HISTORY
1. Early Days

2. In High Street

3. Special Exhibitions

4. End Of An Era

5. End Of An Era 2

6. New Beginnings

7. Consolidation

8. ART at St Nicholas

9. Postscript


6 New beginnings


During its long life the Society ("Club" was changed to "Society" in 1993 to accomodate the idea of associate members who need not be practitioners) has experienced many vicissitudes and changes of circumstance. By the late 1980's it had fallen to a rather low ebb. Committee meetings had dwindled to barely three a year and virtually its sole activity was the annual exhibition.


However, David Thompson as Chairman and Richard Woolett as Secretary set about, together with President T. W. (Bill) Ward, trying to revitalise the Club and raise the Annual Exhibition's somewhat provincial profile by reviving a lapsed tradition of including distinguished "guest" artists (these included three R.A's. in Carel Weight, Peter Coker and Dame Elizabeth Frink). Catalogues were redesigned, winter programmes organised, the name changed and two new fixtures launched in the Anna Airy Award Exhibition and the Printmakers' Fair.


These changes coincided with Bernard Reynolds accepting the Presidency. Bernard with his practical skills and background of long service as a lecturer at the Art School initiated better links with the Suffolk College's Department of Art and Design and was a great supporter of the Society.

The Society had been fortunate to gain the practical services of a very young Andrew Casey who had been working single handedly to stimulate the Ipswich "art scene". Andrew had organised some remarkable showcases for up and coming young artists in the area under the title of "Young Blood". Their quality and continuity were achieved by Andrew with crusading zeal. Subsequently, Andrew Casey was elected Chairman of the Society in 1994 and served for two energetic years before standing down to concentrate on his teaching and other activities as ceramics scholar and author.


The works of many past members of Ipswich Fine Art Club seem to attract renewed popular interest. In 1993 it was the turn of Harry Becker (1865-1928) and Christchurch Mansion asked David Thompson to curate a major exhibition in the Wolsey Gallery. Born in Colchester, Becker was the son of a German immigrant who sent him to the Royal Academy Schools in Antwerp before going to study in Paris. Here he came under the influence of artists such as Manet and Degas. He returned to this country in 1886 and became a member of Ipswich Fine Art Club in 1890. His work, particularly his studies of working horses and agricultural labourers, is now becoming ever more sought after and admired.