About the Society

For 60 years the Chandos Society of Artists has delighted art lovers with their exhibitions. Members’ work covers the whole spectrum of styles and subjects which includes painting, sculpture, print-making, textiles, photography and ceramics.
Members enjoy and benefit from a full annual programme and are encouraged to make suggestions and recommendations to ensure that it is relevant to their needs.
In 1961 Jean Rees RWA with John ‘Jack’ Fieldhouse founded The Chandos Society of Artists to encourage the practice and appreciation of the visual arts, a principle still honoured today. In 1946 Jean Rees was a founder member of the Bridgwater Arts Centre. The centre was an important post-war mile-stone for it was Britain’s first art centre to be funded by the Arts Council.

Membership for 1962 was 25. The programme for 1962 included visits to Sparkford Hall to view the Private Collection of Mrs Stead-Ellis, and to Bath and Festival Exhibitions. Sketching Parties were taken at The Splatts, Spaxton; Bonson Farm Fiddington; Halswell Park; The Mill, Kingston St Mary after each visit ‘members take tea’. The first exhibition was held at the Friends Meeting House, Frian Street, Bridgwater on March 16. The close association with Bridgwater Arts Centre started on October 12 1962 with a Lecture “Abstract Art’ by Warren Storey, Principal, Weston-s-Mare College of Art. Thereafter many of the Exhibitions were held in the Art Centre. News of the Society appeared several times in the Bridgwater Mercury with the then editor Mr Lane ‘showing a strong interest in our formation and enterprise’. At the end of the first year the Bank balance stood at £6-19s-6d. In 1963 a selection of pictures from the Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol was shown at Bridgwater Arts Centre with a talk and discussion by the late Jeremy Rees, Director of the Arnolfini Gallery, son of the society’s secretary, Mrs J. Rees. 

To view the Minutes of The Chandos Society of Artists’ first meeting click the button below. Also below is a comprehensive list of all the Officers who have served on the committee since its inauguration.

Many eminent speakers have presented at the Society including:
Jeremy Rees, (1937-2003) Founder of the Arnolfini Gallery.
Peter Thursby, FRBS, PRWA (1930-2011) was a well-known sculptor, painter, draughtsman and printmaker.
Arthur George Negus, OBE (1903-1985) was a British television personality and antiques expert.
Reg Gammon, RWA Painter and Illustrator. 
Michael Canney, Painter, relief maker, writer, broadcaster and teacher.
Brenda Naylor, (1926 –  2016) British sculptor, and fashion sketch artist for Norman Hartnell. 
Bob Devereux, poet and artist
Constance-Anne Parker, (1921 – 2016) artist and sculptor.
Mervyn Levy, (1914 – 1996) artist, art teacher, writer and broadcaster.
Nicholas Patrick Reyntiens, OBE, stained glass artist.
Philippa Threlfall, relief mural artist in ceramics.
Marion Mako, Garden Historian & Designer.
Anthony Rossiter, (1926-2000) Landscape painter.
George Ferguson, Architect and first Mayor of Bristol.
Serena de le Hay, sculptor best known for The Willow Man.
Brian Rice, Abstract artist.
Derek Balmer, Artist and Photographer.
George Melly, (1926-2007) Jazz and Blues singer, critic, writer and lecturer.
Timothy Mowl, architectural and landscape historian.
Peter Haggett, Geographer and Academic.