Sculpture and Painting for Summer 2018

23rd April 2018

Saturday 19 May 2018 – Sunday 17 June 2018

Private Views: Saturday 19 May 3.0 pm – 8.0 pm and Sunday 20 May 11 am -1.30 pm

The Moncrieff-Bray Gallery presents its summer sculpture and painting exhibition, with works displayed in the magnificent Sussex barn and sculpture arranged across the surrounding three-acre rural gardens.

Selected with a commitment to quality, innovation and originality, a wide range of work will be on show; small-scale sculpture and paintings in the gallery, and in the garden large-scale works in all media, both abstract and figurative – many of which have been commissioned specially for the exhibition.

Penny Hardy’s life size The Kiss is the perfect image to feature, since the show opens on the day of  the Royal Wedding.  It seems to move in the wind although made entirely of recycled scrap metal.  Trudy Redfern, painter of the Queen’s horses, has sculpted a  life-size driftwood horse after combing the beaches of Britain during  the winter storms.  Jilly Sutton’s Architect, cast in verdigris bronze resin from the original wood assemblage, reflects the chaos and resolution associated with building projects.

Interior pieces include Nicholas Lees’s sculptures made from hand thrown porcelain which is then turned on the wheel.  Their subtle surfaces set up shimmering patterns of optical illusion.  Stuart Anderson works directly in clay from his subject. He has a special affinity with horses and greyhounds as subject matter capturing,  the sheer joy of natural rhythms of line and form. Arabella Brooke  represents women,challenging  conventional ideas about female beauty and womanhood, and exploring identity and relationships.

The artists on show are drawn from all corners of the British Isles.  Landscapes by Hannah Woodman and Gareth Edwards reflect the long traditions of Cornish landscape paintings with their emphasis on abstraction, paint surface and shimmering tonal qualities.  Kate Corbett-Winder’s work is rooted in the Welsh Marches merging abstraction with memory and observation.  Peter White’s monumental vessels painted in oil and wax media stir up associations of the archeology and landscape of the Far North West of Scotland where he lives.  Scottish artist, Leonie Gibbs’s  work explodes with colour, exploring the intensity of deep pure pigments.  While Russian artist, Svetlana Rumak conjures the lost innocence of her Ukranian childhood with her whimsical figures hovering between childhood and adolesence.

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.

Oona Campbell Recent Landscapes

7th September 2017


Oona Campbell’s  recent paintings are united by the dramatic cloudscapes that roll across our skies and nature’s light effects especially at dawn and dusk.  A group of paintings of Petworth Park Lake at sunset forms the focus of the show together with images of  the long sandy beach 
of West Wittering.  Further afield, Oona explores  the mist of an early morning on  the Jurassic coast of Dorset and the wild moors  of Scotland’s  Applecross Peninsular.

Oona has been familiar with Sussex since she was a student at Brighton Art School where she fell in love with the South Downs but is equally at home exploring the Highlands.  She was delighted to return to Petworth Park explaining, ‘Over my years of visiting there, no matter the weather, it has always been a place of calmness and beauty. Among these new Petworth paintings there is an early spring evening where the golden sun on the lake meets the mysterious night as it gently folds in. The painting captures that evanescent moment. Sunset and evening light is never quite the same, and always inspires thoughts for painting’.

Speaking of the exhibition Oona describes her painting process. ‘My paintings start with observation and develop with memory and imagination. For me physical observation is a necessary prelude to painting, but it is memory of the atmosphere that allows the subject to burgeon. Memory enables a vivid reliving of the dynamic qualities of  watery mist, the setting of the sun, lashing storm rain, or the aural turbulence of thunder. Landscape is always changing before your eyes, and in an instance you can sense a picture being born.’

Juxtaposed with Oona’s figurative work we are showing,  Abstract landscapes by Jonathan Gibbs, Susie Leiper Tuëma Pattie and Sarah Warley Cummings

Tuëma Pattie lives in Duncton and has painted both the Sussex landscape and further afield. She is a long-term exhibitor at the gallery with her exuberant paintings celebrating the joy of nature.  Sarah Warley-Cummings is another Sussex artist who has made a series of abstract prints exploring the shapes and colours of the countryside. We are very lucky to exhibit two Scottish artists.  Susie Leiper, whose work combines calligraphy and landscape.   One of the country’s finest calligraphers she is also trained in the techniques of Chinese art.  Her work unites eastern and western traditions of painting.   Jonathan Gibbs is a senior tutor at Edinburgh College of Art and a leading wood engraver his multi-layered paintings  combine present observation with a life-time of images and motifs remembered.

