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Władysław Mirecki and Paul Rumsey
joint exhibition at CHELMSFORD MUSEUM

Light and Dark - 9th February to 21st April 2013
Private view 16th February 2 - 5pm

Works for sale

Also view Dead Christ with Three Angels - sometimes known as Pieta. 2008 21st Century Painting
(homage to Antonello da Messina)
(Click here)

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Early Autumn, Chappel Viaduct
Watercolour 2007
125 x 150 cms

The Culvert
Watercolour, 2008
150 x 90 cms

Station Road, Wakes Colne 2010
38 x 88 cms

The Angler, Holland on Sea
Watercolour, 2012
45 x 90 cms

Fallen Leaves 2011
90 x 78 cms

The Bottom of My Garden
Watercolour, 2004
150 x 150 cms

Watercolour, 2012
89 x 64 cms

Walton on the Naze, Cliffs
Watercolour, 2007
50 x 135 cms

Colne Valley View III 2011 (view from Bacon’s Lane)
50 x 150 cms

Cold and Damp, Chappel
Watercolour, 2008
83 x 99 cms

Chappel Viaduct
Watercolour, 2012
150 x 100 cms

Bluebells in Chalkney Wood 2011
80 x 120 cms

Lunchtime at the Mermaid Café 2010
71 x 120 cms

Millenium Pond in snow
Watercolour, 2012
50 x 75 cms

Colne Valley
Watercolour, 2005
50 x 75 cms


Viaduct with Moon Shadow
Watercolour, 2012
55.5 x 71 cms

Frinton, Summer
Watercolour, 2005
50 x 75 cms

Lane Road, Wakes Colne
Watercolour, 2008
100 x 130 cms

Paul Rumsey

Not for sale, other Rumsey works for sale in the exhibition

Artists of ‘Light and Dark’

An exhibition of works by Chelmsford-born artists Władysław Mirecki and Paul Rumsey is due to go on display at Chelmsford Museum from Saturday 9 February. The exhibition, entitled ‘Light and Dark’, will feature 43 pieces from careers that have spanned three decades.

Both artists were born in Chelmsford in 1956 and have enjoyed a long association, with Rumsey exhibiting at Chappel Galleries many times, which Mirecki co-runs with his wife Edna.

Mirecki’s watercolours are full of light; paintings such as “The Bottom of My Garden”, “Early Autumn, Chappel” and his recent work “Chappel Viaduct” all show an absorption with his immediate surroundings. Waj, as he is affectionately known, has had his watercolours exhibited and published widely in London and around the UK, as well as in France and a large solo show in Nanjing, China, in 1999.

Rumsey’s drawings often feature dark subject matter as well as composition, taking inspiration from folktales, mythology, or from his own imagination. Working with charcoal and ink he aims to portray ideas as clearly and directly as possible, simplifying the image by editing out unnecessary information using effects of light and shade, concealing details in shadows or bleaching them out with a glare of light. Paul has had his work exhibited all around the world, including in London, Paris and New York last year.

The exhibition is free and will run until Sunday 21 April. For more information please visit Chelmsford City Council’s website (click here) or call 01245 605700


Over the years of Waj Mirecka’s artistic maturity other writers have evoked better than I ever could the qualities of observation and precision he brings to interpreting the landscape of Essex and Suffolk. These detailed insights and poetic moments are self-evident to those able to contemplate quietly the kind of subtle pictures which are polite enough to sit back waiting to be found. It is in the genes of every English person, it would seem, to understand and appreciate such descriptions of landscape, light and weather conveyed in Waj’s paintings. We can’t help it, and only the most curmudgeonly city-wallah could fail to admit to their reassuring charms.

Yes his pure landscapes are beautiful perspectives of foreground detail and distant sketch; and, yes, the ability to capture, for example, that magical moment when upon entering a bluebell wood the air is as if suffused with cerulean powder, instantly strikes a chord in those for whom such small experiences make life worth living. But one continuing subject of Waj’s work has always appealed to me more than any other: that viaduct. The first painting I really noticed of Waj’s depicted this sturdy bridge stepping across the middle of the picture connecting both sides of the Colne valley and the composition. Here was another painter to add to my list of those worth following, and another bridge that must be visited and explored.

