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History Of Totton Art Society - formed 1968

The following account was written by Reg Whiting in 2004 :-

It all started from the evening art classes at Totton Grammar School where we painted with help from Mr Lewis, the Art Master. After about five years of this, which included several terms of life classes with a variety of nude models, a number of us decided to start an art society, to encourage new members and to exhibit our efforts. I am now the only remaining founder member left in the society. We held our exhibitions in an upstairs room of the present Totton Council offices, until we were moved out to accommodate the council staff expansion, to our present venue. We had demonstrations by visiting artists and evenings for criticism. We found that the best method for criticising members’ work was to have a panel of three experienced members who would sit in the front and discuss each painting. They often did not agree with each other, but nevertheless, their views were all kindly and helpful. I, as Chairman, would summarise their conclusions, and encourage other members to say what they thought

There was Maurice Maynard, a ‘character’ and full-time bait-digger, who produced the most colourful and marvellous abstract paintings. He would never sell any paintings and had unframed paintings stacked around the walls of his house in Totton High Street. We had an elderly lady from Netley Marsh, she always wore a fancy hat with fruit or flowers on it! Her paintings were of the ‘Grandma Moses’ type with funny figures and animals, a lot of flowers and no perspective (which didn’t worry her at all). They were delightful little paintings, which often seem to appeal to people of her age-group. She always made a point of saying how much she enjoyed our meetings and thanking me. Barry Peckham joined us as a young man and was always very serious abut his painting. He soon left us all behind, to take it up as a full-time artist. We also had Rex Trayhorne for a short time. He also took it up professionally. I still see some of our former members who remember those earlier years.

And, also in 2004, Ruth Edwards wrote :

Some time ago, I came across the old Minute Book from 1968, when the Society was first formed and how it came into being. I thought maybe some members would be interested in one or two glimpses of the past. No doubt, for some of our long-standing members, this will stir a few memories.

Reg Whiting, our Vice President and remaining founding member, will I'm sure, remember how a group of people met in the Red Lion with a view to forming an art club or society. The membership fee was one guinea i.e. one pound and five new pence per annum; the entrance fee was ten shillings i.e. fifty new pence. (This amount was worth something in those days!) Meetings were held in the Common Room of the Community Centre.

In 1969 Reg became Chairman and in 1970 the first exhibition was held in the Community Centre. It moved to a room upstairs (now in the Council Offices), and from there to the Lilac Room and eventually to the Palm Room, the present venue. On this, our 35th Anniversary, we can look back and see how far we have come and be proud of our society and its achievements.

History of Totton Art Society
The Society is 50 years old this year