Out of India

25th July 2016

Out of India October 2016

Paul Treasure, Kerala 2, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 cm

Paul Treasure, Kerala 2, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 cm

This autumn the Moncrieff-Bray gallery, in West Sussex, celebrates the intoxicating spirit of India with a three -week exhibition. This showcases new work from four leading contemporary artists who interpret the spirit of India in their own style.

Exhibition dates

Saturday 8th October – Sunday 29  October 2016

Private views:  Saturday 8th October 3 – 7 pm and Sunday 9th October 11 am – 1 pm

Exhibiting artists:
Penelope Anstice, Tobit Roche, Paul Treasure, Victoria Threlfall


Penelope Anstice, Grain Market, Jodjpur, gouache, 19 x 37 cm

Penelope Anstice, Grain Market, Jodhpur, gouache, 19 x 37 cm

Penelope Anstice’s latest body of work was created from two separate trips to India: one to Kerala and Calcutta; and more recently to Jodhpur in Rajasthan. Since her first visit to Jodhpur in 1990 she had always wanted to return to the city which, for her, “encompasses everything India has to offer for an artist.” She is inspired by the ‘Blue’ city’s fascinating architecture, its ancient walls, the towering Mehrangarh Fort, and the vibrant markets teeming with life. “I like to sit amongst it all and paint the permanently shifting scene,” she says, “to try and capture an impression very quickly.”

In this show, Penelope’s work is a mixture of quick on-the- spot observations in gouache and watercolour, of figures and movement in the streets and markets, and of more considered works in oil developed back in the studio. “As well as the colour and energy,” she muses, “I am trying to convey something of the pervading and inexplicable mystery of the place; the hidden side of India.”


Tobit Roche, TheLakePalace Udaipur oil on board 18 x 23-cm

Tobit Roche, TheLake Palace Udaipur oil on board 18 x 23-cm

Tobit Roche has “been under the spell of India” since his teenage years which were spent in Delhi and he maintains that India is still his spiritual home.  Roche grew up amongst artists; his father (who was born in India) was the poet and novelist Paul Roche, who modelled for the Bloomsbury artist Duncan Grant.  His landscapes are imbued with the particular haze and atmosphere of the Indian subcontinent.

The paintings in this exhibition can be divided into those Roche completed in the studio from memory, and those he made en plein air using a homemade pochade paint box. This allowed him to carry three wet panels and a fresh pallet on his shoulder while trekking in Rajasthan and the Himalayas, in the spirit of countless pioneering painters of the past.

These paintings are “about longing and nostalgia,” says Roche. “I show a view of India which is intensely personal and is based on my emotional reaction to this country. When I am there, I get very moved by the spirit of the landscape, which is the spirit of the people.”



Paul Treasure travelled to Goa from Kerala for this exhibition that  he says is his “response to the experience of that place.” The paintings express his feelings of joy. For Paul, “India is a magical place that helps to focus the mind on accepting what it means to be a human being today. It leaves me feeling inspired, elated . . . I try to explore these emotions further in my paintings and experiment with many different mediums and materials.”

Paul’s style is expressive, energetic and full of colour. Some of his paintings incorporate recycled materials refecting the way even rubbish has a value in India.  His abstract works capture the emotion of the country while his landscapes depict the interplay between light, land, water and sky and the vibrant colours of the country. His bold use of palette knife, brush strokes and mixed media result in distinctive mark-making and vigorous, textured paintings.

His work is both figurative and abstract and gives a sense of everyday life in India. “What strikes me most is the symbiosis of life with plants, animals and people, all trying to get along and survive in harmony with each other. I am interested in what manifests when I mix my experience of spending time in India with the process of adding paint and other materials to a canvas in the studio. Every day is a surprise”, he explained.

Victoria Threlfall struck out  from Rajasthan into Madhya Pradesh away from the popular Indian tourist destinations . Here she visited Hindu pilgrimage sites along the Narmada river and the ancient city of Mandu.