Wednesday to Saturday 11 am to 4 pm but we welcome visitors by appointment at any time.

FURTHER INFORMATION: contact. Elspeth Moncrieff   Tel: 07867 978 414 –

John Hitchens and Anthony Garratt

5th April 2017

Exploring the Land: Two Ways of Seeing

Exhibition dates:                Saturday 13 May — Saturday 17 June 2016

Private View:                          Saturday 13 May, 3 pm—8pm

This joint exhibition explores the way two artists have responded to the landscape of Sussex both of them painting en plein aire in an expressive spontaneous manner. John Hitchen’s work in the exhibition spans a 45 year period from the 1970s to the present day and presents a retrospective of his evolving style. Anthony’s paintings were all completed over the last year.

Although he has painted much further afield, John’s work is deeply influenced by the landscape surrounding his home in West Sussex. He also spent several weeks each summer staying at Pagham harbor and in the 1970s created a series of paintings capturing the atmospheric effects of the beach and salt marshes especially at dawn and dusk. The paintings in the exhibition begin with his early representational works through his increasing experiments in abstraction where sky and horizon are lost in broad gestural brush strokes, at times the flattened picture plane opening into glimpses of distant vistas.

In John’s latest work, gestural evocations of the land are expressed in complex compositions of flat articulate colour. Reuniting these works separated by so many years reveals fascinating connections and relationships. The paintings display recurring themes, the rhythms of the seasons, the structure of the land, vistas glimpsed through deep woodland, lines of strata and sediment, contour lines of hills and fields. The exhibition is an homage to John’s continuing absorption with the organic, changing nature of the landscape whether on a grand sweeping scale or reduced to abstracted patterns of plough lines and hedge rows. The artist’s eye is continually searching and exploring, never content to stand still as John himself says, ‘everything that has gone before is part of what is now’.

Anthony’s work by contrast is concerned primarily with the weather, and the physical experience and impact of a landscape. He researches his paintings by exposing himself to the elements, winter storms, summer heat, racing tides, scudding clouds and eery moonlight. A trip to Sussex last year inspired him to return and create the work for this show.

For Anthony, South Sussex from the downs to the coast offered an abundance of sensory information. Starting at Petworth House, what immediately struck him is that the grassy hills and lines from pathways excavated by Capability Brown are echoed naturally further South as he headed through the Downs. As the light hits and shifts around the lake in front of Petworth House, the eye is naturally led from tree to curve, to water, to sky and in some respects the landscape has already been painted.

‘Painting the coast from Sesley to West Wittering is a fascinating and atmospheric journey which feels far removed from the rolling hills of the Downs’, he explained. Massive vistas and salt marshes enable the experience of raw weather where the continually changing landscape is molded by the tidal state and weather. ‘The paintings are an impulsive reaction to visiting somewhere for the very first time and capturing the most immediate senses; the sound underfoot, the movement of the weather and land, the smell of the marshes and sea’, he continued

Anthony works by splattering and dribbling, paint across canvases, sometimes mixed with earth and sand, and rust. Often working in the open air, brushes, knives, fingers, palette knives, all play their part and from the seeming chaos an image gradually emerges.


Notes on the Artists

John Hitchens

John Hitchens grew up in Graffham, West Sussex and studied at Bath Academy of Art, Corsham Court.    Both his father Ivon Hitchens (1893-1979) and his grandfather Alfred Hitchens (1861-1942) were painters and his son Simon Hitchens is a Sculptor. The wooded Sussex landscape nestling below the South Downs has been a major influence on his work but he also spent extended periods painting in Scotland and South Wales. He began his career as a figurative landscape painting but began experimenting with abstraction in the late 1970s.   From 1990 he has painted in a fully abstract style with a restricted palette of earth pigments. John’s work was exhibited throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s at the Marjorie Parr Gallery and Montpellier Galleries in London and the John Paul Gallery in Chichester. His work is in numerous public collections, including Brighton Art Gallery, Bradford City Art Gallery, Brasenose College Oxford, Chase Manhattan Bank New York, and the Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne

