Welcome to Suffolk Artists

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Notes on over 4,000 painters & artists that have associations with Suffolk. It also includes a few sculptors and metal workers who were members of the Ipswich Art Club making the listing inclusive of those members. Unlike some, this website is available without subscription to all; it is a totally non-commercial venture by the author. Though every effort is made, I can make no warranty whatsoever as to the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. It may be freely used by anyone but an acknowledgement of the use of my site would be appreciated.

Any additions or corrections would be welcomed.

The definition of a Suffolk artist in this list is in the eyes of the compiler, unless the painter was born, worked and died in the county which would reduce the lists to very few, so I have chosen to be selective with those painters who have tenuous connections with Suffolk. The rolling countyside and the shores of the county were a natural draw to many artists and to have included all those that painted in the county would have made the list too large and reduce its value in promoting the artists of Suffolk. Painters that could have been included are Olive Cook (1912-2002) and her husband Edwin Smith (1912-1971) who spent a month or two each summer at Blackshore on the coast at Southwold, which was next door to artists Donald and Irene Horwood. Sculptor Mary Booth (1885-1969), grand-daughter of the founding Savationist, which family first visited Southwold in 1909, and General Booth purchased a house 'Crapstone' (later 'The Turrets') in North Road where he lived incognito under his wife's maiden name of Soper. Frank Ernest Morant Cox (1850-1919), the London artist, who was a frequent visitor to the town, painted 'Old Todd' the ferryman at Southwold and 'The Ferry' a lost painting of copy of which is hanging in the 'Lord Nelson' inn. Artist John Leith Craxton (1922-2009) spent time in Walberswick in 1937 and Edward Gordon Craig (1872-1966), actor Ellen Terry's son, came to the area with James Pryde (1866-1941) and later returned, inviting his girlfriend to join him in Dunwich, she was followed by a detective on behalf of Craig's estranged wife. Contemporary artist Damien Hirst lived at Southwold while an art student, to learn from resident sculptor Margaret Mellis [q.v.] and talented Arts-and-Crafts metalworker Philip Frederick Alexander lived in Walberswick and received worldwide commissions for his work during the early part of the 1900s. Irish artists that found their way to the Suffolk coast include Norman Garstin, Edwin Hayes, Nathaniel Hone, Joseph Malachy Kavanagh, Aloysius O'Kelly, Alexander Mann and Sarah Purser.

49 & RISING was founded in 1999 by Pam Winbolt. A group of visual artists promoting the innovative work of the older artist across a range of studio practices, with the aim in bringing thought-provoking art to the wider public by exhibiting. The group has established an impressive reputation both regionally and internationally for work that is compelling, thematically diverse and sometimes just purely idiosyncratic range of ideas in paint, textiles, word, bronze, mixed media and paper. The Group also exhibits for charities and in cultural exchange exhibitions; with exhibitions taking place both in the UK and in Germany. Open to new members, professional artists over 49 years old with meetings at exhibiting venues or mutually convenient places. Wall Farm Studios, Skeltons Grove, Kenny Hill, Mildenhall, Suffolk.

EAST ANGLIAN GROUP OF MARINE ARTISTS. In 1979 six amateur and professional marine painters met at the famous 'Butt and Oyster' pub at Pin Mill on the banks of the River Orwell, Suffolk. Inspired by the surroundings and a shared enthusiasm for depicting the maritime scene the East Anglian Group of Marine Artists was brought into being. Soon, others were invited to join, amongst them being some well-known and highly regarded artists with a leaning towards East Coast subject matter. An inaugural exhibition was held in Ipswich early the following year, since when the group has moved from strength to strength with a steady improvement in standards and diversity. The group has a maximum of 35 full members. The group has an association with Mandell's Gallery in Norwich, holding the first of its major annual exhibitions in June 2013. The group will also be regularly exhibiting in galleries throughout East Anglia and beyond. Most recently, the group enjoyed a very successful exhibition at Thompson's gallery in Aldeburgh, Suffolk.

FELIXSTOWE ART GROUP initially named the Deben Art Group was founded in 1952 at Makinsons Framing and Art Shop in High Road West, Felixstowe with Carl Giles [q.v.] as vice president until his death in 1995. The Group`s first Exhibition was held in 1955 at the old Ambulance Hall in Orwell Road which consisted of 78 exhibits, mostly unframed watercolours, the 2010 Exhibition totalled some 200plus works with members being limited to a maximum of four paintings. The Annual Exhibition then moved to the Marlborough Hotel and members of the Rangers Art Club, now the Orwell Art Group of Ipswich, were invited to exhibit as guests, a connection which lasted for many years. In 1980 the Deben Art Group changed to the Felixstowe Deben Art Group and in 1986 to Felixstowe Art Group. The aims of the Group is to encourage art in the community, accepting members from complete beginners as well as experienced artists, providing members with the ability to showcase their work at their Annual Exhibitions as well as at their Gallery on Bent Hill, Felixstowe.

