Friday, September 15, 2023

Review: A Girl about Town by Rosa Sepple

Rosa Sepple PPRI seems to have settled on 50 paintings as a goodly number for a solo show. This is how many paintings she has in her latest exhibition "A Girl About Town" which is on at the new RWS Galleries at 3 Whitcomb Street (next to the National Gallery) in central London.

If you're an artist, I recommend you take a look at an exhibition by an artist who is renowned for having a very good track record in solo shows and sells lots of paintings!

If you're a collector, I recommend you take a look at artwork which is very different from most art you see in galleries and exhibitions.

Rosa Sepple and the Beatles in A Hard Day's Night (SOLD)

The exhibition has been organised by Adrian Hill Fine Art who has been selling Rosa's artwork to a very enthusiastic set of collectors for quite a while. He's one of those gallerists who's got a very good portfolio of artists he represents and others whose work he sells. The paintings are all presented extremely well using the same black frames which are used for all Rosa's paintings.

The exhibition at the RWS Whitcomb Galleries3 - 5 Whitcomb Street, London WC2H 7HA is on

  • From:  Tuesday 12th - To: Saturday 23rd September
  • Hours: 11am - 6pm daily (Saturday 23rd 11am - 2pm Only)
On Private View night I walked into a gallery with a LOT of red spots for sales already in evidence plus a number of green ones for those reserved prior to the collector visiting the show.

To date (14th September), after the exhibition has been open for 4 days she's sold 24 paintings of the 50 paintings with three more reserved. So basically she's almost certainly sold half the show with more than a week to go! 

In essence, it's art from the perspective of a young woman - with sparkle - with dreams about what might be! Rosa's paintings are very much uniquely hers.  For those who are interested, the subject matter sales split as follows:

  • Party Girls
  • Single women
  • Couples 
  • Landscapes (typically maritime and Venice)
However, aspects of Rosa's paintings do remind me of two artists who have been extremely popular in the UK:
  • Beryl Cook - the fascination of things which rather larger middle aged women do - with various added fun components; and 
  • the landscapes and narratives of LS Lowry with added whimsical components. 
Rosa Sepple is an artist who likes to paint narratives which tell stories or evoke feelings of "fun" and/or "feeling good". If your paintings can make others smile and feel good too, you can sell a lot of paintings! 

"Dance to the Music" by Rosa Sepple

Interestingly it also reminded me that, in general, I see very few paintings by women of things women like to do. Which is maybe a thought to ponder on for all the female artists out there. 

Personally, I like her larger narrative paintings with lots of people doing lots of things. They have the capacity to make me stop and look for a long time - in much the same way as LS Lowry paintings have done for many people in the past.

I also very much like her skills in the use of collage and frottage to give the paintings textural interest.

The Village Green by Rosa Sepple

Rosa makes it her practice to develop and hold a number of solo shows - in liaison with Adrian Hill - for her very unique subject matter and style which draws a number of avid collectors. It's not the sort of art you see in every gallery - you need somebody who believes in you and Adrian certainly does that. 

I have to highlight that it's not the sort of art I buy. The first time I saw her work - a long time ago in the RWS Open at the Bankside Gallery - I found myself saying to myself, in a fairly pompous huffy way, things like "But you're not allowed to put lots of glitter in paintings!" However I was VERY wrong!  Sparkle can sell paintings!

I now absolutely and totally get why her art is so popular with so many people. Many of the paintings remind me of parties I went to back in the 60s and 70s and people do like fun paintings!

Party Girls by Rosa Sepple in "A Girl About Town"

Party girls in the Basement Gallery

The exhibition also looks absolutely splendid in the brand new RWS Whitcomb Galleries (one on the ground floor and two more in the basement). It's looking very much like an excellent place to hold a solo show. (As somebody who is disabled, I also was very impressed with the lift and facilities for visitors)

I had to wait until the end of the Private View evening to get photos of the galleries without LOTS of people in front of the paintings.

Two Basement Galleries

One final point to ponder

One does wonder why on earth an extremely effective Past President of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (2017-2022) cannot get a space in the calendar for use of the West Gallery at the Mall Galleries. This is where Rosa held her first solo show - and where she outsold, on her own, most of the FBA Art Society's Annual Exhibitions (see my review of that show Rosa Sepple sells 50+ paintings in 4 days! )

So many people who have previously exhibited at the Mall Galleries are now exhibiting elsewhere because of what was and is, in my view, a VERY stupid policy, of people having to hire ALL three galleries and use the (very expensive) gallery caterers. 

That's why, I think, a lot of independent hires won't be returning unless the policy changes and rates become much more affordable.

From what I've seen to date, I think the RWS - at both the Bankside and Whitcomb Galleries - are going to do extremely well out of those wanting respectable professional galleries to hire with more client-oriented policies on how it works and what it costs. See Gallery Hire.

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