Scrapbook of Walter Tyrwhitt, OAS founder and watercolourist

A couple of years ago the Oxford Art Society took into it’s possession a scrapbook which was originally owned and compiled by Walter Tyrwhitt, one of the founders of the society.  The book was found by honorary OAS member Rona while researching the history of the society.  It was part of an estate sale at Chiswick Auctions and, luckily for us, the auction had passed and the book hadn’t sold.  Rona purchased the book and kindly offered it to the society.

Among many fascinating pieces of information documenting the life of Tyrwhitt it contains reviews of Oxford Art Society exhibitions from the 19th and 20th century. Although yellowing and starting to fade, they capture a slice of the society’s past and also late 19th century/early 20th century ideas of taste and culture. A few of the pages and images from the scrapbook are reproduced below.

Tyrwhitt, a pupil of Radley College and alumnus of Christ Church, Oxford, was himself was an accomplished watercolourist and frequently exhibited his works in Society exhibitions and at the Royal Academy. He travelled widely in the Middle East, capturing the architecture and local scenes in bright, colourful watercolours. He was married to the painter and draughtsman, and friend of Gwen and Augustus John, Ursula Tyrwhitt.

The article below from The Magazine of Art, 1898, illustrates our historic relationship with the Town Hall, Oxford.

The Magazine of Art, February 1898

Below is a photo from the Oxford Journal showing a fine use of space from the Oxford Art Society hanging committee of 1909!

Oxford Journal, 23rd November 1909

The following page shows an interesting selection of clippings reviewing the 1910 exhibition, including an article from The Oxford Times (top right) berating the public and the city for it’s poor support of the society.

A selection of clippings from 1910

In the Oxford Chronicle article below (top left) the society’s annual report of last year’s exhibition is recorded, which notes “The Private View was crowded, and 900 visitors paid for admission, which is satisfactory“.

The 1923 exhibition certainly brightened up one reviewer’s “gloomy afternoon” as described in another article from the Oxford Chronicle (bottom right), who goes on to suggest a reason for the popularity of watercolour –

We English are a practical cleanly, travelling race. Can its real attraction lie in its comparative cleanness and the ease with which it can be carried. A young lady need never appear like Tweedledum or Tweedledee prepared for battle when she starts on a sketching trip.

More clippings, this time from 1923

1925 and the hanging committee haven’t lost their mastery of wall space.

Oxford Journal, October 18th 1925

The picture below shows Walter himself (right) at the Ashmolean alongside fellow society members, enjoying the Private View from 1930.

The Oxford Mail, 23rd October 1930

OAS Open Exhibition 2018

Philip Mould OBE and chairman Lucy Stopford at the opening of the Oxford Art Society Open Exhibition 2018



Oxford Art Society Members Exhibition 2018

A packed gallery of artists and art enthusiasts enjoyed a fabulous evening at the Members Exhibition Private View on Friday.  Martin Kemp, Emeritus Professor of the History of Art, Trinity College, Oxford, opened the show with an informative talk on art and the role of the Society.

Lucy Stopford, OAS Chair, introducing Professor Martin Kemp

A panel of Honorary Members were given the unenviable task of selecting an artist from the exhibition to receive the Honorary Members’ Prize of £100, which is provided voluntarily from their membership subscriptions.  This went to Tom Croft for his wonderful portrait ‘Loz C’.  The Broad Canvas Prize, a £50 voucher kindly donated by Broad Canvas art shop, Oxford, went to Beatrice Hoffman for her lovely sturdy horse sculpture.

A review of the show from Broad Canvas can be read here.

The exhibition continues until Friday 23rd March so, if you want to experience the work of some of the regions most talented artists, do make some time to visit.

Venue: The Sewell Centre Gallery, Radley College, Abingdon, OX14 2HR
Dates: 24rd February to 23rd March
Times: Daily 10am to 4pm
Refreshments available at gallery coffee shop

The Sewell Centre Gallery hosts a range of exhibitions throughout the year, supporting up and coming artists as well as exhibiting established artists such as Tracey Emin, Bridget Riley and Eduardo Paolozzi.


Oxford Art Society Open Exhibition 2017

Art lovers, young and old, converged on The Cloister Gallery at St John the Evangelist Church last Friday, to enjoy the official opening of the Oxford Art Society Open exhibition 2017.

