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October 2018

An unproductive summer in terms of painting but the upcoming Christmas Show at St Anne's gallery in Lewes (3rd Nov - 23rd Dec) prompts a visit to the sketch books and framing a few of the recent sketches. These are largely based upon an amazing digital archive of old Brighton photos:

Managed by the Regency Society of Brighton Hove it's a treasure trove of over 7000 photos of the city and its environs collected by James Gray. As the website notes, Gray was:

a local collector with a passion for the streets of Brighton and Hove, and, as time went on, further afield.

James Gray spent his working life in insurance but his real passion was for the streets of Brighton and Hove.

His vast collection of topographical pictures began in the 1950s with the chance acquisition of a few images showing the Western Road. From then on, he bought, swapped and commissioned a huge range of views of the city and beyond.

After his death in 1998, the Regency Society was lucky to buy the collection, which offers a unique photographic record and provides invaluable insight into the way our city has looked during the second half of the 19th and much of the twentieth century.

It's a wonderful archive and well worth a look. The sketches below are largely based on those images and I'm hoping to offer them at St Anne's. If not, they'll be on this website. They're all from the 1870s to roughly the 1890s. The sketches are all pencil and charcoal.

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