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A Working Life

11th March to 2nd April, 2017 Open Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm or by appointment

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Where enquiries of prices are made on the gallery, the work is subject to availability and the price to change.

I knew Bob (Charles) Bartlett for several years when we taught together at Harrow School of Art.
Drawing was always the basis of Bob’s teaching; drawing was a way of seeing and his work was always life enhancing.

I have lived with a Bartlett coloured etching for the last fifty years and it has made my life richer. It has revealed the world to me in a new way and that must be what art is about.

Professor Ken Howard, OBE, RA



Charles (Bob) Bartlett PPRWS., RE., ARCA

I once met Bob and Olwen, whom I knew only in London, by chance at an inn on the River Orwell, the Butt and Oyster at Pin Mill. They finished their meal and climbed into a boat and I watched as they moved across the water, in the soft light, to their yacht ‘Marguerite’: an image of Bob himself becoming part of the inshore landscape that he had made his own.

Charles (Bob) Bartlett was born in Grimsby in 1921, and moved with his widowed mother to Eastbourne as a child. After schooling he went to Eastbourne School of Art, and on to the Royal College of Art. The 2nd World War interrupted his studies, and after service with the Guards Armoured Division in Germany, he took up his place at the RCA. Here Bob was much encouraged by Robert Austin, the head of the Engraving School, and later the President of both the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers, both of which societies Bob was to join, and to serve as VPRE and President of the RWS. Bob taught at Harrow Art School for ten years. He painted in oil and etched from the start; towards the end of his life watercolour became his favourite medium. He drew throughout his career.

One might think of two approaches to conceiving a picture – delineation, where one draws objects concentrating on their outlines and setting each in space relating to others. The alternative to this is to see masses or blocks of shapes defined by colour or tone or texture and build a picture by manipulating them. Bob seems to have been drawn to the second, ‘block’ approach from early on, and to have worked on it and refined it.

He drew on the spot in sketchbooks and on sheets of paper pinned to boards, using pencil, charcoal and conte crayon. He would work from these studies in the studio on his etchings and watercolours. His aim was to ‘get inside’ the landscape and reinterpret it in a finished work.

This often involved working into lakes of watercolour on stretched sheets of paper or spreading acid on a plate to allow it to bite deeply into it. He would use all sorts of innovations such as sticking ‘Araldite’ glue to a plate, and creating a texture on a painting by printing a bottle top or whatever else came to hand. (He was one of the first printmakers to introduce the technique of coloured etchings from France in the 1960’s.) One can imagine this creative ferment where swirling patches of watery paint are directed and shaped, and seem to suggest other shapes an textures.

Bob and Olwen lived in Fingringhoe on the Roman River and not far from where the ‘Marguerite ‘was moored. He reluctantly sold his yacht in 2004, but continued to paint with astonishing energy until the very end of his life in 2014 at the great age of 93.

Richard Sorell, 2016

Charles Bartlett
PPRWS., RE., ARCA (1921 – 2014)

Born Grimsby Lincolnshire
1930 - 40
Trained as painter and etcher at Eastbourne School of Art
1940 - 45
Armed Forces
1946 - 49
The Royal College of Art
1950 - 60
Graphic and illustration work
Part-time teaching in various London art colleges
1960 - 70
Full time Senior Lecturer at Harrow School of Art
Elected a Fellow of Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers
Adviser and actor of Documentary on the life of Paul Hogarth for BBC2 Television
Elected a Fellow of the Royal Watercolour Society
1987 - 92
President of the Royal Watercolour Society
Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne
Walker Gallery, London
Zaydler Gallery, London
Oldham Art Gallery
Dudley Art Gallery
Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne
University Art Gallery, Southampton
Reading Museum and Art Gallery
Victoria Art Gallery
Chelmsford Museum and Art Gallery
Bohun Gallery, Henley-on-Thames
A Printmakers Retrospective, Bohun Gallery, Henley
1 + 1 (with Olwen Jones)
Exhibition tour included: The Minories, Colchester; Usher Gallery, Lincoln; University of Durham; Oriel Theatre, Clwyd; Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne; Anthony Dawson, London.
Bohun Gallery, Henley-on-Thames
New Watercolours, Bohun Gallery, Henley-on-Thames
Wherry Quay Gallery, Ipswich
Featured Artist at The Royal Watercolour Society
Bohun Gallery, Henley-on-Thames
Printworks, Colchester
Bohun Gallery, Henley-on-Thames
Bankside Gallery, London (Retrospective Exhibition)
John Russell Gallery, Ipswich
Bohun Gallery, Henley-on-Thames
John Russell Gallery, Ipswich
Bohun Gallery, Henley-on-Thames
Hayletts Gallery Maldon, Essex
Bohun Gallery, Henley-on-Thames
John Russell Gallery, Ipswich
Hayletts Gallery, Maldon, Essex
John Russell Gallery, Ipswich
Hayletts Gallery, Maldon, Essex
Emma Mason Gallery, Eastbourne
Hayletts Gallery, Maldon, Essex
Hayletts Gallery, Maldon, Essex

Richmond Hill Gallery, London
Royal Academy, London
New English Art Group
The Barbican, London
Modern English Classics, Moscow
Minories, Colchester
Usher Gallery, Lincoln
Halesworth Gallery
Ash Barn Gallery, Hants
Casson Gallery, London
Amalgam Gallery, Barnes, London
Univerity of Durham
Oriel Theatre, Clwyd
Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne
Anthony Dawson Travelling Exhibition
The John Russell Gallery, Ipswich
Leicester Galleries, London
“Starting in Watercolour”publ. Bloomsbury
“The Complete Artist” Swallow Publishing
Monograph, Charles Bartlett:
Painter and Etcher
“The Watercolor Expert” Cassell Illustrated
“Watercolour Master – There and Now” Cassell Illustrated
“Watercolour Secrets” publ. Bloomsbury
Various articles for Art Mags
1969 - 75
Gorner & Millard Etchings Published
The Thames Series
Marks and Spencer – watercolours
1979 - 83
Christies Fine Art Etchings Published – two suites
Shell – watercolours
National Grid – watercolours




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