Major New Exhibition of Renowned British Artist at Reading Museum

Ray Atkins - The Reading Years

UNIQUE and extraordinary large-scale paintings of Reading in the 1970s, created from direct observation, form the heart of a prestigious new exhibition opening at Reading Museum this January.
The exhibition will showcase twelve expressive paintings by renowned British artist Ray Atkins, a number of which will be on display to the public for the first time.
The artist, who turns 80 this year, still paints from direct observation on a monumental scale, outside come rain or shine, sometimes over a number of days.
An ex-pupil and admirer of Frank Auerbach, Atkins is part of the London School of Artists, which includes other artists such as David Hockney, Ronald B. Kitaj, Leon Kossof, Francis Bacon, Euan and Lucian Freud.
Atkins lived in Reading, teaching at the University of Reading between 1968 and 1974. He produced an impressive body of work in response to the radical changes going on in the town centre during the early 70s, including the construction of the Inner Distribution Road.

Cllr Paul Gittings, Reading Lead Member for Culture, said:

“This new exhibition offers people a great opportunity to see renowned artist Ray Atkins’ impressive paintings, many of which captured the essence of change in Reading during the 1970s, the scale of which is analogous to the exciting wave of regeneration happening across the town today.”

‘Ray Atkins: The Reading Years’ launches at the John Madejski Art Gallery, Reading Museum, on Saturday 28 January 2017.

As part of the museum’s Art in the Dark Months program of events for 2017, there will be a series of talks and workshops on offer linked to the new exhibition, including:

  • Artist Donald Macauley talking on Ray Atkins, the Reading Years. Saturday 28th January 2.30-3.30pm £5
  • An art masterclass with Ray Atkins, Monday 30th January. 10am – 3.30pm £35
  • Poetry workshops by Lesley Saunders. 10.30am – 3.30pm Saturday 11 February and Friday 24 February.
  • A two-day mixed media workshop with Cath Baldwin. 10.30am – 3.30pm Saturday 25th February and Saturday 4th March £75 for both days, including materials.
  • Bespoke bookmaking workshop with Joy Frey. 10.30am – 3.30pm Saturday 18 March. £40 including materials.
  • Handling Studio Textiles from the Museum’s collection. 10.30-11.30am Tuesday 21 March. £5.

For further information or to book call 0118 937 3400 or visit


Photo opportunity: A photo call with the artist is available on Friday 27th January at 4pm.
The media are welcome to attend the private view of the exhibition on Saturday 28th January between 1-2.30pm. Photographs of a selection of paintings in the exhibition are available on request.

Victoria Nickless

For media enquiries about this release email or call 0118 937 3957