Statue of Augustus John overlooking the River Avon
The Club was formed in 1946 by enthusiasts who wished to regularly meet others with the same interest in order to share their experiences, to pass on techniques, to help beginners, and to encourage others.
The first exhibition of members’ work was held at 25 New Street, Salisbury, in 1954. After some years and changes of location, the Club began to exhibit in Fordingbridge. Originally at the now-defunct Albany Hotel (now the Painters Mews site, where the statue of local artist August John stands overlooking the River Avon),subsequent venues included the Victoria Rooms and the Avonway Community Centre. Latterly the annual Summer Exhibition has been held in Fordingbridge Town Hall, usually towards the end of July.
Augustus John and Dorelia lived in Fordingbridge from 1927 for the rest of their lives. Dorelia was a member of Fordingbridge Art Club, and donated the Augustus John trophy to the club. This is still one of our annual awards.
The Club was also well known for the painting competitions organised to encourage children. All schools within a 10 mile radius were invited to participate. The Augustus John Rose Bowl was awarded to the school gaining the total highest points for all their entries.
Previous Patrons have included the late Dowager Countess Radnor. Joe Chamberlain was President for many years. His speciality was mezzotints; he exhibited at the Royal Institute, the Royal Academy, the Paris Salon and most provincial galleries. His widow Peggy, also an artist of some note, was our last President only retiring a few years ago.