THE HALESWORTH ART GALLERY ASSOCIATION was founded in 1966 by Jack and Sheila Arbuthnot with four other local people: Mary Colby, Daniel Del-Rivo, Jennifer Dickson and Patrick Roberts. The objective was, and still is, to 'exhibit modern painting and sculpture of the highest possible standard on a non-profit-making basis and for the general enjoyment of all; and, it is hoped, for the benefit of the artists since all works are for sale.

HORSESHOE ART CLUB described in the Lowestoft Journal 1986-1992 and the Suffolk Record Office Lowestoft has a file (1176/2/2/8/82) with their first exhibition 20 June 1986 in the Lowestoft Library and the last one noted on 21 February 1992. The file also contains press-cuttings and photographs.

IPSWICH SCHOOL OF ART was founded in 1859 and has trained such artists as Walter Batley, Frederick George Cotman, Maggi Hambling, Arthur Southgate, Leonard Squirrell, William Symonds and many others.

THE KNODISHALL LIFE DRAWING GROUP was founded just after the turn of the century by a small number of like minded people. In 2015 it is being managed by Tony Richards [q.v.] who has been a member for about ten years. Meetings are held fortnightly at the Knodishall Village Hall on Mondays from 10.00-13.00. They are not teaching sessions but three hours of intensive drawing from a model. The group members are of mixed abilities from artists who are new to life drawing to experienced artists who have been drawing for many years. The sessions are run in blocks of five and for each block the charge in 2015 is £25 including refreshments but artists supply their own materials and supports, such as an easel. New members who are seriously interested in drawing from the human figure from life are very welcome. Anyone who wishes to join us may contact Tony Richards on 01728 454921 or by e-mail [email protected]

LOWESTOFT ART GROUP in the late nineteen forties, a group of local artists met to form an Art Society which was to meet monthly in a building,(now the Academy of Music), situated in High Street, Lowestoft but owing to poor support and a lack of funds this group collapsed after only a few months. During the early fifties a second group was formed by the then Principal of the Regent Road Art School a Miss Varley. The meetings were held Monthly at the Morton Road School of Art and continued until the retirement of Miss Varley who moved from the Lowestoft area. Then Arthur Lee and Wilf Sutton formed a group and advertised in the Lowestoft Journal asking those interested to attend a meeting when they obtained six members one of them being Gerald Rose, but after about six months this club also collapsed. There was also a club called ‘Lowestoft and District Arts Society’ and Wilf exhibited at this club, but owing to its very high standard of work was very difficult to join. In 1959 an advertisement appeared in the 'Lowestoft Journal', asking those interested in Art to attend a meeting at The Hatfield Hotel, Lowestoft when the meeting was well attended including Hubert Palfrey, Dr. Roy Vining, Peter Lang, Colin Self, Wilfred Sutton and Peter Beare and the present Lowestoft & District Art Group was duly formed. An early exhibition was held at the hotel but the Group really got underway with its first major exhibition at St. John's Church Hall in December 1960. This was also the venue for their meetings. A few years later the exhibition venue moved to the Copperfield Lounge at the Suffolk Hotel and then the exhibitions moved to South Lowestoft Methodist Church but proved to be an unsuccessful location and the Group moved its exhibitions to the new public library and then the Regent Road Art Centre Gallery but this closed in 1995. They then used Lord Kitchener's Memorial Holiday Centre, Kirkley Cliff for meetings and working evenings.

MARCH HARE COLLECTIVE was founded in 2010 is a group of Suffolk artists, crafters, designer makers with an ethos of handmade and original work. It has its headquarters in Bury St Edmund's.

MARTLESHAM ART GROUP with workshops and exhibitions in watercolour, pastels and oils from landscapes to still life. Annual exhibition in July at St Michael’s Church Hall, Martlesham. Open to new members fees about £44.00 per annum with meetings held at St Michael’s Church Hall, Martlesham, near Ipswich .

MELLIS ARTS came about in 2012 through the efforts of Sally Tyley and a small group of like-minded people. The local Railway Tavern offered their back room to the art club as a permanent gallery which is open whenever the tavern is open and now contains a lively mix of arts and crafts work by the members. The gallery has for sale original paintings in all mediums, prints, artistry in wool and quilting, metalwork, stained glass panels, ceramics and hand-made musical instruments.

METTINGHAM ART GROUP is run by its members with a professional tutor, currently Jenny Windle. A small non profit making group of amateur artists painting for fun. Absolute beginners to experienced artists alike, all are welcome. The Group meets for an art class at Mettingham Village Hall, Rectory Lane, Mettingham, Bungay, Suffolk from 10:00am to 12:30pm on Thursdays. They meet to support the members in the development, improvement and promotion of their personal artistic skills. You would be made most welcome, irrespective of ability.

