The ambition for Romsey Art Group to have its own gallery was fulfilled when their president, Lord Mountbatten, agreed to lease the Victorian chapel on the Broadlands Estate to the group. The Lord Bishop of Winchester had sealed the licence to build the chapel on 15 April 1862 and it eventually opened for worship in 1882. However, it was never consecrated. The picture is one of only two in the Romsey Art Group archive of the interior before the chapel closed showing the harvest festival of 1962 believed to be the last to be held there.
The Orangery at Broadlands, home of Lord Mountbatten, was the setting for the Spring Exhibition of May 1964. Painting prices ranged from 2 guineas to 45 guineas. On show was a painting of the presentation of new colours to the Hampshire Regiment exhibited by artist Tom Oxford prior to going to its new home in the Officers’ Mess at the Regiment’s headquarters.
Cover of the first catalogue
The catalyst for the formation of the Romsey Art Group was a Freedom from Hunger campaign in May 1963.
Local artists came together to stage an exhibition at the Dolphin Hotel (the present-day Bradbeer’s department store) in the heart of Romsey.
Inside the first catalogue
Lord Mountbatten with Patience Nicholson May 1963 Dolphin Hotel Exhibition
Lord Mountbatten is seen with organiser, Mrs. Patience Nicholson viewing the fund raising exhibition.
The success of the venture spurred the artists to create a formal group which was inaugurated on June 14th 1963 and Lord Mountbatten and Patience Nicholson became Romsey Art Group’s first president and chairman respectively.