This post is about an artist, Robert Tilling, who spent most of his working life in Jersey, Channel Islands and sadly is no longer with us. As a Gallery, we have been very fortunate and proud to display his work for a number of years and continue to do so to this day.
Robert Tilling was born in Bristol on the 29th September 1944. He studied Architecture and Art Education and after working in the UK for a few years accepted a post in Jersey and became head of Art at Victoria College in 1968, a post he held until 1997 when he retired and concentrated on his painting.
He was elected a member of the Royal Institute in 1985, in 1987 he was invited to lecture at the Tate Gallery and in 1994 was awarded the prize for the ‘Most outstanding Work by a Member’ of the Royal Institute.
Robert Tilling exhibited his work at various shows and was a major prize winner at the ‘International Drawing Biennale’ in Cleveland and was awarded the prize for ‘Excellence in Watercolour’ at the Royal West of England Academy Autumn exhibition in 2003. His work is held in private and corporate collections around the world.
In Jersey, he illuminated two of the Loyal Addresses presented to her Majesty the Queen on her visits to the Island and the original of his watercolour ‘Distant Mont Orgueil’ reproduced to decorate the menu card for Her Majesty’s visit in 2001, was later presented as a gift to Their Royal Highnesses the Earl and Countess of Wessex on their visit to the Island the following year.
He was heavily involved in the Arts in Jersey, sitting on a number of committees, encouraging ‘up – and – coming’ artists and tirelessly working to promote art in all its forms in the Island. He was instrumental in getting ‘The Jersey Art Centre’ off the ground and in 2006 was made an MBE for his services to the Arts.
Robert Tilling painted in watercolours, oils and acrylic but he is probably best known for his watercolours. He was a master in the use of colour washes portraying the play of light on water or sand and cloud formations in his characteristic style.
The Island of Jersey has some beautiful scenery particularly its bays and Bob was drawn to these time and time again often painting the same bay over and over but at different times of the day and year so that he could show, through his paintings, the different moods that the light created.
He was a prolific artist, often working on two or three works at the same time and always experimenting, always attempting to push the boundaries of his art. His work on Japanese paper was beautiful and delicate and his crane series was a departure from his normal work but he was fascinated by the shapes of cranes and he depicted this in his series of crane paintings,
When Robert Tilling died in January 2011 after a long battle with cancer, the island was robbed of one of its most loved, passionate and creative talents. However, his paintings live on to be enjoyed by all and he is just as popular now as he was when he was alive.