Royal Watercolour Society at Horsham Museum

Watercolour painting of a stormy sea and a pier

The Royal Watercolour Society at Horsham Museum opened Saturday 2 July showcasing a selection of artworks by elected Royal Watercolour Society members. From tranquil landscapes to bold abstract pieces, they reveal the diversity of what can be achieved within the medium. All paintings on display are available for sale.

In 1804 the Society of Painters in Watercolour was formed, which would be the basis for today’s Royal Watercolour Society, the oldest society of watercolourists in the world. At the time the Royal Academy of Art were the only artistic body, but watercolour artists felt that the academy did not represent the medium sufficiently.  On 30 November 1804, a meeting was held at the Stratford Coffee House on Oxford Street, London, to arrange an annual exhibition of paintings in watercolour, and from this meeting the society was created.  From 1823 until 1938 where held at 6 Pall Mall East. In 1823 the society took out a lease at  A Royal Charter was obtained in 1881 when it would be known as the Royal Society of Painters in Water Colour, and in 1968 it became the Royal Watercolour Society.

Watercolour painting of a brown dog

Artists that are part of the Royal Watercolour Society must be elected.  Until 1956 Horsham School of Art, was located on Hurst Road.  The Master-in-Charge in the 1930s was Vincent Lines, who was elected as a member of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1945 the same year that his tenure in Horsham ended becoming Vice President in 1966.

Today’s exhibition features a selection of artists who are current members of the Royal Watercolour Society. The Society’s home is Bankside Gallery in London where an exhibition of members works are held twice a year.  A recent project has seen the Society open a new gallery in Whitcomb Street, near Trafalgar Square, which is in the same building where the Society displayed their artwork for over 100 years from 1823.

Watercolour of a coastal scene

Published: 11 Jul 2022