May 5th to 18th 2019

“Wonderful Exhibition - never disappoints!!” “Some spooky things here” “Always a good variety & high Standard. It’s a joy to see.” “Brilliant - so many styles.” “Fantastic artwork, such a high standard.” “Really impressive collection of works. Great Show. Thanks.” “Artist talents alive and well in Hertford. Glad I made it over from the Isle of Wight.”

These are just a few of the comments made by visitors during the course of this year’s Exhibition.

There was something for everyone in Cowbridge Hall, a light and airy venue which shows work at its best. There were impressive and atmospheric landscapes, townscapes and seascapes; beautifully crafted abstracts which looked like puzzles; still life images which made your mouth water; delicate and dramatic flower paintings; engaging portraits; figures resting or rushing around, and a gorgeous variety of animals (cats relaxing on window ledges, a curious giraffe, a quiet elephant, a pouncing cheetah and a running badger to name but a few). Some works were colourful and bold, others subtle and elusive. There were some large monochrome pen and ink scenes, some spooky images crafted in charcoal and graphite and an intriguing painting of a pair of old boots. The exhibits included oils, acrylics and watercolours; etchings, lino and screen prints; pastel, pencil, charcoal and ink and collage. The 3D work included some gorgeous sculpture in stoneware, bronze resin and wire, ceramic portraits, shapely pots and a stack of kitchen pots topped off by a head and chef’s cap, to add a touch of variety.

left to right: Lord Laming, Bert Wright, June Pickard, Gerald Dale, Nicola Dobrowolski, Marquess of Salisbury, Linda Radford, Craig Morton, Kathy Burman, Peter Ruffles, Deputy Mayor of Hertford.

A childrens’ quiz kept children (and their parents) engaged as they explored the hall for solutions to some very quirky questions. As usual additional works were displayed at other venues in Hertford.

The Hertford Annual Open Exhibition covers just about every genre and the work is judged each year by a panel of four eminent, practising artists who are completely independent of the Society. This year’s judges were:

Marie Antoniou, an artist and tutor well known for her unique depictions of wildlife in acrylics which have earned her numerous awards and accolades.
Hashim Akib, an award winning artist who works in acrylics, runs workshops in the UK and abroad, gives art demonstrations and has published DVDs and books, the latest being ‘Portraits in Acrylics' published by Search Press.
John Walsom ROI, a Surrey artist who's renowned for his paintings of landscapes and architectural subjects. He began his career as an architect, and later a scenic artist for live theatre, a theatre design consultant, an architectural photographer, and an illustrator.
Rodney Mundy, a sculptor who works in clay, wax or plaster to produce sculpture to be cast in bronze or bronze resin. He has executed many commissions for figurative and animals subjects and is based in Hertfordshire.

We thank the judges for their professional and expert input and are also very appreciative of our sponsors who so kindly contribute to the Society each year. It is a great honour and incentive to receive one of their donated awards.

Award Winners

The prize winners this year were as follows:

  • The John Goss Award for the Best in Show was awarded to Nicola Dobrowolski for her picture - Movement and Moments in a Great British Meadow - 53x112cm.
  • The Lady Laming Award for the best Abstract work was awarded to Kathy Burman for her sculpture - Sofia Emerging No 3 - Stoneware - 37cm tall.
  • The Bill Dale Award for an outstanding work by a Member of the Society was awarded to Craig Lee - Evening Light Cambridge - Oils - 63x74cm.
  • Mayor's Award (sponsored by The Arts Society East Herts) for the best 3D work was awarded to June Pickard - Echo of Scheherezade - Stoneware - 29cm tall.
  • Edward Mason Brushes award for the best Watercolour painting Bert Wright - Honfleur - Watercolour - 25x33cm.

John Goss Award - best in show
Nicola Dobrowolski - Movement and Moments in a Great British Meadow - 53x112cm.

Lady Laming - Abstract prize
Kathy Burman - Sofia Emerging No 3 - Stoneware - 37cm tall.

Bill Dale Award
Craig Lee - Evening Light Cambridge - Oils - 63x74cm.

Mayor's Award for 3D
June Pickard - Echo of Scheherezade - 29cm tall.

Edward Mason award
Bert Wright - Honfleur - Watercolour - 25x33cm.

Open for an entire fortnight the Exhibition attracted many visitors from a wide area. Hundreds of visitors cast their votes for their favourite exhibit.

  • This year The Visitors’ Choice Award was won by Shuli Han Dulley for her painting Lucy, in watercolour
  • The runners up were:
    • Tracy Pinnington - “On your marks - Get set - Go”
    • John Jarratt - Early Sun, Marford Allotments
    • Sharon Wright - Honey Trail, and
    • Michael Radley - Evening Light, New River

Thanks go to all the people who contributed in making this, the 67th Open Exhibition, such a success - it was another exciting and popular show. This comment is by our Member, John Jarratt and really sums up the pride with which the show is presented and the pleasure that this annual event gives to all its visitors.

“I usually spend a little time, while stewarding the Exhibition, in wandering here and there studying all the pictures. Amazingly, every such stroll brings up pictures I seem to have missed. It seems that with a show of such diverse and excellent artworks my mind is captured anew over and over. I have exhibited at several shows and over many years and I really believe that the Hertford Art Society’s Annual Exhibition can’t be beaten.”

The Visitors’ Choice Award, Shuli Han Dulley - Lucy.

Runner up, Tracy Pinnington - “On your marks - Get set - Go”.

John Jarratt - Early Sun, Marford Allotments.

Sharon Wright - Honey Trail.

Michael Radley - Evening Light, New River.

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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.