Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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Geoffrey Rolfe’s Gallery

October 1973
A feature of the County Federation W.I. art group members’ annual exhibition at Rolfe’s Gallery, Union Street, Ryde, which opened on Saturday 20th October 1973 and was open till the following Saturday, was that the 115 entries consisting of oil and water colours, sculpture and work in other media, were all put on show – there was no “weeding out.”  Many members found “a hidden talent” they never knew they possessed, and experienced a great deal of pleasure and gave pleasure to those who saw their exhibits.  Mrs Rolfe was presented with a plant, with a bottle of wine for Mr Geoffrey Rolfe, in appreciation of their help in staging the exhibition.

9 April 1975
More than 100 paintings were on view at a British Red Cross Society exhibition at Rolfe’s Gallery, Union Street, Ryde.  On the walls were 33 paintings by nine member of Newport Red Cross group for the disabled, and 80 paintings by nearly 60 of the Island’s amateur artists.  The paintings ranged in price from £2 to £35, consisting mainly of oils but including several fine water colours, one by Ryde artist Paddy Kerr.  The exhibition was opened on Wednesday week by another Island artist, Mrs. Isobel Westcott, of Ryde, who donated one of her paintings. They were extremely grateful to Geoffrey Rolfe for his help in arranging the event and hanging the pictures.

September 1999
The local press reported that the Geoffrey Rolfe Gallery, part of Ryde’s Union Street shops for over 40 years, was going to close later that year. Paul Wyatt, chairman of Ryde Business Association, said “it was sad to see the shop – which sold art supplies, ceramics and decorative artworks – closing. It is always a shame when any business closes in Ryde.”

The above is just a small selection of the reported events held at the gallery, and nothing was ever too large or too small for Mr and Mrs Rolfe to help with during the 40 years.  (The front of the building was a superb example of architecture and an asset to the street, with a distinctive top, and the balustrades at the windows).

Sources: IW County Press and RSHG Archive
Image: Roy Brinton Collection
Article: Ann Barrett