The spell of Venice may challenge many an artistic talent… how to capture that elusive pallet of colour, the play of light on water and buildings, never mind being able to convey the richness of its history in a painting? Thousands have attempted it but so few have truly mastered it – now, visitors to the new art exhibition can see one who has, a master who Her Majesty the Queen has appointed to The Royal Watercolour Society: Dennis Roxby Bott RWS.
The exhibition Dennis Roxby Bott RWS: A Showcase features seven stunning watercolours of one of the world’s great cities, Venice. It portrays the fantastic architecture and the well-known canals, but also the humble boat yard - humble yet noble - for the yard portrays the essence of the city. Just as the double decker bus is seen as ‘London’, so the boat yard harks back to the heart of Venice. Yet it takes an artist’s eye to see that and successfully portray it in watercolours.
Dennis, whose work has been collected by admirers across the world, lives in Rudgwick, where he settled around 30 years ago. He usually exhibits in London on the South Bank. However, for two months Horsham District Council’s Horsham Museum and Art Gallery will be showcasing his stunning work, with scenes close to home including views of Brighton, London and Oxford, where his grasp of perspective and love of architecture enables him to master buildings in landscapes - something he portrays in his Venetian views.
With over 50 years of working with watercolours it is not surprising that his mastery earned him a place amongst the Royal Watercolour Society, a society formed to champion the medium over 200 years ago. Nor should it be surprising that in Malta, Dennis should find inspiration for watercolour views: a quintessential art form to portray that that most English of our continental cousins nestling in the heart of the Mediterranean. It is not though only landscapes and architecture that appeals to Dennis - watercolours of classic cars and the boats at Shoreham have also inspired his brush.
The remarkable feature of Dennis’s work is not only the mastery of perspective, of the brush and the pallet, but also the eye - seeing the minute detail can transform a painting. One scene of Venice shows a magnificent building, but it is the outside lamp - unlit, just the metal framework - that draws the eye and dominates the picture. It could in lesser hands be ignored or painted out, yet it makes the picture.
There is not only an opportunity to see the fantastic paintings, but also to acquire some of the works with a 10 month interest-free loan, thanks to Own Art.
The exhibition Dennis Roxby Bott RWS: A Showcase is part of Horsham’s Piazza Italia festival and the Museum is open on Good Friday and Easter Monday (10.30-4pm) as well as its usual hours of Monday to Saturday 10-5pm.