This time of the year is usually a busy one for The Royal Automobile Club with the London Motor Week, Regent Street Car Show and London To Brighton Veteran Car Run taking place the first week in November. But sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic and government restrictions forced all three of these events to be cancelled along with The RAC’s Art of Motoring Exhibition that traditionally takes place at the Pall Mall Clubhouse as part of London Motor Week.
Fortunately, though, this premier showcase for British automotive art was able to go ahead this year, albeit in a somewhat different format, with an online virtual exhibition in collaboration with respected motorsport commentator Andrew Marriott and Rupert Whyte of Historic Car Art.
This is the sixth year that the Art of Motoring exhibition has taken place and this year it brought together the works of 22 well-known motoring artists and sculptors, many of whose works have not been seen together for over 10 years.
Former Swedish Formula One and Le Mans winner Stefan Johansson made his artwork debut at this year’s exhibition, having taken up painting following the death of his friend Elio de Angelis, who was tragically killed in a testing accident at Paul Ricard in 1986. Today, Stefan produces a variety of works in his studio in Los Angeles, including some abstracts that evoke different corners at famous racetracks around the world.
Other artworks showcased included John Ketchell’s semi-abstract style and Jonny Ambrose, who is the first motoring artist to utilise a 3D printer and two of whose sculptures can be seen here. Neil Collins’ watercolours were displayed alongside the nostalgic works of Roy Putt, as well as the evocative paintings of Paul Dove and the silk-screen prints of Ella Freire, who is based here in London.
Other British artists that had their works on display this year included Tony Matthews, whose extraordinarily detailed technical illustrations were on display in public for the first time in over five years, one of which can be seen at the top of this article. Robin Bark, who is just as well known for his sculptures as for the bold use of colour in his prints was also on display, as was the atmospheric paintings of Barry Rowe. Peter Hearsey’s unique etchings and the distinctive style of portraits and cars of Stanley Rose were also on display.
Jeremy Vaughan, Head of Motoring at the Royal Automobile Club commented:
“The Club has been collecting motoring art for over a century. We are very proud of the collection at our Pall Mall clubhouse, which complements the collections of both the library and extensive archive. Britain has more professional motoring and motor-racing artists than any other nation and the club is delighted to showcase and help promote such talent.”
The Art of Motoring exhibition featured interviews with a number of the artists, which you can watch in the video below.
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man Behind The Wheel, a professional photographer and former saloon car racing driver.