Northfleet artist finds Academy setback has its benefits

PUBLISHED: 10:55 21 June 2013 | UPDATED: 10:55 21 June 2013

Jennifer Rampling with her picture of Wilbur the cat in a cathedral

Jennifer Rampling with her picture of Wilbur the cat in a cathedral


More than 8,000 paintings are sent annually to the Royal Academy’s summer exhibition in Piccadilly, which is now in its 245th year, but only 10 per cent will make it on to the gallery walls.

The Field of Rocks by Jennifer RamplingThe Field of Rocks by Jennifer Rampling

Northfleet painter Jennifer Rampling, 48, who runs Glenraden Design in Dover Road East with her husband, was one of the unlucky hundreds not to be picked, but she’s far from disheartened.

The Not The Royal Academy exhibition came to the rescue and her oil pastel The Field of Rocks, which showcases her love of animals, will gain a wider audience this summer.

The Llewellyn Alexander Gallery in Waterloo shows oils, watercolours and pastels of all sizes submitted to the Royal Academy until August 17.

Jennifer, who has painted all her life, said she will still persevere with the academy in future.

Wilbur at Halloween by Jennifer RamplingWilbur at Halloween by Jennifer Rampling

She said: “So many people try, and there’s a lot of history attached to it, but it’s still fun to apply.”

Field of Rocks shows a fairly stoic-looking cow against a background of twinkling stars but feline friends are more often the subject of her work.

She is an associate member of the Society of Feline Artists, who will also exhibit several of her oil pastels at the Llewellyn Alexander Gallery from August 22 to September 20.

She said: “I’ve been keeping sketchbooks for years and years.

“Cats are just lovely and gorgeous.”

A frequent star of her paintings is one of her four cats, Wilbur, who, in two works, can be seen in a Celtic window and set against an eerie Halloween night with a spooky castle behind him.

Jennifer said: “We rescued him a few years back. I was looking after him, he was in a bad condition and very hungry. He’s a beautiful cat.”

Her website lovingly documents the process behind some of her drawings and paintings and the stories behind them, such as Wilbur coming to her front door when she was “cursing a red wine hangover”.

Alongside her cat paintings are a host of prints, flower pictures and landscapes.

She lived in Ireland and Germany, where the Moselle Valley, close to Luxembourg, proved a frequent source of inspiration.

Her acrylic paintings of ruined Augustine abbeys, traditional German guest houses and picturesque churches capture the spirit of the region and were also exhibited.

Jennifer said: “There’s an awful lot of history there and nice landscapes.”

Now, having returned to the UK, she is taking advantage of a print-making course at Gravesend Adult Education Centre in Darnley Road to further her skills.

Weekly lessons have taught her about etching, which uses strong acids to cut designs in metals, and linocut printing.

She is keen to find further ways of letting a wider audience see her work.

She said: “In this area it’s close to London and it’s great because there’s so many opportunities.”

The Llewellyn Alexander Gallery is at 124-126 The Cut, Waterloo. Call 020 7629 1322 for details.

See Jennifer’s work at

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