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Historical Background

In the late 1950s the owner of the local Highcliffe art shop was Fred Norbury, an artist and tutor.  He realised that many local people were painting and that the pictures brought to him for framing were of a good standard.

With encouragement from Councillor Irene Stevenson, he persuaded the painters to stage an exhibition in what was the sunken rose garden on the nearby cliff tops.  This was repeated until the council ploughed up the area.

Other exhibitions followed in various locations and, in 1962, a club was formed.  In appreciation of her help, Councillor Irene Stevenson was created president; a position held until her death in 1994.

From these small beginnings, the Fellowship developed and found permanent homes for the monthly meetings in Greystones’ Hall; and for the annual one-week exhibition in the Highcliffe Methodist Hall.

The fellowship flourished to such an extent that it had to be limited to 150 members and there is now usually a waiting list for new members.  A book is held by the stewards at the exhibitions for the names and details of people wishing to be added to the membership waiting list.

In 1996, the now regular monthly meetings were also moved to the Methodist Hall.  The annual exhibition has now expanded to 3 weeks and, typically, hangs about 250 pictures with a further 100 unframed, together with numerous greetings cards.  A policy of free admission to the exhibitions has always been maintained with a souvenir catalogue available for a small fee if required.  When visitors are seeking pictures by a particular artist, the stewards have an alphabetical listing in their master catalogue.

Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month (except August) from 2.30 – 4.30 pm, when a professional artist demonstrates some topic or techniques to the members or perhaps gives a critique of members' pictures.  A radio microphone is used to ensure that everyone can hear and the hall has a loop system fitted to assist those with hearing aids.  There is also a large-screen TV coupled to a video camera so that presentations can be enhanced with close-ups and zoom-ins, as appropriate.

A library comprising about 70 videos and DVDs, together with numerous books, is available for members to borrow.



Membership is limited to 150 full members. A waiting list is held by the Membership Secretary. Subscriptions are currently £16 per year (January to December).  Visitors at the monthly meeting pay £3 per meeting.

Committee & Contacts


  • President: -  Councillor Josephine Spencer  MBE B.Ed (Hons)
  • Vice President: - Dennis Ford
  • Chairman: -   Derek Honour
  • Vice-Chair: - Vacant Post
  • Treasurer: -   Ben Bolton 
  • Secretary: -   Vacant
  • Membership Secretary: - Sandi Hitchens
  • Programme Secretary: - John Greatorex
  • Exhibition Coordinator: - Richard Adams
  • Publicity: - Vacant post
  • General Committee Member: - Ann Stewart
  • Audio and Video Co-ordinator: - Denzil Beard
  • Website Administrator: - Ben Bolton 

Members must attend at least 4 monthly meetings per year in order to preserve their membership (Rule Change at AGM 2014)

Members may borrow DVDs and art books, attend outdoor painting sessions or workshops, attend Annual lunches and any other social functions. They may also submit pictures for selection at the summer exhibition and submit pictures for selection and inclusion in the website Members' Gallery

Members are encouraged to become involved in the running of the club.