runs for two weeks at the beginning of May with Private Viewings, by invitation only, for collectors and patrons prior to opening to the public.
A Members’ folio illustrates more about the work of our Members, and we are pleased to take details of commissioned works and to put buyers in touch with their favoured artists.
The John Goss Prize
The prize for Best Watercolour 2023 - a set of brushes awarded by A S Handover Ltd. The winner also receives water colour paper awarded by St Cuthbert's Paper Mill
70th Open Exhibition prizewinners, 2023.
Background The annual open exhibition is attracting entries from all over Great Britain. From an entry of over 600 works, approximately 300 paintings and sculptures are selected for display. The selection is by a panel of three independent judges who are not Members of the Hertford Art Society.
Location Cowbridge Halls, Cowbridge, Hertford.
email Exhibition Secretary