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The Works on Paper Fair to return to the Royal Geographical Society 9-12 February
Alfred Heaton Cooper (1864 - 1929), An April Morn, Windermere Watercolour. 25.4 x 30 cm £3,500. To be exhibited by Charles Nugent.

LONDON.- The Works on Paper Fair will return to the Royal Geographical Society, on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, for its second year at this venue. It is a long established Fair, which is perceived as “always innovative”. The fair will run from Thursday 9 – Sunday 12 February 2017.

The fair will use the entire ground floor of the Royal Geographical Society’s Lowther Lodge building, including a specially built structure in the gardens, as well as the architectural glass pavilion leading directly off the reception area on Exhibition Road. Architect Richard Norman Shaw designed the building in 1872 using characteristics of the Victorian "Queen Anne' style, whilst the contemporary glass Pavilion was designed by Studio Downie Architects.

The 2017 fair will present work for sale, at a range of prices, from leading dealers in Early, Victorian, Modern and Contemporary art, with the specific criteria that all are works on paper. The fair is the only fair of its kind showing just works on paper, giving a rare chance to purchase a vast yet specially selected, expertly vetted range of drawings, watercolours, original prints, posters and artists’ books. The 2016 fair saw sales of pictures by artists such as John Varley OWS, Francis Wheatley R.A, Sir George Clausen, Dame Laura Knight, Stanley Spencer and John Minton as well as David Hockney and other Twentieth century and contemporary artists.

“The wonderful thing about the Works on Paper fair is that it attracts all sorts of people, not just collectors of drawings, but also museum curators and scholars” says Stephen Ongpin, 2016 fair exhibitor.

Every year, the fair features a loan exhibition of pictures not normally on display to the public. The loan exhibition for the 2017 fair is a selection from the rarely seen and highly regarded Eton College Collections, which now includes some 1,500 drawings and watercolours. Many of the works loaned to the 2017 Works on Paper Fair will be exhibited in public for the first time and will be curated by experts in this field: Charles Nugent, Guy Peppiatt and Harry Moore Gwyn.

The loan exhibition will feature some of the biggest names in early English watercolour, such as Thomas Gainsborough, J.S. Cotman, Thomas Girtin, J.M.W. Turner, Thomas Rowlandson and Samuel Palmer, as well as major Twentieth Century works.

In 2016 the loan exhibition "Laurie Lee - The Artist" presented drawings and watercolours by the author Laurie Lee, generously loaned by his daughter Jessy Lee. The exhibition of 31 re-discovered pictures drew a great response from visitors.

Visitor comments from February 2016 mentioned that one can “discover something new at every turn”, and that the fair remains “One of the best! An affordable variety of works. I will come every year from now on!”. Galleries magazine wrote “The Works on Paper Fair has sought to refresh itself and offer added attractions, its special exhibitions always being particularly attractive and reflecting in a very apposite way, the particular character of the venue”.

Alongside the fair there will be a full programme of twice daily talks, to engage a wide selection of visitors. The talks have become an established and popular feature of the fair taking place at 11.30am and 2pm daily in the prestigious Ondaatje Theatre. At the 2016 fair, Simon Schama’s talk, which coincided with his acclaimed television series, ‘The Face of Britain: The Nation through its Portraits’ was a huge success in support of the Art Fund, with a sell out theatre audience of 450 people.

For 2017, historian Dr David Boyd Haycock will commence the series on the first day with 'The Birth of the Avant-Garde: British Art Goes Modern, 1908-1918', speaking about the period at the turn of the century, commenting on the artists working during and after the First World War. Following on the same day, Frances Spalding will speak in aid of the Fry Art Gallery, Saffron Walden, well known for it's notable collection of Modern British watercolours by Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious. At the weekend, Royal Academician and wood engraver Anne Desmet RA, who specialises in architectural subjects from London to Rome, will be speaking on ‘A Life in Print’. She exhibits widely and has won over 30 national and international awards. Following this will be a talk by Simon Wallis, director of the Hepworth Wakefield, who will be in conversation with Tim Sayer, reflecting on ‘The Art of Collecting’. The talks are variously in support of the Fry Art Gallery, Eton College, the Art Fund and Rainbow Trust Children's Charity.

As part of the experience at the 2017 fair, live musicians will perform at intervals, and the Long Gallery café, specialist De Longhi café bar and the Map Room drinks bar will be offering refreshments throughout.

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