Against the grain of the picturesque and the facile appeal of greenery, the viaduct is a blunt man-made presence. A tricky subject for a painter this, not least because it might make a work unsalable; such impositions on the beautiful are perhaps attractive only to those who respond to landscape with a decidedly human edge. We know that John Constable, an artist of an adjacent valley, was highly selective about what he included in what many assume to be topographical scenes of the Stour valley; for him nothing could be allowed to compromise the pastoral idyll ... or, more importantly, the prospect of a sale. It is almost as though in his pictures of the Chappel viaduct Waj deliberately takes the opposite approach: the bridge becomes the genius loci, as though nothing else can exist without it.
So what is this structure that Waj can see every day from his studio window? Chappell viaduct is among the most famous of British bridges and for 85 years from when it was completed in 1849 it was the largest brick-built structure in Britain; only Battersea Power Station (completed 1935) eventually used more bricks. The usually scrupulously objective Oxford Gazaetteer of Railway Buildings can’t resist describing it as “A very fine structure by any standard.” Chappel can’t compete with Yorkshire’s Ribblehead viaduct in length but its 32 arches exceed the two dozen of the Ribblehead and the idiosyncratic details of its design and proportion, especially its tapering piers, are second to none in allure. Its stone imposts, muscular relieving arches and all-round craftsmanship and finish make its northern stone counterpart appear crude and austere in comparison. Building was begun in 1847 to a plan by Peter Schuyler Bruff (1812-1900), a civil engineer with the Great Eastern Railway, and it is testimony to the optimism and belief of the early Victorians that such an expensive monolithic structure could even be considered for what was only a minor branch off the main line. The seven million red bricks used are made from clay mined locally at Bures and a legion of navvies were camped in the valley for the two years required to complete the work.
Waj’s paintings of the viaduct are scarcely landscapes at all so much as portraits. We know every aspect of its character and seasonal clothing from the pictures. I now search for the viaduct in every watercolour he paints and almost feel cheated when he’s left it out. And there isn’t a picture in which it appears where the bridge, however peripheral it may appear to the scene, doesn’t become the subject thereby upstaging everything else. Few important man-made structures can have been as comprehensively described with as much affection as Chappell viaduct. I can’t think of a precedent in British landscape painting of an artist portraying any building so comprehensively and with such single-minded conviction over such a long period.

Doubtless there are many who, like Ruskin, would interpret the viaduct as a despoiling, unnatural, and even ungodly, invader – like all railways, quarries, pylons, telegraph poles, power stations, refineries and other manifestations of industry – but this is not the case for me. Such inventions are far from blots on the view; in my book there’s little to beat a good ‘Satanic mill’. I love the way we have altered the land so often for the better with our functional sculptures and I’m uncritically fond of landscape paintings which celebrate our part in their appearance. Having been trained originally as an engineer it is no surprise that such an impressive feat as the Chappell viaduct should absorb Waj’s attention and become the backbone of so many of his paintings. It is the one unalterable fact in a view in which no other feature presents the same shape or colour from one day to the next. Long may it remain a leitmotif for its unofficial artist-in-residence.

David Lee
Editor of The Jackdaw


1956 Born Chelmsford, Essex of Polish parentage.
He is self-taught, having painted all his life including his periods gaining his science degree, as an industrial designer and co-proprietor of Chappel Galleries (1986 - March 2010).

