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The last week of November was marked by the opening of the New English Art Club’s 2012 exhibition at the Mall Galleries, The Mall, London – almost literally a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace. To celebrate, the Club (NEAC) hosted a Critic’s Lunch. Those who attended saw many interesting and beautiful paintings and heard about NEAC’s scholarships for artists learning their craft.
NEAC began in 1885 when a group of young artists rejected what they saw as the stuffiness of the Royal Academy (RA –then a very different institution from the one we know today). They decided to form their own club, exhibiting for the first time in 1886. Early members included Augustus John, Walter Sickert, Stanley Spencer, Paul Nash, and Duncan Grant.
Many members went on to become RA members and today a number of NEAC members are also Royal Academicians. Nonetheless, the ethos of the RA is different. While NEAC uses the RA’s famous Life Room for some of its courses, it concentrates on the teaching and practice of observational drawing – something that few art schools teach these days. NEAC awards two scholarships each year, allowing the recipients to attend any of its courses without charge and giving each of them the support of a mentor. This is an established artist who can give encouragement and guidance to the scholar.
NEAC is a registered charity, and depends on support from its sponsors. The scholarships and annual art show cannot continue without financial support, and while NEAC is fortunate in having a number of strong supporters, it does need more to continue its work. You can help by becoming a Friend of the New English Art Club – for as little as £25 a year you will receive a regular newsletter and invitations to all the Club’s exhibitions, and be offered the opportunity to visit artists’ studios.
For more about this year’s exhibition, see our review in December’s Cassone. The show is on until 9 December.