Anthony Garratt

Anthony studied at Chelsea College of Art, followed by Falmouth College of Arts for a design degree. Having worked as a designer for a few years he decided to become a fulltime painter. He is a member of the Royal West of England Academy where he has exhibited regularly. He has also shown at the RA Summer Exhibition and the Royal College of Arts Henry Moore Gallery. ‘This is Bristol’ listed Anthony Garratt ‘as the next David Hockney’. Anthony was invited to paint the Diamond Jubilee Pageant from the Millennium Bridge.  He has been involved in three inspirational outdoor projects. In September 2014 – Alfresco on Tresco in which he worked on four massive paintings in the open air, leaving them in situ exposed to the elements for four months. He followed this with a similar project from March – October 2015 FOUR Angelsey in North Wales. In 2016 he completed High Low an installation in the Snowdonia National Park which consisted of one enormous outdoor painting which was left floating on lake Llyn Llydaw.and a second painting suspended in a near by disused coal mine. The installations attracted huge media coverage including BBC & ITV news. Anthony has had numerous highly successful shows throughout the UK.


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:
Tel: 07867 978 414


Newlyn Today & Modern British work from Newlyn and St Ives

8th April 2016

Ten artist tutors from the acclaimed Newlyn School of Art will show their work at the Moncrieff-Bray Gallery together with works by 20th-century masters of the St Ives School.

EXHIBITION DATES: Saturday 14 May — Saturday 11 June 2016

PRIVATE VIEW: Saturday 14 May, 2pm—8pm

The gallery is privileged to present an exhibition by tutors from Newlyn School of Art. While individually, the artists have a reputation on a national stage, this is their first group exhibition to be held outside Cornwall. The works share a commitment to the artistic heritage and landscape of West Cornwall and echo one another in their treatment of paint, space, atmosphere, light and their preoccupation with man’s relationship with nature. Several of the artists in this exhibition were included in the landmark Tate St Ives exhibition, Art Now Cornwall in 2007.

Works by famous names from the 20th Century in Cornwall such as Sir Terry Frost, Ben Nicholson, Roger Hilton and John Wells will be shown alongside these contemporary works. They provide an historical context and demonstrate how Modern British and Contemporary work complement one another.

Newlyn and its neighbour St Ives have played an important role in British art since the 1880’s. Arguably the most significant period was the 1950’s and 60’s when international artists such as Rothko visited the area to meet the leading British artists of the day. Sir Terry Frost, Roger Hilton and John Wells, exponents of what broadly became known as the St Ives School, actually lived and worked on the south coast at Newlyn. The area is still home to a current generation of innovative and successful artists whose influence extends far beyond the Cornish peninsular.

Paul Lewin’s knowledge of the cliffs and paths combined with his unique mixed media techniques have made him one of the leading coastal artists of the South West. Anthony Garratt’s work is more about the dramatic effects of the weather than the actual topography; the thick impasto layered and scraped on the canvas reflects his experience of extreme weather conditions and the wilderness of some of the remotest parts of the coastline.

Recent highly successful shows at both the Lemon Street Gallery in Truro and London’s Jill George Gallery saw Gareth Edwards create a new body of semi-abstract work. His multi-layered canvases dissolve in an atmosphere of mists and luminous moonlight. Mark Surridge’s often large-scale paintings move from the landscape to a poetic abstraction meditating on man’s role in the universe.

Jessica Cooper has lived all her life in West Penwith where the spare and weatherworn landscape inspires her work, with its paired down graphic quality. Memory and imagination combine in Maggie O’Brien’s work, she is concerned with vanishing wild life and uses images of the natural world as a metaphor for life’s journey.

Other artists in the exhibition include Jesse Leroy Smith, Hannah Woodman and Rachel Reeves. Jesse is both an artist and curator, his work is based on experience and memory. The portraits exhibited here evolve from his relationship with his children. He uses lines and washes to evoke a sense of trace and memory. Together the art of Newlyn seems to delve deep into our collective memory. In a world that seems increasingly chaotic and unbalanced, this exhibition celebrates the beauty of the natural world and a sense of man in harmony with his environment.

