Fleet Gallery

Fleet Gallery

20th Century British Art
P1017309.JPG

GREENWOOD. ERNEST RWS.

Broad Farm.

Ernest Greenwood, artist and teacher, born Welling, Kent, 12 February 1913; married 1939 Eileen Messenger (died 2008, one daughter); died Ashford, Kent 17 May 2009.

It was chiefly thanks to Ernest Greenwood that the Royal Watercolour Society, which was founded in 1804, succeeded in preserving its independence and has now survived into its third century. After the Royal Academy the Royal Watercolour Society is the oldest artistic society in Great Britain, its membership having included such distinguished artists as John Sell Cotman, David Cox, Samuel Palmer, Holman Hunt, Edward Burne-Jones and John Singer Sargent. However by the mid-1970s it had fallen on very hard times. The Society's galleries in Conduit Street in the West End were neglected and had been understaffed for years; layers of soot, ingrained for decades, covered surfaces and seeped everywhere. Its picture collection was stacked against a wall under drapes (a prize possession, a Samuel Palmer watercolour, was kept ready to be propped up on the filing cabinet drawers to impress important visitors) and old cups and beakers were used to serve the drinks at private views. There was little money in the bank and the Society's main asset, its lease on these galleries, was running very short indeed.
In 1972 Greenwood, who had been elected to the RWS in 1962, held a retrospective exhibition in the galleries of the New Metropole in Folkestone and there he met Sir Gerald Glover, who had recently acquired the property. Glover told him that if the RWS was ever in a fix to let him know. By now the Society's search for new premises was desperate. Greenwood took up his offer and one evening – it was, he recalled, pouring with rain and he arrived drenched on the doorstep – he went to visit Glover at his home in Park Lane. Glover phoned his architects. It so happened that in drawing up plans for a new development on the South Bank for Southwark Council the architects, in order to please the Council, were anxious to incorporate an educational component in their designs so they were more than happy for the opportunity to include a Royal Society in their building. In 1980 Bankside Gallery was opened by the Queen as the home of the Royal Watercolour Society – and 20 years later Tate Modern opened next door.

£340.00

24 x 30 cm (approx. 11.8 x 9.4 inches)

Painter in watercolour.

Ernest Greenwood, artist and teacher, born Welling, Kent, 12 February 1913; married 1939 Eileen Messenger (died 2008, one daughter); died Ashford, Kent 17 May 2009.

It was chiefly thanks to Ernest Greenwood that the Royal Watercolour Society, which was founded in 1804, succeeded in preserving its independence and has now survived into its third century. After the Royal Academy the Royal Watercolour Society is the oldest artistic society in Great Britain, its membership having included such distinguished artists as John Sell Cotman, David Cox, Samuel Palmer, Holman Hunt, Edward Burne-Jones and John Singer Sargent. However by the mid-1970s it had fallen on very hard times. The Society's galleries in Conduit Street in the West End were neglected and had been understaffed for years; layers of soot, ingrained for decades, covered surfaces and seeped everywhere. Its picture collection was stacked against a wall under drapes (a prize possession, a Samuel Palmer watercolour, was kept ready to be propped up on the filing cabinet drawers to impress important visitors) and old cups and beakers were used to serve the drinks at private views. There was little money in the bank and the Society's main asset, its lease on these galleries, was running very short indeed.
In 1972 Greenwood, who had been elected to the RWS in 1962, held a retrospective exhibition in the galleries of the New Metropole in Folkestone and there he met Sir Gerald Glover, who had recently acquired the property. Glover told him that if the RWS was ever in a fix to let him know. By now the Society's search for new premises was desperate. Greenwood took up his offer and one evening – it was, he recalled, pouring with rain and he arrived drenched on the doorstep – he went to visit Glover at his home in Park Lane. Glover phoned his architects. It so happened that in drawing up plans for a new development on the South Bank for Southwark Council the architects, in order to please the Council, were anxious to incorporate an educational component in their designs so they were more than happy for the opportunity to include a Royal Society in their building. In 1980 Bankside Gallery was opened by the Queen as the home of the Royal Watercolour Society – and 20 years later Tate Modern opened next door.