Reclaiming Rose art exhibition at Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham

Rose Bonner in her studio

Rose Bonner in her studio - Credit: Various

The complete works of an accomplished portrait painter, who lived and worked in Richmond for over 50 years, will be explored for the first time at Orleans House Gallery in Twickenham.

Self detail

Self detail - Credit: Various

Entitled Reclaiming Rose, the exhibition tells the story of Rose Dempster Bonnor (1874-1967) and should rekindle interest in a talented painter who somehow faded from public awareness. A leading female artist of her day, Rose exhibited work at many of the leading galleries and painted a number of well-known figures.

Village girl

Village girl - Credit: Various

Curated by Richmond Council’s Mark De Novellis and the great niece of Rose Bonnor, Annabel Bonnor Bloxham, who is herself a painter from Richmond, the exhibition looks back at 40 years of Rose’s work from early school paintings to commissioned formal portraits.

“Over the last 17 years, Orleans House Gallery has staged a number of important exhibitions celebrating forgotten women artists including Cynthia Pell and Lady Burlington,” says Mark De Novellis. “We hope that Reclaiming Rose will bring Rose Dempster Bonnor’s life and work to a wider public and return this neglected but talented portraitist to the artistic map.”

Born into a family of artists, Rose went on to become a prize-winning art student at Clapham, then Camberwell, schools of art. She shared a studio with her brother and fellow artist, John Bonnor, and found early recognition with a portrait accepted at the Royal Academy in 1894 at the age of 19. Between then and 1916, Rose exhibited 13 more paintings at the Royal Academy, and many more at other prestigious galleries.

Her growing reputation as a fine artist enabled her to paint many well-known public figures, with her portrait of Lord Kenyan, lord-in-waiting to Queen Victoria, Edward VII and George V, attracting particular attention.

Influenced by Rembrandt in her work, with shafts of light in dark interiors, and also by contemporary artists such as John Singer Sargent and Edvard Munch, Rose’s work still feels fresh and relevant today.

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Reclaiming Rose, Orleans House Gallery, Riverside, Twickenham TW1 3DJ. Tel: 0208 831 6000 / The exhibition runs until Sunday April 27 and admission is free


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