Nicholas St John Rosse RSMA


Though Nicholas St John Rosse paints a wide range of subject matter, most of his paintings are centered around the human figure and in recent years use beach settings, in particular at the water's edge. He likes to find ways in which the figure can relate to water and sand both in reality and pictorially. The visual fusion of water, sand and rock enveloping people fascinates him, and he tries to use these elements as an extension of the model's mood.


Nicholas paints in oil, though in the past he has used a variety of different media including egg tempera. For his beach compositions, ideas come from sketches and colour studies done in situ on the beach. These can be used directly to make paintings in the studio, or they can be the stimulus to produce more detailed drawings or paintings from models posed in the studio or outside, which then find their way into the final composition. Nicholas is constantly seeking new means of gathering studies in pencil or paint near the water in changing and challenging conditions of the weather and tide. When necessary, he will take photos. Sometimes, he will work entirely from imagination or memory.


Born 1945 Hampstead, London.

Educated University College School, Hampstead.

Life drawing Burgh House.

Early '60s moved to Italy. Studied in the studio of Pietro Annigoni and attended the Scuola del Nudo of the Florence Academy.

Moved to Spain. First two one man exhibitions.

1966 returned to England. Married in Belgium.

Life and portrait painting at Heatherley's.

1968 onwards exhibited extensively in London and the provinces. Numerous portrait commissions.

1981 moved to Cornwall with family and ran residential painting courses for a number of years. Worked in Adult Education

Has continued exhibiting in one-man and group shows and regularly receives commissions for portraits and for figure groups in coastal settings.

Made full member of the RSMA in 2012 and served as RSMA Trustee on the FBA Board of Trustees.

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