NORWICH ART CIRCLE was founded in 1885 and in 1928 merged with the Woodpecker Art Club, originally Woodpecker Sketch Club formed in 1887, and was renamed Norfolk and Norwich Art Circle.

THE NORWICH TWENTY GROUP is a group of artists in Norfolk, England. Stimulated by contemporary art movements, the original group of 14 artists, met in November 1944, they intended to raise standards of local professional art to something worthy of the artistic history of Norfolk, by mutual criticism and appraisal of work. On 8 January 1945, they named the Group “The Norwich Twenty Group” and a constitution was signed. N20G continues to flourish with new members. Since 1944, over 270 artists have been members. Some of the artists have included Bernard Reynolds, Edward Barker, Leslie Davenport, Michael Andrews, Mary Newcomb, Hamilton Wood, Jeffery Camp and Cavendish Morton. Since 1945 and until the end of 2013, some 150 art shows have been organised. Shows have taken place in 97 venues in Norwich, 35 in East Anglia, 11 outside East Anglia and 7 in Europe. Many of the artists trained at the Norwich School of Art and Design, now Norwich University of the Arts, Royal College of Art, Slade School of Fine Art, and other well known art schools. Many have travelled widely, studying the arts of other cultures and have exhibited regionally, nationally and internationally. Current members include 88 artists, with three life members and four honorary members. Several NUA graduates are invited to join the group every year, for one year, under the Licentiate Scheme. Meeting challenges in today’s contemporary art, N20G now encompasses artists working in all media from paint, sculpture, installations and digital, ever seeking to nurture new members and forms of art. From mid-2015 the chairman is Martin Laurance, Contemporary Artist.
Founder members
First eight members who attended the inaugural meeting on 13 November 1944
•Walter Thomas Watling (1885–1956)
•Maidie Buckingham (1901–1988)
•Henley G. Curl (1910–1989)
•Margaret Fitzsimmons-Hall
•Tom Griffiths (1901–1990)
•Aileen Law
•Wilfred S. Pettitt (1904–1978)
•Bernard Reynolds (1915–1997)
Next admissions in 1944/45
•Edward Barker (1918–1983)
•Leslie Davenport (1905–1973)
•Leslie Moore (1913–1976)
•John Trudgill (1916–1986)
•Jim Starling (1905–1996)
•James Fletcher-Watson (1913–2004)

PAINT CLUB EAST founded in 2012 is an Arts Council supported organisation for the professional development of painters in the Eastern region. Its aim is to develop dialogue across the East Anglian region around issues in contemporary painting. They have hosted talks by Rosie Snell, Marcus Harvey, Peter Ashton-Jones and Daniel Sturgis in two supporting venues-Firstsite and The Minories Galleries in Colchester.


SOCIETY OF EAST ANGLIAN WATERCOLOURISTS inaugurated in 2007 with the help and guidance of the Royal Watercolour Society and their then president Richard Sorrell, and has recently adopted the title of the Society of East Anglian Watercolourists. Members are drawn from Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk. The membership covers a wide range of abilities, including many professional painters and some who do not paint at all. It holds two exhibitions a year, one Member’s Exhibition and one Select Exhibition where an independent committee will have at least one member of the RWS on the panel along with two professional people from the world of the visual arts. There is the ‘President’s Award’ which is given by the President of the Royal Watercolour Society which guarantees the winning painting a place at the RWS Open Exhibition at the Bankside Gallery the following Spring. The exhibitions are held at the Edmund Gallery in Bury St Edmunds. The society runs one-day classes with tutors such as Richard Bawden RWS, Charles Williams RWS. NEAC, Olwen Jones RWS, Thomas Plunkett RWS, Geoff Pimlott RWS and others are drawn from the RWS, the New English Art Club and from our own professional members.

SOUTHWOLD ART CIRCLE commences in 1945 with the launch of a summer art exhibition by Southwold and District Art Group in the old Drill Hall later the exhibition moved to the large ground-floor room at the Homestead on South Green but in 1961 the exhibition returned to the Drill Hall. In 1966 the activities of the Art Group, including the exhbitions, were taken over by the Southwold Art Circle which had been founded in 1960.

SUDBURY CREATIVES has been set up to encourage more interaction between creative people in and around Sudbury. Members can create their own webpage on the site and upload their own biography, pictures and captions for others to view. It also acts as a ‘showcase’ for local talent. An online gallery of work to encourage awareness of who’s doing what, and to whom, out there. And it is designed to work at both professional and amateur levels.

THE WAVENEY SPRINGS ART COLLECTIVE was formed in 2008 so that artists and makers living and working within approximately a 15 mile radius of Diss could come together to share ideas, give workshops and exhibit as a group. Our name is derived from the fact that we bridge the Norfolk/Suffolk border from both sides of the Upper Waveney Valley.