Rare pictures to offer a glimpse into Rugby's past - The Rugby Observer

Rare pictures to offer a glimpse into Rugby's past

Rugby Editorial 6th Apr, 2024   0

RARE pictures which capture the changing face of Rugby through the 20th century feature in a new exhibition at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum.

Picturing Rugby showcases paintings, etchings, sketches and prints of the town from the museum’s archives, many of which have never been on public display.

The pictures feature landmarks such as Rugby School and St Andrew’s Church through the years, and also capture long-lost buildings including Holy Trinity Church.

The exhibition includes pieces from leading commercial artists of the day, who were commissioned to create a record of the town’s street scenes.




Rugby’s High Street in 1929, a drawing by Joseph Pike commissioned for the book Rugby, A Series of Pencil Sketches.

Joseph Pike produced a series of drawings of London, Bristol, Chester and Stratford-upon-Avon, and his work in Rugby resulted in a book – Rugby, A Series of Pencil Sketches.

The book, published in 1930, included a foreword penned by HC Bradby, an assistant master at Rugby School.


Fellow commercial artist Eddie Scott-Jones drew street scenes of the town in the late 1970s and early 80s, and his pictures captured views of Regent Street and North Street, which both feature in the exhibition.

Picturing Rugby also includes etchings by Gertrude Hayes, a Rugby School art teacher and an alumni of the Royal College of Art.

Hayes was etching Rugby street scenes in the early 20th century, pieces rich in the intricate detail which became her trademark.

The exhibition also includes works by Hayes’ second husband, Edwin Betts, who shared his wife’s love of architecture and developed his own distinctive style while etching town centre scenes.

Catherine Shanahan, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum’s senior collections officer, said Picturing Rugby captured the town through a century of change.

She said: “From commercial artists commissioned to create a historical record of the town to amateur artists who found Rugby’s iconic buildings a constant source of inspiration, the exhibition includes familiar street scenes and snapshots of the town’s lost history.

“With many of the pieces on public display for the first time, Picturing Rugby presents a unique record of the changing face of the town centre through the 20th century.”

Picturing Rugby opens at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum on Wednesday April 10 and runs until Saturday October 5.

Visit www.ragm.co.uk for more information.

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