Robert Tilling

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Robert Tilling (picture Peter Mourant)
Seymour, Strong Light
Two Islands

Robert Tilling lived in Jersey from 1968 until his death in 2011. His artistic career spanned numerous solo and group exhibitions including showing at Barbican Centre London, the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition and the Contemporary Arts Society.

He gained a number of awards including the Cleveland Drawing Biennale and two at the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours for ‘the most outstanding work’. He also illustrated a number of books and publications for, among others, Charles Causley and Spike Milligan and his paintings have been included in over thirty books and magazines. Robert was awarded an MBE in 2006 for services to the arts.

Working primarily in watercolour, acrylic, gouache and charcoal, the majority of his work is based on local landscape and seascape. Bob lectured widely, including the Tate Gallery and at Exeter University, his writing on jazz and blues have been published on both sides of the Atlantic.

Obituary

From the BBC Jersey website

Bob was the only Royal Institute of Water Colour painters member in Jersey. He came to Jersey in the late 1960s as the newly appointed Head of Art at Victoria College.

Rod McLoughlin, Jersey's cultural development officer, remembers him as a great teacher and someone who was an inspiration to others. He said: "I knew him as a pupil at Victoria College where he was the head of art, perhaps I wasn't his star pupil at the time.

"Later on in life I think knowing him and being able to follow him and have things explained to me in a fresh way, my art education started long after I left school. He made me look at things in a fresh way."

Jersey's former Bailiff, Sir Philip Bailhache, was a friend of Robert Tilling and said he will remembered for his sense of humour. He said: "I will remember Robert as a very fine artist, I will remember him as one of my closest friends. I will remember forever the tremendously exuberant and vital sense of humour he had."

Over his career Bob has held 28 solo exhibitions including some at the Barbican centre, Jersey Museum, Exeter University and the Jersey Arts Centre. His work is also held in many private and public collections around the world.

'Great painter'

David Barnett from Studio 18, where Bob would exhibit his work, said he would remember him as one of the island's great painters. He said he was up there 'with the likes of Edmund Blampied'.

"He will be known and will always be known for his wonderful watercolours and the lovely washes he put into his watercolours. But what I love about Bob was that he was always pushing the boundaries of his art and trying new things. Only within the last six months he brought some new paintings in which were totally different to what he had done before."

Music

Jerry Jackson, a Jersey musician said Bob's fellow musicians would remember him for a long time to come.

"He was a fine acoustic blues guitar player, a world historian on the blues, what he didn't know about the blues was not worth knowing. He played live in many clubs in Jersey, was patron of the world music festival and only a few weeks ago we went out for an evening and played together. He supported all live music as well as playing himself."
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