New English Art Club, Mall Galleries, London
Epping Forest District Museum “Artists in Essex”
Beecroft Art Gallery, Westcliffe on Sea, Essex 31st Open Exhibition
Chappel Galleries, Essex Solo Exhibition
Foyles Art Gallery, London
Department of Transport art Competition, Mall Galleries, London
Deuxieme Salon Biennale de L’Aquarelle, Hirson, France (Chelmsford 1993)
Essex County Council, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Essex Commission
Chappel Galleries, Essex10th Anniverary Exhibition: Solo Exhibition
Singer and Friedlander, Sunday Times Exhibition, London
Beecroft Art Gallery, Essex: Open Exhibition
1999 Jiangsu Provincial Art Gallery, Nanjing, China: Solo Exhibition
Chappel Galleries, Essex Solo Exhibition
2002 Chappel Galleries, Essex Blyth Spirit “Walberswick Artists: 1880–2000”
Chappel Galleries, Essex Solo Exhibition
WH Pattersons, London Christmas Mixed Exhibition
Royal Academy, London Summer Exhibition
WH Pattersons, London Christmas Mixed Exhibition
Chappel Galleries, Essex Solo Exhibition
Royal Watercolour Society Open Competition, Bankside Gallery, London.
Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, Mall Galleries, London.
Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition Mall Galleries, London: Winner of the Edward Wesson Award.
Beecroft Art Gallery, Westcliffe on Sea, Essex 49th Essex Open Exhibition: Awarded Prize and Shirley Robson Bowl for the best watercolour.
Chappel Galleries, Essex ‘Southwold, the East Coast’.
Sunday Times/Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander, London: 3rd Prize Winner, The Mall Galleries, London.
Lynn Painter-Stainers, London.
Chichester Open Art Exhibition, Chichester.
Royal West of England Academy 155th Autumn Exhibition, Bristol.
New English Art Club, The Mall Galleries, London.
RWS/Sunday Times watercolour competition, Bankside Gallery, London
Lynn Painters-Stainers, London (third prize winner)
Chappel Galleries, Essex Solo Exhibition
Lynn Painter-Stainers, London
Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 198 Annual Exhibition, London
Eastern Open, King’s Lynn Arts Centre
Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 23rd Year (2nd Prize Winner), Mall Galleries, London
Duncan Campbell Fine Art, London: Solo Exhibition
Work on loan for opening of new branch of Handelsbanken, Colchester
Sunday Times Watercolour Competition in association with Smith and Williamson: The Mall Galleries, London  
Discerning Eye Exhibition: The Mall Galleries, London 10-20 November
Piers Feetham Gallery, London: Solo Exhibition
Lynn Painter Stainers Exhibition, London
Chappel Galleries, Essex: Solo Exhibition
Norwich Castle Open Art Show
Chelmsford Borough Museum: Two Man Exhibition with Paul Rumsey, 9th February to 21st April.
Studio Eleven, Westcliff on Sea, Essex: ‘Kiss the Joy’ mixed exhibition.
Royal Society of British Artists, Annual Exhibition: The Mall Galleries, London.
Essex County Council
Jiangsu Province Art Museum, People’s Republic of China
Jiangsu Province Department of Culture, People’s Republic of China
2000, 09
Chelmsford Museums, Essex
Ipswich Borough Council Museums & Galleries, Suffolk
Colchester and Ipswich Museums (on behalf of Colchester Borough Council)
February Edition, Jiangsu Art Monthly
April Edition, Artists & Illustrators Magazine
A Walk in the Country – 32pp Monograph
“Southwold: An Earthly Paradise” by Geoffrey Munn.
Władysław Mirecki at Fifty – 32pp Monograph.
BBC Television Programme: ‘Seven Man-made Wonders of the East’ interview about Chappel Viaduct, showing Mirecki’s paintings depicting the Viaduct.
Jackdaw Magazine “Easel Words” May/June issue
The Artist Magazine, “Masterclass” November issue
Pratique des Arts magazine France, December issue
Duncan Campbell exhibition brochure: Introduction by Andrew Lambirth, art critic of The Spectator.
Jackdaw Magazine page 36: News 'That Beckam Tattoo'
'Closely Observed' Landscape - East Anglia and Beyond: Introduction by Andrew Wilton published by Piers Feetham Gallery, London.



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