Hertford Art Society 64th Open Exhibition 2016 - May 1st - 14th

Award Winners

  • The John Goss Prize for the painting the judges considered best in show - 'Hydrangea', Stella Green.
  • The Lady Laming Award for Abstract Art - 'River Bank', David Quantrill.
  • The Bill Dale Award is chosen from works by Members who regularly support the whole of the Society's activities - 'Old Bluecoats School Hall', Trevor Chamberlain.
  • The Mayor's Award for the best 3D work - 'Queue of Life, Bus Stand 7 figures 7 stories', Maria-Luisa Wilkings.
  • The Edward Mason Brushes Award for the best watercolour - 'Instant Colour', Anne McCormack RI, SWA.
  • Visitors’ Choice Award - ‘Show me the way to go home’, Jill Rolfe.

Visitors’ Choice Award
Show me the way to go home by Jill Rolfe - Watercolour

The Exhibition was decidedly Representational this year although there are some abstracts and near abstracts but they are well dotted around.

I love 'kitchen-sink' type art. Top for me was 'Broken Road' by Andrew Naish a close-up of decaying double yellow lines with damaged kerbstones, pitted tarmac, all blues and dull ochres. Yummy! Other delights were John Hardy's steam-engined 'Country Terminus' and the vessel 'P.S.Waverley' by Bill Dean.

I also enjoy striking pictures, ones that are colourful, clever, masterful or even just prettier. My visitor's vote was , 'Down to the Sea, St Ives' by Gillian Flack. Wonderful, gentle colouration in yellows, oranges, palest greens balanced by delicate purple, blue and brown shadows.

Then 'Holkham Beach' by Daniel Hutchings, 'Fish Restaurant' by Roger Dellar, Trevor Chamberlain's 'Old Bluecoat School Hall', a lovely evocation of evening light. The simplicity of fine pen work 'Olive Tree' by Chris Hewitt stood out as restful and delightful. These five high on my Best of Show list.

I find abstracts rather difficult. A couple, very clever in their execution, seemed quite cold to me. More to my taste are semi-abstracts like Terry Bedford's 'The Gate' a Cezanne-ish park scene with a convoluted orange gate to one side. Was it there or not? A semi-abstract sculpture by Heather Jukes called 'Mother and Child', showed a curled female figure with a Henry Moore hole in the centre containing a small child figure with a hole and an even tinier figure within that. Thought provoking. In the 3D works there are a number of ceramic vases and plates beautifully made and finished. 'Purple Vase' a real tour-de-force, brightly coloured in purples, greens and pinks with added flowers, some laid on the surface others sat at the end of deep blue stems, painted leaves and birds. Beautifully made wooden objects, in particular from Dr Waring Robinson whose, 'Flower Stand Mahogany' was the strangest piece of work I have seen for a long time and displaying the highest craft skills.

The Mayor's Award for 3D work went to 'Queue of Life', a bus stand and seven figures. Separate pieces arranged on pavement plus tiny booklets with each story. I couldn't help thinking 'what about the dusting!'

A couple of odd items. Firstly Richard Saunder's 'My Dear Watson'. Surreal in every aspect, a nightmarish, surreal scene with stars, brain coral, bones with blood and stuff, wisps of blue ectoplasm! In the 3D section two tiny little perspex boxes by Diane Loan contained musicians and instruments – 'Fab 4' and a golfer with bag – 'Fore' neatly made from tiny electronic components.

The Open Exhibition was up to the usual high standard and I could happily describe the whole thing but space is short.

The Exhibition results, as always, from the hard work of many members over several preceding days. LOTS of thanks to you all.

T John Jarratt.

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East Herts Decorative and Fine Arts Society

For the last five years sponsorship of the award judged to be the best piece of 3D work at the Open Exhibition has been provided by EHDFAS – East Herts Decorative and Fine Arts.

The 2016 winner was "Queue of Life" Bus Stand - 7 Figures 7 Stories by Maria-Luisa Wilkings. Actually it’s 8 figures, I think Maria got carried away when she was submitting her figures. Each one comes with a short back-story documented in a mini-booklet accompanying the figure. Their future stories have yet to unravel: Maria says we may well be seeing what happens to at least some of them at a future exhibition. This saga could run and run.

EHDFAS Members enjoy monthly talks at the Spotlight Centre in Broxbourne on a wide range of arts subjects well beyond the decorative and fine. Among other things we also go on visits to outstanding buildings and galleries, hold Special Interest days and sponsor Young Art in local schools. Our most recent success has been this batik abstract (‘Lollipops’) entered by a 14 year old Sele School pupil into a National competition where the subject was ‘Edibles’. It won first prize in the 14-16 year age group.

Several members of the Hertford Art Society are members of EHDFAS. For more information on EHDFAS please visit their website.

Open Exhibition Awards

We are grateful to our Sponsors for their Awards.

Each year the following Prizes are awarded:

  1. The John Goss Award for the Best in Show, sponsored by Sworder Auctioneers of Fine Art.
  2. Lady Laming Award for Best Abstract work.
  3. Bill Dale Award, Best Work by an active Member.
  4. The Mayor's Award, for the best 3D Work, sponsored by Hertford's Art Shop, Hertfordshire Graphics.
  5. The Edward Mason Prize for the Best Water Colour, donated by Edward W Mason Ltd, Brush Makers.

"The Queen of Sheba" by Mark Gertler

"The Queen of Sheba" by Mark Gertler

In 1963 the Hertford Art Society sold a large nude painting "The Queen of Sheba" by Mark Gertler, to the Tate Gallery.


The Open Exhibition is a celebrated part of the Hertfordshire art scene. Quality is maintained by a panel of three independent judges selecting from the wide range of more than 500 artworks presented by artists both amateur and professional. About half of these are accepted and shown. A number of major prizes are generously awarded by our sponsors.

The exhibition has a national reputation for showing exciting collectable artwork with many buyers returning each year to extend their investment in art.

This prestigious exhibition runs for two weeks at the beginning of May with Private Viewings, by invitation only, for collectors and patrons prior to opening to the public.

A Members’ folio illustrates more about the work of our Members, and we are pleased to take details of commissioned works and to put buyers in touch with their favoured artists.