The History of Pastel
Pastel has a long history and has been used with passion by many of the world’s greatest artists. Masters such as Leonardo da Vinci used chalk for his drawings, and from this developed pastel. Although in use throughout the 17th century, pastel had its heyday during the 18th century when it became immensely popular for portraiture. Many of these portraits are quite famous and still in pristine condition, which should reassure those people who worry about the durability of the medium.
After 1830 its use fell into decline. Then was revived towards the end of the century by the French Impressionists – the likes of Degas, Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec using pastel with eminent success.
During the 20th century the popularity of pastel increased, partly due to the staunch work of the (National) Pastel Society. Today a large number of leading contemporary artists are finding pastel a beautiful and rewarding medium to work with.
The Leicestershire Pastel Society
In 1999 Norman Sims had an idea that the city’s art community would appreciate the introduction of a Pastel Society. London and Birmingham had one so why not Leicester? With pastels gaining in popularity it seemed the right time. Norman approached a few fellow artists who worked in pastel, and the ball was set in motion. A meeting was arranged to discuss the feasibility and possibilities for setting up such a society. Much time, effort and finances were needed in the early days. Sadly Norman died, 23rd March 2008. This society is Norman's legacy.
.The society continues to go from strength to strength with new exhibitions and projects. The main annual exhibition can boast a very high standard of art, which compares favourably with work in other societies. The LPS is becoming well established as an art society both here and abroad. We are affiliated to the International Pastel Society and a few members of the society are linked to both The London and Birmingham Pastel Societies.
A special thanks must be given to our first secretary Elizabeth Woodfield who has played a large part in the success and development of the society since its very early days. Also previous secretary Eileen Brookes who, very ably, continued this job until October 2011.
The current site is the work of the writer Leslie R. Spanswick. It's ever changing to keep you updated on news of the society and members. It will never fall in to the trap of becoming some dusty archive.
Barbara Stewart 1999-2008
Alan Oliver 2008-Present