Jessica Cooper, Gareth Edwards, Anthony Garratt, Paul Lewin, Maggie O’Brien, Rachel Reeves, Jesse Leroy Smith, Mark Surridge and Hannah Woodman
Ben Nicholson, Sir Terry Frost, Roger Hilton and John Wells


Since the 1880s artists have been attracted to Newlyn, drawn by the landscape, cheap studios and convivial artistic community. Newlyn flourished in the 1880s with the social realist painters led by Stanhope Forbes and later with the British Impressionists, notably Dame Laura Knight and Sir Alfred Munnings. During the Second World War, the neighbouring, internationally orientated St Ives colony projected both Newlyn and St Ives onto the world stage.


Artist Henry Garfit harnessed the current wealth of artistic creativity to found the not-for-profit, Newlyn School of Art with the help of an Arts Council Grant in 2011. It is only yards from the historic art school established by Stanhope and Elizabeth Forbes in 1899.
Newlyn School of Art has attracted the most talented artists in the area. There is a yearly programme of two and three day courses as well as part-time courses for mentoring artists from all over the country held every eight weeks as weekends. By giving well paid but occasional work to over thirty five leading artists they are able continue with their own practice while bringing a freshness and vigour to their teaching. Last year the school taught more than 1,000 students from all over the world and this year it is running over thirty courses ranging from Expressive Landscape Painting to Experimental Painting and The Feminine in Art.


THE MONCRIEFF-BRAY GALLERY is based in a group of 18th-century former farm buildings on the edge of the Petworth estate 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.

Summer Sculpture 2016

8th April 2016

Work by 15 contemporary sculptors shown in stunning garden in the South Downs National Park, near Petworth

EXHIBITION DATES: Saturday 14 May — Saturday 11 June 2016

PRIVATE VIEW: Saturday 14 May, 2pm—8pm

This summer, the Moncrieff-Bray gallery presents its annual sculpture exhibition, with works displayed in the magnificent Sussex Barn and sculpture arranged across the surrounding three-acre rural gardens. A wide range of work will be on show; small scale sculpture in the gallery and in the garden, large scale works in stone, bronze, ceramic, steel and wood – many of which have been commissioned specially for the exhibition. A selection will be previewed in the majestic setting of Petworth Park at the Petworth Park Art and Antiques Fair from May 6 – 8.

The exhibition coincides with the Chelsea Flower Show. Like the Flower Show the sculpture on display is designed for the intimate setting of private gardens. The pieces catch your eye as you round a corner, or lead you into a distant vista. Pieces by established artists with work in major collections are shown alongside those of younger, emerging artists.

Highlights for 2016 include Paul Vanstone’s marble heads, using exotic coloured marbles sourced from Iran and India and Dominic Welch’s seductive abstract works carved in limestone or cast in bronze. A major piece by Dominic will be on display at the Ashmoleon Museum concurrently. David Klein’s peregrine falcon, emerges from the limestone, latent with energy, showing his mastery at creating form from a lump of rock. While Jilly Sutton’s delightful new work, Bambino reflects her joy at being a grandmother.

On a large scale, Clare Tupman’s life size owls swoop into land. Working in stainless steel she specialises in extremities of movement, manipulating the tensile properties of steel to dramatic effect. Working from her remote hill farm in Wales, Miranda Michels is strongly influenced by the natural world. Her life size fallow deer in twisted steel with real antlers will complement the deer in Petworth Park. Originally trained as a goldsmith, Colleen Du Pon now works in steel and her giant buttercups and snowdrops are a visual delight.

Jo Sweeting’s sensitive carved heads reflect her apprenticeship at the Skelton workshop in Ditchling. While Adam Binder has taken his exquisitely modelled bronze birds into the landscape by creating a new series of bird plaques.

The last ten years have seen a renaissance in the appreciation of sculpture in the British Isles. Sculpture is transformed when taken outside the white walls of a gallery and displayed outside in relation to nature and the elements. It is now seen as an integral part of domestic garden design and a wander around this exhibition is a delight in itself.



Based in a group of 18th-century former farm buildings on the edge of the Petworth estate, the gallery 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 has worked for the V&A, and 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.

OPENING HOURS Open Daily: 11 pm to 4pm Closed Sundays


Adam Binder, Colleen Du Pon, Dave Cooke, Olivia Ferrier, Felicia Fletcher, David Klein, Judy Larkin, Jo Sweeting, Jilly Sutton, Clare Tupman, Clare Trenchard, Willow Legge, Miranda Michels, Paul Vanstone, Dominic Welch

Closed Sundays but we welcome visitors by appointment at any time.

