Sandy Crole, landscape artist






I graduated from St Martins with a degree in Fine Art in 1986, visiting India, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. I then settled down to a life of teaching, initially in Somerset before coming back to London.

I exhibited with The Nine Elms Artists Group in the 1990s, showed work in the Singer and Friedlander/Sunday Times watercolour exhibitions, and exhibited at the Mall Galleries in the Art for Youth shows for three years.

For the last few years I have been working on church paintings, mostly in Wiltshire but also variously in Somerset, Pembrokeshire, the Outer Hebrides and the Pyrenees.

Some church paintings were exhibited at Southwark Cathedral and at the Wylye Valley Art Trail in 2009, and at St Giles' Church, Oxford in July 2010.


In recent years I have been concentrating on pre-Reformation churches in Southern England, of which there are a remarkably large number. They often appear left behind by modern life but they exist to remind us of our histories. Such locations are strong in romance, in folk memory and local history, and have both a real and a phantom presence that the paintings seek to capture by layering colour over and through a web of ink marks.

While some of my inspiration comes from that long line of British artists who love churches, like Cotman, Griggs, Bawden, Piper and others, I aim to bring the images up-to-date with a vigorous and demanding line with little or no underdrawing. The result is a bold portrait of an ancient place, an image that asserts its existence despite the ruinous passage of time.

The paintings combine both atmosphere and accurate detail; discoveries so far include the poetic romance of St Enodoc’s crooked spire in Cornwall, burial place of Sir John Betjman; the secret loveliness of St Ishmael’s in Pembrokeshire where Graham Sutherland used to paint; and the great Saxon church of Breamore in Hampshire, as well as other historic gems. These paintings are a continuing project, and given the number of potential subjects should last many years.

I am aware that many of the subjects of these paintings are in danger of disrepair, a fact which gives urgency to the making of the pictures themselves. If you wish to see them last longer than their congregations and to continue to shape the historic English landscape as they have done for a thousand years or more, then you might consider donating to their upkeep via the Church Conservation Fund at