The Arts on Romney Marsh

The Arts, comprising art, literature, poetry, music, theatre, photography etc are well represented on Romney Marsh:


Romney Marsh's unique and distinctive landscape of Romney Marshes, with its atmospheric marshlands and skies has always attracted those wishing to capture its magic on canvas. Famous artists who have lived and painted on Romney Marsh include Harold Gilman, Derek Jarman and Paul Nash.

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Current local artists include:

Zoe Beardsley

Zoe is an independent artist, based on the coast at the far corner of Kent on the Romney Marsh. She specialises in paintings and drawings based on the local area, using watercolour, acrylic and ink. She works from photographs or visual ideas to produce artwork to your specification.

Zoe has commissioned a fair number of watercolour pieces over the past ten years, and has a great passion not only for art, but also the unique history and scenery of the area.

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Zoe Beardsley with some of her paintings
'oe with some of hre paintings'

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Phoebe Cripps

​​Phoebe grew up in West Sussex, England, loving art from her earliest memory. Witnessing her mother's portrait painting, she grew fond of the challenge and interest that portrait painting presented. Phoebe attended The Florence Academy of Art for three years, graduating from its Drawing and Painting Program in June 2012.

Since leaving the Academy she has refined her technique in America and Spain, and worked on portrait commissions in England. She is currently taking commissions for both oil and charcoal portraits of adults, teenagers and children, as well as animal portraits. 

In the Summer of 2016 Phoebe took part in Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the year, painting Sue Perkins. After being shortlisted to 3, Phoebe was announced the winner of Heat 2, and put through to the semi finals. 

Phoebe now lives in New Romney, Kent, with her husband, Grant, and their dog, Lupin.

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Phoebe Cripps
Phoebe with her portrait of Sue Perkins

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Catherine Farr

Catherine is an artist and teacher who works and lives on Romney Marsh. Her pictures are small pieces of Romney Marsh, capturing the effect of the light on the colour of the landscape.

Catherine makes paintings, prints and drawings. She runs art workshops and courses, teaching all ages from young children to adults, employing a variety of materials in painting, printmaking, drawing and three dimensional disciplines. 

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Summer Teasel
'Summer Teasel'

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Ben Fenton

Artist Ben Fenton, originally from Dungeness, has forged out a successful career in London for more than 12 years, but wanted to return to the Romney Marsh to get away from the distractions of living in the capital and seek new inspiration and challenges for his work.

Ben Fenton's paintings can be found in private collections all over Europe. He paints stunning, vibrant and intimate portraits, taking details from photographs that capture a lost moment, and encapsulates the true character of the subject.

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Dungeness by Ben Fenton

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Leah Fusco

Leah is a graduate of the Royal College of Art. She has developed a substantial body of work exploring the history and culture of Romney Marsh. She is especially interested in more rural, isolated areas and fading traditions, or practices.

Leah explores these ideas primarily through drawing and painting, the output of which can vary from exhibitions and books to moving image and is part of her ongoing personal project work. 

Leah's work is available to buy at the Romney Marsh Visitor Centre.  

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Owling by Leah Fusco

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Helen Gillilan

Helen Gillilan was born in Cornwall and attended Plymouth Art College Foundation Course in the 1970’s. In the mid-nineties she continued her art education when she studied Theatre Design at Rose Bruford School of Speech and Drama in London.

Later, she met Paddy Hamilton and after a working collaboration at his Vauxhall studio, the pair moved to Dungeness and established Dungeness Open Studios and Helen purchased Ocean View at Dungeness.

Helen says about her work: “Each piece of work is a many layered journey, both regarding how the image develops and where the materials will lead me. I have no pre-conceived ideas about form – it’s a partnership between the materials and myself.

“My grandfather, Bill Johnson was a painter and I recognise that he worked in a similar way to myself – taking the risks, making sweeping changes and letting the painting happen."

During the summer months, Ocean View is open  on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 10am and 6pm. And on Monday Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3pm – 6pm. The Studio may be closed if the weather is really awful or the wind is over 50 mph!

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Helen Gillilan

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Phillippa Goddard

Phillippa is reveling in just being an artist after many years as an art tutor.  Her work is visually characterised by the bold use of line and enlivened by a mix of media including watercolour, ink, all kinds of ‘stick’ materials and felt, but not necessarily all at once. Strongly influenced by her surroundings at home, in the garden and on Romney Marsh, Phillippa enjoys evoking the mood of a time and place with a fusion of reality, a healthy dose of imagination and an element of story-telling.

Most recently, Phillippa has designed and painted ‘in situ’ three murals, two for the IMOS Foundation in New Romney (see below) and the third and largest for the Bradstone Association in Folkestone.  A film of its making can be seen on YouTube.  2013 promises to be exciting with the prospect of two more murals, participation in SEOS in June and a Family Goddard exhibition, ‘Linked’, at The Palm Court, The Grand, Folkestone from September until January 2014. 

