About the R.S.M.A.
||Britain is an island nation having over 6,000
miles of coastline and a maritime heritage second to none. Naturally
this national association with the sea has created a strong
tradition of marine art. The Royal Society of Marine Artists
was founded in 1939 and since then has been the focal point
for much of Britain’s finest marine art. The founder members
were already well-established artists, men and women in middle
age, so that the Society can fairly claim to represent British
marine art of the whole of the twentieth century, including
many of its best-known names, such as Montague Dawson, Claude
Muncaster, Charles Pears, Keith Shackleton, Norman Wilkinson
and Harold Wyllie. The Society maintains a Diploma Collection
of some eighty paintings which consists of works by past and
Today the RSMA has a vigorous membership numbering some forty-two
artists. The Society’s common theme is the sea, and the members’
work is as wide and varied as the subject. Traditions of plein-air, topographical,
historical, still-life, portrait, and abstract painting are all welcomed.
The range of media is also wide, including oil painting, watercolours,
acrylics and pastels, as well as drawings, prints and the occasional sculpture.
The annual exhibition at the Mall Gallery in London is open
to non-members, submitted work being subject to selection by jury. There
is usually one other all-Society exhibition each year, and individual
members participate in many other shows. New members are elected to the
Society from an Associate level, which is itself elected. The membership
is drawn from every region of the United Kingdom, and from overseas.
The Society is a registered charity with a remit to encourage
and promote marine art, and many of the members are active in teaching,
lecturing and demonstrating their art. Exhibitions are often linked with
foundations such as the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, the King
George’s Fund for Sailors, the Jubilee Trust for the Disabled, and
other charities. Aside from this, the Society has many connections with
the maritime world, including the Royal Navy, the National Maritime Museum
at both Greenwich and Falmouth, shipping industry, maritime publishing,
and sailing interests.
There is a Lay-membership for friends and supporters particularly
interested in the Society’s work, which for an annual subscription
offers an exclusive preview evening at the Show, free admission throughout,
the Society’s newsletter, and a prize draw.
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