For further images and information contact Elspeth Moncrieff: Tel: 07867 978 414

Stanley Simmonds (1917-2006) Paintings from his Cornish Studio

6th October 2015

7 – 15 November, 2015  Daily 11 – 4 pm     16 – 21 November, 2015  by appointment

Acclaimed post-war artist who taught Quentin Blake, was selected for group shows at the Royal Academy and Whitechapel Art Gallery and showed alongside Ivon Hitchens, John Bratby, Keith Vaughan and John Piper

The collection comes directly from his Cornish studio near Launceston where Stanley spent the last 25 years of his life, moving to be close to his life long friend, the poet Charles Causley.


Stanley was a passionately committed artist and teacher whose work encompasses a huge range of style and influences. Born in 1917 in Droitwich, Stanley’s talent was recognised early on when he was accepted at Birmingham College of Art aged 16. He saw active wartime service in the Royal Navy, where he served on the same ship as the Cornish poet, Charles Causley, who became a life long friend. Stanley painted several portraits of him and illustrated some of his books. After the war he resumed his studies at the Royal College of Art in 1946. His paintings at this time were beautifully executed tonal studies of nudes, still-lives and rural subjects. The sensitive portrait of his wife, Cynthia Kathleeen King, also a talented painter, whom he married in 1947 was done at this time.

The couple settled into married life in London, in a roomy flat at 22 Redcliffe Square, SW10 and on leaving the Royal College, Stanley was appointed art teacher at the Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School in 1949. Admired and respected by his students he remained for 30 years, his most famous pupil was the illustrator Quentin Blake with whom he exhibited at Hertford College, Oxford in 1963.

Blake remembers, I first came to know Stanley Simmonds as a teacher, when he returned from the Navy after the war to take over the art room at Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School.  He made it a place where not only art was produced but where art conversations could go on.  He was enormously helpful and valuable to me, as I am sure he was to many others’

 As as talented student Blake would visit Stanley’s London studio.  It was there that we really discovered Stan as a painter; to begin with in particular as a painter of Billingsgate market.  The Billingsgate paintings were evidently the fruit of many studies made on site; but it wasn’t, you felt, the detail of everyday life that took the artist’s attention as much as, together with substantial reality, the architecture of forms supplied by the porters and their surroundings. Those pictures were soon followed by a remarkable development into abstraction.  What was formerly substance becomes atmosphere.  It is a world of movement, distance, luminosity, but one which the architecture of the canvas is still disposed with authority

From the late 1950s to the 1970s Stanley’s career flourished and in 1957 he was selected for group exhibitions in The Brighton Art Gallery and The Royal Academy. A year later he showed in The London Group exhibition for young emerging artists, with Mary Fedden, Harold Mockford and Howard Hodgkin. In 1959 Stanley Simmonds was selected for the ‘Pictures for Schools’ exhibition at The Whitechapel Gallery and for the Festival of London exhibition.

Through to the early 60s he had group and solo exhibitions at the innovative Bear Lane Galley, Oxford with other leading British artists including Keith Vaughan and his work is in many of the Oxford Colleges. Also at the Bear Lane he showed in the ‘Contemporary British Landscape Painters,’ exhibition with John Piper, John Bratby and Ivon Hitchens.

Terence Mullaly of The Telegraph commented ‘The most interesting of these artists seems to be Stanley Simmonds-he combines a sure sense of design with colouring that succeeds in suggesting an element of mystery. He is an artist that deserves to be better known.’

G M Butcher in the “Guardian” wrote ‘..distinctly exciting that work by Simmonds in which his sensibility blossoms forth into an inherent logic of its own.’ and  John Hale in the ‘Arts News Review’, ‘Singled out Simmonds work” (from a mixed exhibition) as “outstanding” and wrote of “the delicacy and relish” of the painter’s reaction to certain visual experience.

Around this time Stanley embarked on the paintings of Billingsgate Market which represented a more personal exploration for him. Rising early in the mornings, he executed rapid pencil sketches of the porters and carters, unloading the heavy boxes of fish. His paintings of the market document his journey from figuration through to abstraction, exploring blocks of colour and tonal valuation but all imbued with the light and atmosphere of the market at dawn. These paintings and the drawings are a remarkable record of post-war working class London. The restricted palette of brown, grey, blue and terracotta and the simple shapes of the hard hats, flowing work clothes and boots give these fish porters an ethereal quality. An important painting from this series is in the collection of the Herbert Gallery, Coventry and others remain with the family.