Phillippa's work is available to buy at the Romney Marsh Visitor Centre.   

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Dungeness BOat by Phillippa Goddard
'Dungeness Boat'

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Andy Holyer

Andy is a figurative oil painter whose work is inspired by the people, places and history of the Romney Marsh and Dungeness. 

He says " I try to seek out the dramatic in my environment. I use vivid colours and dynamic composition to evoke the narratives and atmosphere of the Romney Marsh. Figurative painting is still central to my work but I now see myself as being more defined within the neo-romantic tradition. Freed from a perceived obligation to make social comment combined with a keen interest in my own cultural heritage I now enjoy painting in a more joyful, playful and entertaining manner." 


Swamp Crossing by Andy Holyer
'Swamp Crossing'

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Michelle Keegan

Michelle was born in Devon but was brought up on Romney Marsh, attending the local primary school and then Southland’s secondary school. After studying Fine Art at the Slade School of Art, Michelle specialised in printmaking. Michelle has made prints and exhibited widely for the past 20 years and now has a small print workshop and is the course co-ordinator for Fine Art at Central College Nottingham.

Despite being in transit between Nottingham, her professional home, and Romney Marsh her spiritual home, the landscape of Romney Marsh has haunted the aesthetic of Michelle's work. Landscapes are the places and spaces from where Michelle begins; sea; beaches; walls and bare-bone structures of the land. The flat expanses of Romney Marsh form the baseplate of her endearing passion for desolate, minimal landscapes. Beaches edged and littered with breakwaters, sea walls, huts and debris, Dungeness Power station. Fields intersected by drainage dykes. Land and air traversed by electricity pylons-sentinel lines of modernity across the marsh.

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'I can walk on water'

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Dee Taylor

Dee is an artist who lives in Dymchurch. He started out in the commercial art business but realised a lifelong and compelling ambition to be a successful Fine Artist. His specialty is painting and through this medium he has strived to express and evoke a mood of dark and foreboding isolation.

Dee has a practice in a studio within the Creative Quarter, in Folkestone, Kent and some of his work can be seen as Murals in New Romney.

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End of an Era
'End of an Era'

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Helen Taylor

Helen is a watercolour artist who lives and works on Dungeness. Helen holds regular external exhibitions in Kent and London Galleries and also display her work for sale in many others. 
Her work can be seen and purchased at the Dungeness Gallery.

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St Thomas a becket Church by Helen Taylor
'St Thomas á Becket Church'

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Rodger Towers

Rodger is a portrait and landscape artist, now retired, who worked mainly in watercolour and/or pencil, living in New Romney on Romney Marsh. Rodger painted in two basic styles. Firstly,  in a loose, washed-on traditional style, and secondlys in a tighter, more detailed style.

Apart from this country, Rodger has work hanging in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Spain and even got a couple down in Trinadad and Tobago.

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'Old Shed on Dungeness Beach'

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Art Clubs

There three art clubs on Romney Marsh, the Dymchurch Art Club, the Romney Marsh Art Society in New Romney and the Lydd Forge Art Group. All hold meetings, open to members and non-members, exhibitions and demonstrations.

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Art Galleries

There three art galleries on Romney Marsh, all located at Dungeness, the Dungeness GalleryDungeness Open Studios and the Ocean View Studio.

The Art Shack

The Art Shack on Romney Marsh is a venue for the many arts communities on Romney Marsh; a place where they can show, perform and demonstrate their art and skills. Exhibitions, workshops, lectures, readings, music recitals, etc. are held continually and are always open to the public. Exhibitions at The Art Shack are free of charge to visit and it is usually free to book. The Art Shack’s home is the Romney Marsh Visitor Centre.    

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Art in Romney Marsh

Art in Romney Marsh (AiRM) is a contemporary arts project providing an opportunity for artists to create site specific work in response to the inspiring medieval churches of Romney Marsh. Romney Marsh is located in a unique landscape on the south east tip of the Kent coastline, within easy reach of Ashford, Rye and Hastings. The juxtaposition of contemporary art and the ancient church sites creates an opportunity for an exciting dialogue between the ancient and modern.  

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Murals in New Romney

Walk around New Romney and you will soon notice the contemporary murals brightening up some of the walls. The murals depict jobs including a fisherman, a train driver, a butcher and an estate agent, and portraits which feature many people who have lived on the Marsh for their whole lives. Local scenes including the Martello Towers and the Littlestone Water Tower are also displayed.

Artists from across Romney Marsh created the pieces and installed the pieces at the Sainsbury's store, at New Romney station and in the High Street. [view map of where you can see the murals] The scheme is being run by Briony Kapoor of the IMOS Foundation and has been supported with a £2,000 grant from Shepway District Council.
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Right Icon See and read about the murals and the artists

Royal Academy artist Fred Cuming speaks of his love of Romney Marsh

Murals in New Romney
'The Murals'





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