“Leaving bitterly cold and wan London in February and arriving in India  is an almost overwhelming  experience. The heat, noise, smells and filth both beguile and repel but the colour is always enthralling with seemingly  impossible juxtapositions  of hue and tone somehow managing to look harmonious.”

Painting in the streets presents problems, mad dogs, altercations with cows, children sticking their fingers in your paints, amorous shop keepers to mention just a few but it is also a chance to engage with people, to talk and  sometimes to be offered hospitality. India will always be unknowable to outsiders, in my paintings all I can do is to try and convey some of that mystery and the excitement I experience in a country where colour is a living presence, a way of life rather than  an afterthought’.

Artist profiles:

Penelope Anstice. A graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, Penelope lived in London and Amsterdam for 16 years and has travelled and painted widely in India, South East Asia and Morocco. She has exhibited her work throughout the UK and undertaken many commissions, both private and corporate. Penelope teaches at the Heatherley School of Fine Art in London and for private groups in Scotland and Italy. Since moving back to Scotland she has returned to painting the landscape she grew up in.

Tobit Roche. Born in Manchester in 1954. Tobit spent his childhood in Hong Kong, Canada and India. After studying at the Ontario College of Art, Canada, he spent a year living and working with Duncan Grant at Charleston, Sussex before completing his studies at Camberwell School of Art. Tobit divides his time between London and Hastings and travels frequently to India. Tobit recalls being inspired by a Jackson Pollock painting he saw at an exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada when he was nine years old. His fans include the actress Cate Blanchett and the late David Bowie.

Paul Treasure. Born in 1961  in Gloucestershire, Paul  studied at Cheltenham College of Art, following which he spent two years working for a fine art auctioneer. He then moved to London working from a studio in Holborn and started taking commissions for public works of art, becoming  an established artist working worldwide.

He now lives and works in Hampshire where the landscape is a constant source of inspiration to him. He frequently travels abroad, and in 1991 took a year’s sabbatical to paint whilst travelling the world, a journey which took him through Africa, India, Southeast Asia and Central America. Following this, in 1993, he was commissioned to be expedition artist on the first ever crossing of the Taklamakan Desert in North West China for three months, after which he exhibited these works at various shows, including the Royal Geographical Society in London. He continues to exhibit around the country, whilst still travelling abroad regularly to find inspiration for his paintings.

Victoria Threlfall.  After studying English and History of Art at St Andrews University Victoria went onto Camberwell  School of Art to do a B.A in Painting. A travel scholarship took her to Northern Spain where she discovered the delights of painting in a country where the sun could be relied on and she has continued to paint abroad whenever possible returning to India and Morocco and making a memorable trip to Eritrea before it became impossible for tourists to enter the country. Whether abstract or figurative, light and colour are always the subject of her paintings.


THE MONCRIEFF-BRAY GALLERY is based in a group of 18th-century former farm buildings on the edge of the Petworth Estate, West Sussex and holds regular exhibitions of contemporary art and sculpture. A spectacular oak framed barn houses the interior gallery space, and the surrounding landscaped gardens are an ideal setting for domestic sculpture. The gallery is committed to showing both established artists and those who are not widely represented elsewhere. Just over an hour’s drive from central London, the gallery is located in the heart of the South Downs National Park, enjoying spectacular views over the Rother Valley and up to the South Downs.

Former curator and arts writer Elspeth Moncrieff set up the Moncrieff-Bray Gallery in 2005. An experienced curator, she started her career at the V&A; as a former art market correspondent for The Art Newspaper and Deputy Editor of Apollo magazine, she applies her experience of the international art world to her South Downs gallery.

Open Wed to Sat: 11 am to 4pm
Closed Sundays, but we welcome visitors by appointment at any time.

For further high res images and information contact
Elspeth Moncrieff: mail@moncrieff-bray.com
Tel: 07867 978 414