On a glorious sunny day last month, the Wapping Group of Artists set up easels along Twickenham Embankment and began to paint the scene before them.
Founded in 1946, this unique society was initially set up to record the busy life of London’s dockland. But as the landscape has developed, they’ve since gone out every year to record and interpret the changing face of London and the River Thames. The group now meets to paint at venues anywhere between Henley and the Thames Estuary.
The Wappers, as they are fondly known, are masters of the plein-air style – whereby painting and drawing is experienced in situ in the landscape rather than in a studio – and it was fascinating to watch how quickly their paintings developed from a few casual strokes of the brush into full-blown landscapes.
Even though their preferred style was put on hold during coronavirus restrictions, it didn’t stop them producing great works of art from their studio, resulting in their ‘Painting London and its river in lockdown’ project, which can be viewed online.
A new book, The Wapping Group Of Artists: ‘A Changing View’ will be published later this year to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the group. It includes a definitive history by the critic and journalist Anthony J. Lester, a foreword by the noted outdoor painter Peter Brown and individual contributions by all the present members.
For more information visit thewappinggroupofartists.co.uk
Photos: Cathy Cooper, with thanks to Andrew Roberts, Karl Terry, Robbie Murdoch and John Stillman of The Wapping Group
Twickenham Wildlife Photographer