Edward Burra and friends

Edward Burra at work and Mixed Flowers 1964

A new special exhibition has just opened at Rye Art Gallery (RAG) and is available to enjoy until October 3. Thursday, August 27 was the preview and it was encouraging just how many people attended the evening, locals and some from London. The feedback was very positive about the show but also about the gallery space which is light, welcoming and spacious, to take into account social distancing.

David Lock, himself an artist and inspired by Burra’s art, curated the show which includes John Wiltshire, David Lock, Geraldine Swayne, Graham Martin and others, as well as some items of Burra from the permanent collection. David said: “When I was thinking about Edward Burra, particularly in reading ‘Well Dearie’, the letters by his friend William Chappell, I was struck by Burra’s sexuality which was bound up in his paintings, and as an embodied life his disability seemed to preclude physical relationships. In his time homosexuality was illegal, now I want to reclaim Edward Burra within the gay perspective and see him anew through the lens of the 21st century.”

Any further information please email: ryeartgallery@gmail.com, ryeartgallery.co.uk or phone 01797 222433. The next exhibition is Louis Turpin solo show, September 11-October 11.


Image Credits: Heidi Foster .


  1. Sounds a great exhibition and I look forward to visiting.

    I have always loved Burra’s work and the fact he spent most of his life living on the outskirts of Rye, although fleeing to more interesting places for content of his work. I once met him (a few years before he died) in the Standard Inn – about 1974. He was quite drunk and scary – wild hair, gnarled hands, junk shop clothes: I knew nothing about him (or art) but he made me laugh and had the most incredible eyes – maybe he was studying me; a handsome young chap of 17 in those days for some kind on immortalisation in one of his great works.

    It struck me after reading this weeks Rye News (traffic, oh God pasties are coming, why are we full of overpriced coffee shops and old tat merchants for the tourists) that his view of Rye: he called Rye ‘Ducky little Tinkerbell towne – like an itsy bitsy morgue full of gyfterie and t-shops’ are even more pertinent now.

    All locals should all go to this exhibition and see how a truly great Ryer dealt the the frip frappery of Rye.


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