Our gratitude goes to Paul Hobson, Director of Modern Art Oxford, who opened the exhibition, and who had the unenviable task of choosing the winner of the Young Artist Competition from a fantastic selection of work.  The winning piece was a painting by Sam Hampton, called ‘Charlie Company’.

The exhibition is open until Sunday 1st October (see below for opening hours), so you still have time to visit and enjoy a great mix of work.

Here are some photos of the event to wet your appetite.

Paul Hobson and Lucy Stopford, chair of the Oxford Art Society

Photos above courtesy of Cecilia Paulsson

Awards News

Lucy Stopford, OAS Chair – work selected for BP Portrait Awards

Our Chairwoman and portrait artist, Lucy Stopford, has had one of her stunning oil portraits selected for this years BP Portrait Awards.  The portrait is of Lucy’s friend, Dr Tim Moreton, who worked as a Registrar at the National Portrait Gallery.

Dr Tim Moreton by Lucy Stopford

See this Oxford Times article to learn a bit more about Lucy’s work and the BP Portrait Award.

And here’s a link to Lucy’s page on the National Portrait Gallery BP Award website, where you can find details of how to visit the exhibition.


OAS says farewell to outgoing Chairman Peter Farley

At the recent 124th Oxford Art Society AGM Peter Farley stepped down as our Chairman.  His excellent care, inclusive style, friendly manner and careful direction will be much missed by members of the Oxford Art Society and wider arts community.  He was elected an Honorary Member for his outstanding services to the society and presented with a gift voucher from Broad Canvas in thanks for all his hard work.

We now have a new Chairman to welcome in to the society – it was agreed at the same meeting this appointment should be put in the very able hands of Lucy Stopford.  As members are very aware, prior to taking on her new role, Lucy had been working hard behind the scenes as our Membership Secretary.  We wish her great success in her role of Chairman of the Society.

Lucy Stopford, Chair, presenting Peter Farley with his gift voucher
Anna Nicholson, Honourary Secretary, Peter Farley and Lucy Stopforld, Chair
Members' Exhibition News

OAS Members exhibition 2017

The members exhibition this year was opened by Professor Christopher Brown, CBE, now Director Emeritus (of the Ashmolean).

Professor Christopher Brown, CBE and Peter Farley, Chairman of the Oxford Art Society, opening the exhibition

The private view at the Town Hall in Oxford was a great success and as you can see from the photo below we had a crowded house!

You still have time to catch the exhibition as it runs until Sunday 26th of February.  The Town Hall is also hosting the Oxford International Art Fair on the 24th 25th and 26th.  If you make it for the final weekend you’ll be able to enjoy some fabulous works of art provided artists local to oxford and artists from further afield.

We look forward to seeing you there.

OAS member and painter John Somerscales entertaining the crowds at the private view.

Behind the scenes – the hanging committee at work!

OAS Welcomes new members

Earlier this year a merry group of new members gathered to enjoy the warmth and hospitality of The Bear and Ragged Staff pub in Cumnor for the new members tea party. The new members were joined by Peter Farley, the chairman, who formally welcomed them to the society, and then tea drinking, cake eating and much chatting about art ensued.

New members braving the January weather for a group photo
left to right: Cassandra Wall, Maeve Bayton, Caroline Ritson, Kathy Turner
John Dew, Tara Parker-Woolway, Andreea Zahiu, Mike Jones and Jenny Fay

Oxford Art Society Open Exhibition 2016

To celebrate 125 years of the Oxford Art Society, artists from all around Oxfordshire have come together to put on a large and exciting exhibition featuring some of the best talent in the county.  There are some 180 works on show by OAS members and non-members including paintings, prints and sculptures, both figurative and abstract.

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Will Gompertz in conversation with one the entrants of the Young Artist Competition

Will Gompertz, the BBC Arts Editor, generously gave his time to judge the Society’s Young Artist Competition.  He had a difficult choice to make from all the entries but, after some deliberation, he decided on a work by Oxford Artist Arthur Laidlaw, entitled Apamea (Colonnade), a work using an unusual combination of Laser Toner, Acrylic, Primer, Masking Tape, Etching ink on Planning Paper. Arthur is just setting out on his career as an artist so the £1000 prize that was generously donated by an anonymous art lover will be sure to help him on his way.

