About the Society of Graphic Fine Art

In the beginning was black and white

Portfolio and sketchbook review posterised

At the turn of the 20th century modernism was on the rise, and realism and traditional drawing skills were threatened with eclipse as abstract painting became the darling of the avant-garde.

In 1919 students and teachers in the etching class at London's Central School of Arts and Crafts formed a breakaway group to establish a society that would ‘uphold and maintain the interests of all those forms of art that do not use colour as a form of expression'; which was another way of saying that drawing counts and, in one form or another, always will.

Their first exhibition in 1921 was supported by members of the Royal Academy of Arts, together with many of the leading draughtsmen of the day. Thus the Society of Graphic Art was born (the word "Fine" was incorporated into the Society's name some 65 years later). Sir Frank Brangwyn RA RE, the renowned muralist, painter, architect, illustrator and designer, became the Society’s first President in a line of distinguished leaders that continues today.

Both Ronald Searle and the painter-printmaker John Piper exhibited with the society. Royal Academician Dame Laura Knight was one of the Society's prominent past members. Honorary members today include Royal Academician Prof Ken Howard OBE and the award-winning illustrator Victor Ambrus. 

Nowadays in addition to black and white work and traditional drawing skills, the society encourages the use of colour and non-figurative art. The main criterion of membership, regardless of media discipline, is drawing excellence. 

Commissions for drawings, paintings and prints

Society Members are pleased to undertake commissions. Please send details of your request by post or by email to 

Hon Secretary Christine Hopkins SGFA

The Skylight Studio, 55 Wray Park Road, Reigate RH2 0EQ


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