RYE ART GALLERY

1957 - ?

Rye Art Gallery at 107 High Street, Rye, Sussex was founded by trust deed in 1957 by the artist Mary Stormont (1859–1935) who, together with her husband, artist Howard Stormont (1871–1962), bequeathed their studio house for the formation of an Art Gallery in Rye. Soon afterwards, the Gallery was bequeathed a second house in the adjacent High Street, by artist and trustee Eileen Easton (1890–1965). To start with the two premises had distinct functions, the Stormont Studio showed work from the permanent collection, which had started with the Stormonts’ personal collection of British art, augmented by the Trust to include other important donations, bequests, and purchases. On the High Street, the Easton Rooms held exhibitions and sales of art and craft by contemporary regional and national artists and makers. Today, the two buildings are linked together to form one continuous premises with six exhibition spaces and the Gallery is unique in its blend of permanent collection and contemporary art and craft for sale. The Permanent Collection, with a collection development policy focusing on British Art of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, holds work by major national and regional figures including Edward John Burra (1905-1976) and Paul Nash (1889-1946), who both lived in Rye, also Duncan Grant (1885-1978), Vanessa Bell (1879-1961), Ivon Hitchens, John Randall Bratby (1928-1992), Eric Peter Gill (1914-2009), John Egerton Christmas Piper (1903-1992), Frederick George Rees Cuming (1930-2022) and many others. Suffolk artists who exhibited at the Rye Art Gallery include Lillias August and Gill Green.