A thank you from Newnham

Lots Road Group artist Sarah Richardson was formally thanked by Dame Carol Black, Principal of Newnham College Cambridge, this weekend for her portrait of former student and Observer columnist Katherine Whitehorn, which has been accepted into the college’s permanent collection.
In a letter to the artist, the chair of Newnham’s Valuable Possessions Committee said she felt Sarah had, “captured something of the essence of her [Katherine’s] personality and humour”.

Portrayed! at Newnham College Cambridge

The Lots Road Group’s IWF UK Portrayed! 25 years of inspiring women exhibition continued its tour this weekend, visiting one of the few remaining Oxbridge all-women colleges – Newnham College Cambridge.

Principal Dame Carol Black welcomed AGM Associates, students, fellows and invited members of the public, plus sitters and artists to the well-attended event on Saturday.

Rosalind Gilmore – one of two former Newnham students, alongside Katharine Whitehorn – spoke of the trust the IWF UK sitters had needed to show the Lots Road Group at the start to make what had proved to be such a successful collaboration.


The Lots Road Group is proud to announce that Newnham College, Cambridge is to host PORTRAYED! 25 YEARS OF INSPIRING WOMEN this Saturday, 12 November to coincide with the Newnham Associates AGM.  The exhibition will be open to them, students, fellows, staff and invited members of the public.

Two of the inspiring women sitters were educated at Newnham college – Rosalind Gilmore, private secretary to five Cabinet Ministers, painted by Mark Stevenson, and veteran journalist Katharine Whitehorn, painted by Sarah Richardson.  

The Lots Road Group is delighted that Katharine Whitehorn’s portrait has been accepted into the permanent collection of the college.  In addition Katherine Firth’s portrait of Barbara Mills, the former DPP, has been accepted into the permanent collection of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.

The exhibition, which has been touring since May 2015, commemorates the silver jubilee of the International Women’s Forum UK. It features four of the founders of the lWF UK and the first 12 chairs, including Celia Goodhart, a Visitor of Oxford University; champion racing driver Jean Denton, the first woman to hold a ministerial post at the Northern Ireland office; Barbara Hosking, former speechwriter for Harold Wilson.

If you missed it, you can see the exhibition catalogue here Price £17.29 +p&p.

In a world of selfies – self portraits offer something different

In a world where selfies – which capture a moment in time – are commonplace, self portraits offer something different, capturing a life lived up to that moment.

The Lots Road Group’s latest exhibition The Art of Reading (Waterstones Gower Street until 30 Nov) includes self portraits of the artists who have contributed their portraits of others reading.
The catalogue contains them all and is available for a special exhibition price in store or online via blurb.co.uk/b/7438580-the-art-of-reading £17.59.

Art of Reading PV – a huge success!

Last night’s Private View of the Lots Road Group’s latest show The Art of Reading, in association with BookTrust, was attended by more than 150 people.

Speeches by this year’s theme leader, Hilary Puxley, and BookTrust’s Meredith Niles underlined that the exhibition aimed to be a celebration of the pleasure of reading.
Meredith spoke about how reading is so integral to family life that when, quite separate to the show, she had asked LRG artist Elizabeth Shields to paint their eldest son William, they found the truest reflection of his personality was to depict him curled up with a great book on his kindle.
Hilary spoke about the popularity of the theme with artists and explained that all the images in the show, which runs at Waterstones Gower Street from today until the end of the month, are accompanied by narratives which together give a palpable sense of the joys of reading.
If you’re quick, you can buy the catalogue in store for a special exhibition price, or you can buy it online via blurb.co.uk/b/7438580-the-art-of-reading £17.59.
Here are some of the artists with their portrait and sitters – including Michael Bond, Julian Warrender, Natasha Farrant and Caroline Dawnay.


Inspiring a love of reading with BookTrust

On show in Waterstones’ 1st dedicated gallery in Bloomsbury


Waterstones Gower Street (New in-store gallery):

82 Gower St, London WC1E 6EQ (Closest tube: Goodge Street)

Thursday 3 to Sunday 30 November 2016

Exhibition catalogue: Available shortly via Blurb  

The Lots Road Group, in association with BookTrust – Britain’s largest reading charity – is celebrating Children’s Book Week with a portrait exhibition The Art of Reading at Waterstones’ first dedicated gallery space in its flagship academic bookstore in Bloomsbury.

The exhibition – a celebration of the pleasure of reading– runs from 3-30 November in an area associated with the influential Bloomsbury Group of English writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists.

The portraits are of people spanning different categories of the written word.  They include children’s authors such as Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear, and Julian Warrender, teen authors Natasha Farrant and Philip Womack, and novelist and poet Julia Bell.  It also portrays academics in the field of literature, such as literary critic Professor Dame Gilllian Beer as well as literary agent of the Year 2014 Caroline Dawnay, as well as relatives and friends of the artists.  There’s even a portrait of an unknown sitter on instagram!

Accompanying words, taken from the catalogue, provide a fascinating insight into the reading habits of those portrayed – from those who prefer the “tactile” rather than the electronic experience of reading physical books – including braille. Many reveal their ‘Desert Island’ reads, from the practical (a book on boat building: Michael Bond) and the all encompassing (Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale: Dame Gllian Beer; Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’: Natasha Farrant) to the hopeful (Julie Donaldson, author of ‘The Gruffalo, who chose, ‘Poem for the day one’, “This book contains 365 poems.  I’d try to learn one a day until I was rescued.”

In addition, Michael Bond, portrayed with the artist Hero Johnson’s childhood copy of his book ‘The tales of Olga da Polga’, revealed that he still has the eponymous guinea pig’s successors! And, referencing A A Milne’s most famous creation, ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’, Artist Sarah Reynolds posed her granddaughter lying down under a tree with one leg in the air, just like a famous illustration of Christopher Robin by E.H. Shepard, who, like the Lots Road Group, studied at The Heatherley School of Fine Art in Lots Road, Chelsea.

Hilary Puxley, leading this year’s exhibition for the Lots Road Group, said, “This is the third Lots Road Group annual exhibition and this year we’ve taken the idea of the sitter reading – a perennial theme throughout the history of portraiture – as our subject . Our exhibition brings the theme up-to-date, giving an insight into the ways in which people of all ages derive pleasure from reading now.  

Heatherley’s is one of the oldest independent art colleges in London and one of the few in Britain that focuses purely on portraiture, figurative painting and sculpture.  The 15 portraits, executed in oils, featured in the exhibition, show the acute powers of observation and attention to detail the institution, now in its 176th year, instilled into the Lots Road Group.

Children’s Book Week runs from 31 October to 6 November 2016 and aims to celebrate reading for pleasure.  By designating a special day or week for book-related activies, schools and libraries can help children to see reading as pleasurable and fun, stimulating them to discover new books, extend their reading choices, discuss and share books, explore libraries and bookshops, and do their own creative writing.  BookTrust works to inspire a love of reading in children because reading can transform lives. They give out over 2 million carefully chosen books to children throughout the UK. Every parent receives a BookTrust book in the baby’s first six months. Their books, guidance and resources are delivered via health, library, schools and early years practitioners, and are supported with advice and resources to encourage the reading habit. Reading for pleasure has a dramatic impact on educational outcomes, well-being and social mobility, and is also a huge pleasure in itself. BookTrust are committed to starting children on their reading journey and supporting them throughout