In 1989, in a conversation at the Chelsea Arts Club, with Peter Peterson RBA, Sandra Pepys (then chair of the Society of Landscape Painters), Dennis Gilbert NEAC, Cinzia Bonada RBA and others, it was mentioned that many of them often painted small scale works and that it would be a good idea if there were a forum for exhibiting such works. The potential membership was discussed and a shortlist of names agreed on and the Small Paintings Society - subsequently renamed the Small Paintings Group - was founded.
It was agreed to approach Duncan Miller at his then gallery in Hampstead (now in Bury Street SW1) and he welcomed the idea to include only small paintings. The inaugural exhibition of the Small Paintings Group was at the Duncan Miller Gallery, 17 Flask Walk, Hampstead NW3 starting on the 1st of December 1991. It was composed of some thirty painters from many of the exhibiting societies including a number of Royal Academicians, and these formed the founding membership of the Group. Membership is limited to a maximum of 35 artists.
Paintings exhibited with the SPG are limited to 12" by 12" or 144 square inches in area and may be in any medium. Although many of our members also work on a much larger scale, the discipline involved in making small and intimate paintings demands a conciseness and directness all of its own and their affiliation to the Small Paintings Group reflects their appreciation of a forum where they can exhibit their smaller ‘cabinet’ sized paintings in sympathetic company in different venues across the country.
These smaller works also have the advantage of fitting comfortably into the modern domestic environment where space may be limited – although, it is said, for the true collector a lack of space should never be a deterrent to adding to their collection!
Since its inauguration The Group has had over fifty exhibitions in London, Southern and Southeast England and also Jersey. Galleries include Piers Feetham Gallery, Fulham; the Russell Gallery, Putney; the Edmund Gallery, Suffolk; Wimbledon Fine Art; Chappel Galleries, Colchester; the Jerram Gallery, Sherborne; Geedon Gallery, Essex; Century Fine Art, Datchet; Highgate Contemporary Art and several others.