Small Weston Room
‘Small paintings hung close together can never be anything more than charming.’ This is the characteristically forthright view of Anthony Green, who hung this room, usually the most popular feature of the whole exhibition. True, the Small Weston Room is still the home of the miniature and works on a very small scale, but Green has accommodated some biggish paintings, too, chiefly a view of the Ganges at Benares by Anthony Eyton, and three pictures of the Thames at Chiswick by William Bowyer.
Another large picture is by ‘the Queen of the South London back garden’, Melissa Scott-Miller. Green clearly has a weakness for her work, and he also likes Diane Ibbotson’s paintings. ‘She hardly exhibits at all,’ he says. ‘She’s usually interested in light. Here it’s starlight reflected in a muddy puddle.’ Like many of the artists represented here, Ibbotson is not a member. Green is delighted that in this room ‘non-members outgun members by five to one’. The works on a small scale do retain their appeal. Bernard Dunstan and Diana Armfield, both masters of the small scale and the deceptively modest, find their customary places here, and Ken Howard contributes what for him is an unusually diminutive, dazzling sketch of light bouncing off water in Venice (where he has a studio).
Other treats include Elizabeth Blackadder’s uncooked lobster on a plate, Nadia Hebson’s female portrait in the manner of a fifteenth-century Fleming, and Julian Brain’s visual joke involving an accurate copy of Ingres’s Valpinçon Bather and a three-dimensional nose. There’s a small Anthony Green here, too. It shows the artist peering into a garden shed as his naked wife levitates heavenwards.