“In all my paintings, whether the subject happens to be a Provençal landscape, a balcony crowded with potted plants, a quiet interior or a Venetian antiques shop, invariably there two elements that interest me most – light and colour. I am constantly fascinated by the way that a certain quality of light can radically alter the character and impact of a subject and make it something unique, and it is this moment of ‘uniqueness’ that I try to capture in my paintings through the considered use of colour. “
Nicholas Verrall is a painter that clearly delights in maximising the effect of light and colour. He has over the years honed his talent to capture glorious atmosphere and mood created by natural and brilliant light. His palette is subtle, muted with a pastel softness and diffusion, which makes the work glow with a gentle ambiance and a delicate tonality. These stylistic effects are no ‘happy accidents’, for Verrall is very much a technical artist, who applies incredible application and skill throughout the whole creative process.
Verrall employs a whole range of artistic techniques in the development of each piece, including colour blending, glazing, brushwork effects, impasto and finally a layer of varnish to protect and lift the whole image. These so-called tricks of the trade reflect an accomplished painter, whose mastery over his medium means that he can concentrate on capturing the overall sentiment of the scene. But as a viewer, we have to ask, what are the feelings generated by Verrall’s consummate craft and talent?
Verrall’s subject matter evocatively let us enter world far from the daily grind of city life, far away from the incessant noise, the frenetic pace and throngs of people. As we look at these pieces and let these beautiful images appear in our unconscious mind we allow ourselves to be transported to tranquil and serene world. The world of delight and unadulterated charm and we may imagine ourselves actually sitting there on that Tuscan terrace, soaking in the magnificent scenery deliciously bathed in a rich afternoon light, now we start to feel so relaxed and so at peace in quiet reflection. Verrall gives us a very personal perspective, an extremely intimate point of view. As we see the scene through our own eyes all these wonderful sensory experiences begin to grow and fill our conscious mind.
The paintings of Nicholas Verrall has that magical quality, in their quiet understated way, they have a dramatic effect on your whole sensibility. These pieces are so evocative of those hidden away places and those sacred moments that you must respond immediately. As he says, it is through the use of light and colour that he manages to create such beautiful scenes, which are truly unique and therefore highly sought after.
Nicholas Verrall graduated in Fine Art & Printmaking at Northampton School of Art. He worked in picture conservation and restoration before becoming a full-time artist in 1970. His first one man show was at the Upper Grosvenor Gallery, 1971. This was followed by regular exhibitions at Seen Gallery, Belgravia. Nicholas was first hung at the RA in 1976 and subsequently eleven times after that.
During the late 70’s/80’s Nick started making prints at the Curwen Studios in association with the Royal Academy Graphics, exhibiting in the Royal Academy Upstairs Gallery and the Royal Society of Etchers and Engravers.
Throughout the 90’s to the present date Nicholas has had regular solo exhibitions at the Catto Gallery , Hampstead. His work has also been included in many major art fairs, including the International Arts Fair, Olympia & the 20TH Century British Art fair, London. His work has been exhibited widely in the UK and also in France, Hong Kong, Japan and America. It is held in numerous private and public collections including, The City of London, Surrey University, Crownlife and B.A.T. His books and publications include, ‘Nicholas Verrall Colour and Light in Oils‘, Curwen Studio’s 1958-1998 and ‘An Introduction to Drawing and Painting Still Life’.
Nicholas has received numerous prizes and awards including ‘The City of London Annual Exhibition Prize’, the ‘Abbot and Holder Prize’, at RWS, ‘The Artist Magazine’ prize, 2011, and ‘The de Laszlo Medal’ 2015 from the members of the RBA. He is also listed in ‘Who’s Who in Art’ in 1986.
Nicholas was elected a member of The Royal Society of British Artists (RBA) in 2010 and elected a member of The Royal Society of Oil Painters (ROI) in 2011.
Nicholas is renowned for his Mediterranean landscapes, where light and colour play a major part of his interpretation of a subject. It is the dramatic interplay of light and shade which creates such an evocative atmosphere and appears to capture a transient moment to be shared with the viewer.
Scholarships, Awards, Prizes
- City of London, Royal Water Colour Society, B.A.T. through RA, Royal Horticultural Society Medal
- RBA Davison Award for Painting
1971 – Upper Grosvenor Galleries W1
1971 – Reviewed Sunday Telegraph
1975 – Langton Gallery Chelsea with Gertrude Hermes RA
1976 – Dulwich Village Gallery
1978, 1981, 1987 – Seen Gallery Belgravia
1989 – Railings Gallery W1
1991, 1993, 1996, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2009 – Catto Gallery Hampstead
1997 – Yehudi Menuhin School Surrey
2001 – Art Obsession Inc Hong Kong
2006 – Restrospective University of Surrey (painting added to their Collection)
2008 – John Davies Gallery
1970 – Upper Grosvenor Galleries W1
1972, 1973 – City of London Annual Exhibition
1976 – RA – Tryon Gallery, Cork St
1977 – Exhibition RA Upstairs Gallery
1978 – RA, RBA, RA Upstairs Gallery
1983 – RA, RBA, RA Upstairs Gallery
1984 – RA. Royal Society of Etchers & Gravers
1985 – RBA, RA Business Gallery’s
1985 – Welsh Touring Exhibition
1986 – RA, RWS, Olympia International Art Fair
1988 – RA, RBA, RWS, Abbott & Holder
1989 – RBA, Art in Action Oxfordshire, Gallery 10 Grosvenor Street London
1991 – RA, RBA, Bourne Gallery, Reigate, Catto Hampstead
1992 – RBA Knoestu Fine Art Japan,
1992 – 20th Century Art Fair with Catto at RCA
1994 – NEAC, Christies Contemporary Art sale
1995 – RBA, Patchings Nottinghamshire
1996 – City Hall Exhiibition Hong Kong
1998 – Portrait Society Curwen Gallery
2001 – RA, Brian Sinfield Oxfordshire and Dallas Texas
2004 – 2008 – Russel Gallery, Wykeham Gallery, Pattersons ‘Venice in Peril’
2010 – John Noott Gallery Broadway
2010 – Royall Fine Arts Tunbridge Wells
Colour and Light in Oils by Nicholas Verrall
An introduction to Drawing and Painting Still Life by Peter Graham
Curwen Studios 1958-1998
The Public Catalogue Foundation 2004
1986 – Who’s Who in Art
The Artist 2001, Leisure Artist, Homes & Garden, Arts Review, Time Out
Printing Published with Royal Academy Graphics, Curwen Studios, Ikea