Like many Modern British artists of his generation, Stanley was becoming increasingly attracted to abstraction which took many different forms, some of the canvases dissolve in a luminous atmospheric interpretation of the landscape the paint scumbled and glazed, others are much more tightly constructed with strong cubist shapes, bold colours and flat blocks of colour. He was drawing on a wide range of contemporary influences. There are elements of the neo-romantics like Keith Vaughan, Michael Ayrton and Graham Sutherland – and from further afield Mark Rothko and the Colour Field artists. In the most successful of them, Stanley forged a vision and style uniquely his own combining abstraction and figuration.

In the late 1960s Stanley and Cynthia moved to Trinity Street, Southwark. In1978 he was awarded The George Rowney Prize for Oil Painting in ‘The Spirit of London Competition’ He continued to experiment with new approaches to abstraction, illustrated books and designed work for the theatre. On his retirement in 1983 he left City for South Petherwin, near Launceston, Cornwall to be near his friend Charles Causley. Taking on a large studio in a converted chapel on the edge of Bodmin Moor, the 1980s saw a return to a more figurative style with successful exhibitions at the Somerville Gallery in Plymouth including a large retrospective in 2002 and at Exeter University.



Stanley Simmonds CV

Born 1917, Droitwich, youngest of three boys, Father a retired relief signal man, Mother a Dress maker.

Gains a scholarship to Royal Worcester Grammar School

1934-39 Attends Birmingham College of Art

1940-1946 Royal Navy, based in Plymouth becomes close friends with the poet Charles Causley

1946-1948 Attended Royal College of Art

1949 Begins teaching at Chiselhurst and Sidcup Grammar School, where remains for 30 years and where he tutors Quentin Blake

Living at 22 Redcliffe Square, SW10

1947 marries the artist, Cynthia King

Late 60s moves to 32 Trinity Street, Southwark

1983 Retires from teaching and moves to Chapel House, South Petherwin, Launceston be close to his life-long friend the poet Charles Causley

2006 Dies in Launceston

Previous Exhibitions

2014 Stanley Simmonds 1917 – 2006, A Retrospective Exhibition, The Foundry Gallery, Lewes

2012 Small retrospective exhibition organised by the Charles Causley Society.Lawrence House Museum, Launceston, Cornwall

2002 The Somerville Gallery, Plymouth

1995 Exeter University

1985 Portrait of Charles Causley – London Institute of Education. Part of Charles Causley’s 70th Birthday tribute includes works by Barbara Hepworth, Patrick Heron, Alfred Wallis

1963 Stanley Simmonds / Quentin Blake – Hertford College, Oxford

1962 Three Artists, R J Hitchcock, Kenneth Rowell, Stanley Simmonds – Bear lane Gallery, Oxford Two Man Exhibition” – Brook Street Gallery, London

1961 One Man Show – Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford

1960 Summer Exhibition – Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford

1959 Royal Academy, Pictures for Schools  – Whitechapel Art Gallery with Mary Feddon, Carel Weight, Michael Rothenstein and Roy Turner Durant, The Festival of London – Bexley, Oxford Today – Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford, One Man Show, Bear Lane Gallery Oxford

1958 The London Group Annual  Exhibition – RBA Galleries, Contemporary British Landscape Painters, with John Piper, John Bratby and Ivon Hitchens – Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford, One Man Show – Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford

1957, The Royal Academy

Brighton Art Gallery

1955 The Royal Academy

1954 The London Group


Collections Include:

Exeter University, Hertford College, Oxford, Pembroke College, Oxford, St Anthony’s College, Oxford, University College, Oxford Herbert Gallery, Coventry, and The  Education Committees of Oxford and Coventry.

George Hooper (1917-1994), An Unlikely Fauve Paintings and Collages from the 1960s – 1980s 15 – 28 November

17th October 2014

This exhibition reassesses the work of George Hooper who was widely acclaimed in his lifetime, and whose work is in the collections of the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.  It brings together a vibrant group of paintings and collages from the last few decades of his life when Hooper’s oeuvre blossomed into a riot of dynamic colour and activity seemingly influenced by Fauvism. It also marks the period of his blossoming friendship with Duncan Grant, the influence of Charleston and of the artist Ceri Richards who shared his passion for music.

