Kenneth Rowntree, the conscientious objector

This afternoon I popped into The Towner  in Eastbourne to attend an Art Viewpoint meeting. The meetings are usually held on the final week of each month. The talk was headed by Corinne Farmer, who incidentally was a lecturer at Camberwell (small world), the informal discussion focused on three paintings by the painter Kenneth Rowntree. The paintings are part of the Recording Britain exhibition. Even though the talk was relatively short, it was very informative and not only did I become more familiar with the work of Kenneth Rowntree but also I learned another term- ‘conscientious objector’. More information regarding this term can be seen here . The Smoke Room of the Ashopton Inn was discussed at the meeting. For me, I found this particular painting verging on abstract realism, the abstract being the non-visible of wear and tear one would expect in an old pub. For example, a pristine looking dart board, the gleaming surface of the pub table and windows without smears. Another talking point was the non-figurative aspect of Rowntree’s work. I think there are parallels with the work of Edward Hopper. The next talk at the Towner, scheduled March 12, will be given by Gill Saunders, head of the V & A. She will be discussing the origins and aims of the exhibition, Recording Britain. A bargain for only £6!

Kenneth Rowntree

The Smoke Room of the Ashopton Inn, Ashopton, Derbyshire. 1940 (V &A images)

 

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Below is archive evidence of myself recording Britain in the New Inn in Kewstoke, near Weston-Super-Mare in 1992. Like Rowntree, I should have omitted the figurative.

New Inn, Kewstoke (1992).jpg

 

 

 

 

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