John Palmer RWA (1939 – 2021)

The Friends were saddened to learn of the recent death of John Palmer, a fine watercolourist and a familiar and much-loved Academician.

Here Fiona Robinson, President of the RWA, gives her tribute.

John Palmer RWA was a very accomplished and sensitive watercolourist and his pen and ink and watercolour paintings, particularly of buildings, are full of light and movement.  He won the watercolour prize at the RWA during Stewart Geddes Presidency. He exhibited widely and his work is in many private and public collections

John’s association with the RWA was a long and fruitful one. He was immensely proud of being an Academician and hugely supportive of the organisation.  He always attended Private Views and in more recent years the Monday Lunches. He joined the RWA in 1985 as an Associate and was elected a full Academician in 1991. He served on Council for many years and always took part in hanging the Autumn exhibition, often spending time in the galleries painting during the show.

My first recollection of John was when I joined him in hanging the monochrome room at the annual open in 2013. We worked together on that room for several years until John stepped down and I took over from him.  He was the kindest most courteous man. He always listened attentively to people and he had a delightful sense of humour.  All the recollections of him from Academicians and the staff who worked with him are full of warmth and affection.

Stewart Geddes PPRWA shared this memory. ‘One of the events you attend as President is the Bristol Savages Annual Dinner. John was also an active member of that organization and twice President. I warmly remember how thoughtfully he looked after me the first time I attended.’

Fiona Robinson PRWA

John Palmer – watercolour of the RWA around the year 2000, while the building was undergoing repairs

Image top: John Palmer RWA: Untitled (Venetian scene) Watercolour and pencil. For the RWA’s 2017 Secret Postcard Auction


The Friends of the RWA is an independent charity that supports the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol’s first art gallery. 
For just £35 a year Friends can make unlimited visits to RWA exhibitions and enjoy a host of other benefits, as well as making an important contribution to the arts in Bristol and the South West. Find out more and join up here.

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