Hooper’s mother was Indian and his father British; he spent his childhood years in India before being packed off to an English boarding school at the age of twelve.  He never returned to India and was brought up by his grandfather, the architect T R Hooper in a comfortable suburban villa, Loxwood in Redhill, Surrey.  However memories of the colours and vibrancy of India stayed with him all his life.

Following a brief period as a banker, Hooper escaped to the Slade, transferring a year later to the Royal Academy Schools.  A talented student he won the Rome Scholarship in 1935 and spent the next three years revelling in the colour, light and art of Spain and Italy.  Declared unfit for service during the war he was enlisted in the Recording Britain project alongside, among others, John Piper, Michael Rothenstein and Roland Hilder.  His work at this time had a lively decorative quality, influenced by the prevailing neo-romantic tradition and received critical acclaim when exhibited at the National Gallery and elsewhere.  The Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum acquired several of his works from the period.

In 1945 Hooper became a tutor at Brighton Art School, where he remained until 1977.    Works from his Brighton period show him developing an increasingly lose style.  Alongside landscape, his interest in still life and interiors develops from this time. His own collection of Staffordshire, Wedgwood and Delftware pottery is a favourite subject matter for his recurring still-lives.

A return trip to Europe and the Mediterranean in the late 1950s, ignited Hooper’s last creative period. The work in this exhibition explodes in a riot of line, colour and movement reawakening memories of his Indian childhood.  The subjects remain the same, still-lives, the garden at Loxwood, the sitting-room filled with the piano and music, but the way he depicts them seem curiously at odds with his comfortable suburban lifestyle.

Hooper attracted the soubriquet Fauve and he acknowledged the influence. His use of bold, vibrant brush strokes and high-keyed colours, his fascination with gesture, with line formed in a moment conveys immediacy, risk and energy. In Bottle with Flowers, the forms of the flowers are conjured in rapid movements against the bold outline of the window. During the 1960s, Hooper’s work is also linked to the influence of two very different but important British artists; Ceri Richards and Duncan Grant.

Hooper owned works by both men and developed a friendship with Grant. Each artist took Hooper beyond the immediate surface of paper and canvas.  In the case of Grant it was not just his painting but his home at Charleston that made a deep impression on Hooper. To observe paint spilling beyond the confines of the picture plane onto furniture, walls and other objects was an inspiration to Hooper.  His connection with Grant culminated in a retrospective exhibition at Charleston in 1993.

Like Ceri Richards, music was a major part of Hooper’s life.  His wife Joyce had graduated from the Royal Academy of Music, Hooper was an accomplished pianist and the piano dominated the drawing room at Loxwood and is a recurring feature in his paintings.  Hooper’s interest in collage in particular came from Richards as well as his series of paintings of ‘emanations’ with their connotation of music invading the space.

Hooper went on to develop an exuberant and highly charged approach to mixed media. He used a variety of collage techniques. Paper cut or torn, shiny or matt, layered or just one sheet thick, delighted him. Indeed, applying subsequent collage to an apparently finished work defied the rules of perspective, forcing the viewer to confront the space between the here and now and the world of the picture.


Exhibitions Include:

1941-1943 Recording Britain Series

1945-7 Leicester Galleries, Leicester Square alongside Sickert, Smith, Grant and Hitchens.

1946 Commissions to create posters for Shell, Lyons & Co., Esso, British Rail and The Post Office.

1953-64 Works included in 7 exhibitions at Wildenstein’s, Bond Street. Also Mall Galleries and British Museum.

1984 & 1985  Solo shows at Odette Gilbert Gallery, Cork Street.

1988 Solo show for Sally Hunter, Motcomb Street.

1990 Solo show, Hooper Gallery, St John’s Wood.

1993 Retrospective Exhibition, Charleston, Sussex

Christopher Baker

28th February 2014

Christopher Baker’s recent body of work celebrates his experiences of painting in the same spot at the Trundle near Goodwood on the South Downs for 64 consecutive days from January 23rd to March 30th 2012. Each of the studies were completed in one day, reacting to changes in light, mood and the patterns of the landscape. They form the basis for a remarkable group of oil paintings, drawings and monoprints some measuring up to
eight foot in diameter.

