PORTRAITS OF A RIVER The River Stour from the Source to the Sea art exhibition  at North House Gallery Manningtree, Essex

PORTRAITS OF A RIVER

The River Stour from the Source to the Sea

One of the special things about the North House Gallery is its position on the estuary of the Stour. This exhibition celebrates the river which rises on the uplands of Wratting Common in Cambridgeshire but which, for most of its length, forms the border between Essex and Suffolk. A recent trip to the source revealed a disappointing dry ditch, because of the lack of rain. But, fed by little brooks, the Stour quickly starts growing into the meandering, tree-lined “mighty river” that has inspired many artists. Those selected here have been chosen for their directness and originality.


The huge watercolours by John Addyman (1929-2006) of the Stour, which he called “a perfect vehicle for my new ideas on the more formal presentation of content in landscape painting”, are slightly abstracted but still clearly recognisable as the river at Sudbury, Dedham or Flatford.


A previously unshown suite of pencil drawings by Blair Hughes-Stanton (1902-1981) of the tree-canopied river between Dedham and Stratford St Mary, appear to have been done from a punt in 1946. In the late 50s he made intricate linocuts in his studio overlooking the tidal estuary at Manningtree. The ever-changing skies and tides of that same view have been captured in many moods in photographs by Jane Pemberton.


Mud boat paintings by Ffiona Lewis even manage to make the mud look beautiful.


Zara Chancellor and Dina Southwell live on opposite banks in more constantly watery parts further down the estuary but often go on painting trips together, finding unusual views and light and responding directly to the landscape, working the images up later in the studio if necessary to recreate the experience of being there.


Mel King lives and paints in Harwich, at the mouth of the river, and portrays the feeling there of ‘living on the edge’: ‘either looking back along the Stour or out to sea, the light and horizon entice’.

Exhibition dates

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Open on Saturdays, 10 am - 5 pm or by appointment.

These images are a selection of the works available at the Gallery
Please contact the gallery for further information

Exhibition venue:North House GalleryThe Walls, Manningtree, Essex CO11 1AS
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