History of the Society

Wolverhampton has a long history of group activity in Art and its application. From 1885 for well over twenty years, Wolverhampton Sketching Club held Annual Exhibitions in the newly built Art Gallery which were widely reported in the press to considerable acclaim.

In 1919, a new venture by a group of committed individuals including professional artists, saw the foundation of Wolverhampton New Art Circle which later, in 1938, changed its name toWolverhampton Society of Artists. From the outset it aimed for very high standards in painting, sculpture, ceramics etc. The Society grew in numbers and stature and was soon holding exhibitions in the Art Gallery which continued annually for some eighty years until 2004 when they were interrupted by the building of major building extensions. The exhibitions were resumed in 2007 and are now a bi-annual feature in the Galleries Programme.

Over the years, the Society has had many eminent members among whom were Robert Emerson, Edwin Butler-Bayliss, Percy Shakespeare and Sir Charles Wheeler who became, at the time, the President of the Royal Academy. In more recent times, the Society has broadened its activities to include monthly lectures and demonstrations, sketch-night sessions in life and still life, painting days in the field, tutored workshops, visits to art-related venues and the production of its magazine, "The Limner".

The Society encourages work in a wide range of styles and media. Our extensive membership is  pro-active across the region and further afield, in addition to their involvement within the society.


The Society aims to involve its members in the practice, development and appreciation of the visual arts. To that end a variety of activities are offered as a source of inspiration and enjoyment.


The Committee

Chosen by the members at the AGM, administers the Society and organises its programme. The Society is non-profit making and most activities are funded by members’ subscriptions.



The current member represent a wide cross-section of the public. The majority are practicing artists ranging from the professional to the recreational painter or sculptor. A number are students undertaking full time art courses and others attend adult education classes. This broad spectrum brings a source of fresh ideas and creativity to the Society. Our range of activities also provides stimulus and opportunities to meet like-minded people in an informal manner.