Like many artists before him painting in series holds a fascination for Baker. Every landscape is a social and psychological space with different versions of itself available to different perceptions. Committing myself to a constant view, ironically allowed extraordinary freedom to develop and experiment. It is the interaction of place and painter that is the true subject of the work, the reactions that are elicited from a place. Baker returned to the Trundle in 2013 to work on the larger paintings, continuing to work in the open air in all weathers. The canvas was rolled onto a drum which could then be unrolled in situ and leant against a wooden painting tent against the oncoming wind or rain.

He explains what drew him to this particular view: ‘the wind angles over the Isle of Wight  and punches gaps in the clouds opening trap doors that drop ladders of light onto the thin strip of sea. A south-west wind often carries rain. Your vision can stretch east to the edges of Worthing and west to the refineries of Southampton. This expanse is gathered together and joined through light and weather, seasons of colour, and flinted fields and angled woods. I distil it all with paint, halt its movement, fix it on canvas and know, that oil paint and the tent easel will be resilient to any kind of rain’.

The actual details of the landscape are pared down to essentials, inspired by the experience of making the studies. A culmination of ideas and feelings gathered for years, a directness and rawness which combines moods, seasons, light, colour and states of being.

A major influence on this series of paintings is Ruben’s Autumn Landscape with view of Het Stein in the Early Morning, which hangs in the National Gallery. ‘There is a simple beauty in this painting, Baker explains. ‘It is a view of Ruben’s own home that he was utterly familiar with and it was never intended for sale. We are led from foreground darkness towards the far edges of the canvas, and towards the emerging morning light.’

Movement from dark to light is a theme that also runs through this work. Baker deliberately started in the depths of winter, he has used a similar restricted palette with touches of vermillion and cobalt blue for the accents. He works with opposite colours, warm over cool and cool over warm, building the painting from the inside so that the intense, pure hues shine out from the inner layers of the painting Baker has exhibited at Pallant House Art Gallery, Chichester, Petworth House and The Royal Academy, as well as internationally. He has won major awards from the Royal Academy and Canadian and British Arts Councils . He recently played the part of the artist in Joanna Hogg’s film Archipelago, set in the Scilly Isles and screened at the 2010 London Film Festival and New York Film Festival 2013. He is senior fine art painting tutor at West Dean College in Sussex and runs the School of Landscape Painting.

Nicola Toms: Charcoal, Clay and Bronze Drawings and Sculpture

18th February 2014

Exhibition Dates: March 23rd to April 5th 2014

This exhibition brings together the media of drawing and sculpture in a dramatic, dynamic combination.  Life-size charcoal drawings of thoroughbred horses, cattle and whippets look down on Nicola’s vigorously observed animal bronzes, prints and relief work. This is her first major exhibition since 2006 and shows a renewed dedication to her enduring love of the animal world.

Growing up on a cattle ranch in Zimbabwe, animals, in particular cattle were a part of Nicola’s daily life. ‘Big herds were always milling around, brought in for dipping, or branding.  We had horses, dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens, ducks alongside the abundant wild life and an amazing selection of bird life’. Even though she has lived in London’s East End for 20 years, her abiding passion for animals remains. She remembers the dogs in the park –  not  the owners.  Her cottage on the Isle of Wight is close to the famous Brightstone Jersey herd, started in 1866 and descended from Queen Victoria’s herd at Osborne Castle; a subject that beckoned alongside the thoroughbred horses at the Coombelands yard near Pulborough

There is an immediacy in drawing missing in the careful planning and preparation needed for large sculpture which appeals to her and a direct connection between charcoal and clay as a medium, applied in layers and constantly rubbed back.  The works explore shape, depth and anatomy on a huge scale, especially the skeletal structure of the animals which feeds back into her three dimensional work.  The lino prints like the plaster reliefs are a new departure for Nicola, combining elements of both drawing and sculpture.

There is an honesty and a retained innocence about Nicola’s work which matches her candid and down-to-earth character.  Despite her immense knowledge of the subject she manages to treat each animal first and foremost as an individual, observed as much for its character as it’s physical characteristics.  A 16 year old Gloucester cow holds as much interest to her as a cheetah in flight or a thoroughbred race horse.  This characteristic of her work, together with her immense knowledge and instinctive understanding of animals make Nicola one of foremost exponents of this genre.

Nicola Toms studied graphic art in Harare before re-locating to London some 20 years ago. In addition to six major solo exhibitions in London she has exhibited widely with galleries in Britain, America, South Africa and New Zealand.  Her work is held in many private collections throughout the world. Nicola lives and works in London’s East End.