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Drawing on the RBSA Collection – Dry Media Works 1822-2022

RBSA Gallery, 4 Brook Street, Birmingham, West Midlands, B3 1SA

Tel: 01212364353

Sliced Oranges - Wilkinson, Ann copy


Drawing with dry media is as old as mankind. Ochre and charcoal dust were blown through straws onto cave walls by the first artists. In more recent times, the dry media of pencil, pastel, and charcoal were favoured by travelling artists as ideal for drawing with minimum of fuss on site in sketchbooks or portfolios. Drawing was the means through which European artists recorded, prepared, studied, and imagined, and it was often a prelude to painting or engraving. Dry media were also central to art training and versatile both en plein air and in the studio.

Fine drawings are valued not just for their subtle qualities, but also or the insights they offer into the artist's creative imagination. Works shown cover the whole range of expression from the bold and strident Hippopotamus Amphibius by David Walton RBSA, to the delicately drawn Dovecote in pastel by James Jelley RBSA.

The pencil has been used in the UK since the late 16th century when pure graphite deposits were discovered in Cumbria, corresponding with the establishment of paper mills in England able to satisfy the increasing demand from artists. Good examples of Victorian pencil drawing are seen in the exquisite landscapes of the Lines family who developed a trademark style of lively, accurate observational drawing. Pastels, made of coloured pigment bound with gum, give the artist the whole range of colours available to the watercolourist and oil painter. Two contrasting examples are the magical Wild Beauty of Clee by Claire Spencer RBSA, and the radiant, Vitalism 2 by Janette Summerfield RBSA.

Private View: Thursday 29 February 6.00 – 8.00pm
Artists in Conversation: Saturday 23 March 2.00 – 3.00pm

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Free entry


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RBSA GalleryRBSA Gallery, BirminghamA gallery space set over three floors. The ground floor houses three small exhibition spaces alongside the Gallery Shop. Galleries 1 and 2 are sleek, modern spaces ideal for exhibitions of 2D and 3D work.


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