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Nicholas St John Rosse was born in 1945 in Hampstead, London, educated at University College School Hampstead, and studied Life Drawing at Burgh House. In the early 60s he moved to Italy to study at the Scuola del Nudo of the Florence Academy. He was also lucky enough to study in the studio of Pietro Annigoni.


He spent some time in Spain, before moving back to England in 1966, painting life and portraits at Heatherley’s. Through the 1970s he exhibited extensively in London and the provinces, before moving to Cornwall with his family in 1981. He ran residential painting courses for a number of years, while continuing to exhibit in regular one-man and group shows.


He was made a full member of the RSMA in 2012, and became governor for the RSMA on the FBA board in 2014.


From the artist:

Though I paint a wide range of subject matter, most of my paintings are centered around the human figure and in recent years use beach settings, in particular at the water’s edge. I like to find ways in which the figure can relate to water and sand both in reality and pictorially. The visual fusion of water, sand and rock enveloping people fascinates me, and I try to use these elements as an extension of the model’s mood.


I paint in oil, though in the past I have used a variety of different media including egg tempera. For my beach compositions, ideas come from sketches and colour studies done in situ on the beach. These can be used directly to make paintings in the studio, or they can be the stimulus to produce more detailed drawings or paintings from models posed in the studio or outside, which then find their way into the final composition. I am constantly seeking new means of gathering studies in pencil or paint near the water in changing and challenging conditions of the weather and tide. When necessary, I will take photos. Sometimes, I will work entirely from imagination or memory.

Nicholas St John Rosse.jpg
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