Hidden collection of maritime paintings on show at Falmouth museum

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RSMA Exhibition - Pamela Drew (1910-1989) Ship Building, Belfast 1946 oil on canvas.

Ship Building, Belfast 1946 oil on canvas – Pamela Drew (1910-1989)

A collection of paintings by members of the Royal Society of Marine Art on being admitted to the organisation are on show at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall at Falmouth until the 29th November.

This is a rare event, so catch them if you can.

Founded in 1939, the RSMA collects and promotes contemporary British marine painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking, and is a focal point for much of Britain’s finest marine art.

Like other national art bodies, the the Society asks new members to submit one piece of work to its ‘diploma collection’, which today includes over 100 paintings.

The collection has been stored by the museum for years, but lack of space has meant it hasn’t appeared in public before. That’s a great shame if they’re as good as the sample painting above by Pamela Drew, but I guess this reflects the reality for museums – there’s always far more in store than the public will ever see on a single visit, or even on many visits.

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3 thoughts on “Hidden collection of maritime paintings on show at Falmouth museum”

  1. Most museums have reserve collections owing to lack of space but good curators try and refresh the public displays fairly often using stock which has been hidden from public view. It's one way of keeping their exhibitions fresh and interesting when lack of funding and grants prevent them from making new acquisitions.

    1. As I say, it's a fact of museum life. That said, I once knew someone who worked at the NMM in Greenwich who claimed she was sure the curators there secretly like to keep the impressive collection of Whistlers in the stores to themselves…

      If they ever went on show, I'd be there in a flash!

  2. Some museums welcome enquiries about their reserve collections and are prepared to give some limited and escorted access so it may be worth asking.

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