Rye Art Gallery
Rye Art Gallery

The Rye Art Gallery is located in a pair of historic buildings in the heart of old Rye, close to both the Landguard Gate and Rye Castle Museum. The collections include works of art chosen for their regional and, in some cases, their national importance and include a permanent exhibition as well as new works by local artists. You could say that the Gallery is both a traditional gallery and a museum of local art and artists.

The gallery was founded by artists Mary and Howard Stormont in 1957. The Stormont's bequeathed over 100 works to the museum, and these paintings form the core of the gallery collection. The initial collections have been expanded over the years, and the gallery now houses over 460 works.

The Stormont gallery's permanent exhibition displays paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, and sculpture, primarily from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Linked to the permanent collection are The Easton Rooms, where visitors can purchase art from [primarily] modern artists and craftspeople.

There is a distinct 'crafts' feel to the displays on the lower floor, where you enter off High Street. But climb the stairs to the upper floors and you find yourself surrounded by more traditional paintings and sculpture.

I almost skipped the Rye Art Gallery due to time constraints, but I'm glad I didn't! The range of artwork is striking, and the mix of new and older works makes it a fascinating place to explore.

The building that houses the gallery has an early 19th-century facade, but that facade simply masks a much older structure dating to at least the 18th century if not earlier. The facade doesn't immediately look terribly inviting, but don't let external appearances fool you!

The gallery building and the neighbouring shops are all listed Grade II for their heritage interest.