For the first time, Winchester will be hosting an exhibition by members of the prestigious Royal Society of British Artists. The show opens on 23 February at The Minster Gallery.

It will feature work by twenty current members of the 194 year old society including Royal Academicians Ken Howard OBE and Fred Cuming and honorary member Andrew Marr, the writer and broadcaster.

The RBA is the largest society in the UK to promote figurative art. It is, along with the Royal Academy, one of the oldest societies of British artists. Ines Graham, Director of The Minster Gallery, explains: ‘The exhibition will showcase the diversity of styles and subjects explored by members of the RBA’.

The range of artists on display includes Ken Howard OBE RA, Fred Cuming RA and Peter Brown and Nicholas Verrall who are known for their unique ability to capture and paint light. The exhibition will also feature Nicholas Tidnam and his inspiring sense of colour. Visitors will be able to see distinctive landscapes and seascapes by Malcolm Ashman, Sue Campion and Stephen Brown and discover light through interiors in John Spakes’ work.

Visitors to the show will enjoy the humour of Susan Bower, Mick Davies and David Eustace. They will see how very detailed patterned decorative architecture inspires Meg Dutton’s art and how Shanti Panchal, Lewis Hazelwood-Horner, John C Wilkinson and Anthony Yates bring everyday lives to centre stage. The show also features the poetic still lives of Jill and Martin Leman.

The current President of the RBA, Nicholas Tidnam PRBA NEAC, says he is delighted that ‘the RBA will have its first show in Winchester’.

Founded in 1823, the RBA’s first members were among the most famous artists of the time. In 1887, under the leadership of James McNeill Whistler, the society was granted ‘Royal’ status by Queen Victoria. In the following years, many other well-known artists joined including Walter Sickert, Philip de Laszlo, LS Lowry and Henry Moore. Among the honorary members were French impressionist Claude Monet and Belgian figurative artist, Alfred Stevens.

Nicholas Tidnam declares: ‘The RBA continues to represent some of the best British figurative artists.’ In addition to professional artists, the RBA recognises individuals who have achieved a high degree of respect and recognition for their artistic work. Distinguished among them is the writer and broadcaster Andrew Marr who has had a lifelong love of drawing and painting. In A Short Book about Painting, he writes: ‘The thought and passion and work that goes into an oil painting can be caught on its dried surface – and then released, time and time again, as energy to the viewer.’

The RBA exhibition at The Minster Gallery opens on 23 February and continues until 23 March 2018.