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Arthur Laidlaw and ‘Apamea (Colonnade)’
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The winner receiving his cheque from Will Gompertz and Peter Farley, the Oxford Art Society Chairman

Will Gompertz said during his speech at the exhibition ‘We’re living in extraordinary times in which we need art more than ever to help us navigate and understand what’s going on. That’s why this year’s OAS Young Artist Competition is so important. Art has a unique ability to identify and highlight the truth, as do young people. The combination of the two should be revelatory’.

The Exhibition is open every day 10.00 to 4.00pm and continues until the 2nd October at SJE Arts, The Cloister Gallery, St John the Evangelist Church, Iffley Road, Oxford.

OAS Open 2016 4

The Oxford Art Society is an exhibiting Society of Painters, Printmakers and Sculptors and prides itself on encouraging the practice of Fine Arts. This anniversary exhibition provides an ideal opportunity to showcase both the young and inspirational talent the city and surrounding area has to offer, as well as viewing the works of more established artists.

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Jericho Artweeks Lecture 2016

The Artist in the Museum

The Oxford Art Society was very pleased to present for the first time, the Jericho Artweek Lecture, sponsored by The Oxford University Press. It was held on a wet and miserable Tuesday evening the 10th May. In spite of the weather, it was a full house at St Barnabas Church that greeted Dr Alexander Sturgis the Director of the Ashmolean Museum.

Jericho Lecture 2016 1

The title of the lecture was “The Artist in the Museum” Dr. Sturgis was introduced by our own President Johannes von Stumm. Dr Sturgis presented us with a most interesting, illustrated talk, looking at the way artists interact and react with works of art in museums and how museums engage with contemporary artists and what can emerge from the encounter.

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Johannes von Stumm and Dr Alexander Sturgis

The Ashmolean has a long track record of doing just that. Now coming to the end is an exhibition featuring Elizabeth Price who has created work by looking at the collections and archive material in the Ashmolean and the Pitt Rivers. “Beyond the Balcony” artists Brook and Black have worked with two local community groups MIND and Young Dementia to explore and reinterpret Manet’s ‘Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus’. Other examples he gave were, of Picasso’s interpretations of Las Meniñas and the work of Paula Rego whilst she was artist in residence at the National. The insight he gave us in the way in which museums work with artists was most informative.

Jericho Lecture 2016 4

All in all it was a most enjoyable evening Dr Sturgis has set the bar high for future Jericho Artweek Lectures. The Oxford Art Society looks forward to presenting next year’s Lecture. Our thanks go to Lucy Stopford, Jane Hope and Anna Nicholson for organising this most successful event.

Peter Farley, Chairman of the Oxford Art Society


Members' Exhibition News

Oxford Art Society Members Exhibition 2016 – Woodstock

The Oxford Art Society Members Exhibition was officially opened on Saturday by Councillor Elizabeth Poskitt the Town Mayor of Woodstock.  This year sees the society return to the Oxfordshire Museum which is set in a lovely 18th Century House in the centre of Woodstock – well worth a visit itself.

Below are some photos from the exhibition to wet your appetite.  The exhibition is now on until 17th April (see below for opening times) so there is plenty of time to make a trip to Woodstock to enjoy a wonderful of exhibition of paintings, printmaking, collage and sculpture.  Most of the items on show are for sale so you also have the chance of purchasing a beautiful piece of original art work by a local artist.

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Councillor Elizabeth Poskitt opening the exhibition.

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Members 2016 2

Members 2016 1

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Peter Farley (OAS chairman) with Molly Barlow (exhibitions co-ordinator) putting her final touches to the display.
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Ceramicist, Crabby Taylor, adjusting one of her beautiful hand built pots.



Johannes von Stumm, OAS President, in Japan and China

Johannes von Stumm, the president of the Oxford Art Society, has been busy working towards a couple of exhibitions in Kyoto, Japan this winter.  He’ll be showing work at the Japan Art Forum (JARFO) gallery ( and the Dohjidai Gallery of Art ( Both exhibitions run until the 1st December.

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‘Floating Stone’
60 cm high, granite and glass

Also, Johannes’ sculpture ‘Mother and Son, Father and Daughter’ has been enlarged for the Changsha Sculpture Park in China.

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‘Mother and Son, Father and Daughter’
Five meters high in stainless steel.

More information about Johannes and images of his work can be found on his website