The Leicester Sketch Club was set up 1898 as a group where members could go out sketching and painting, and meet once a month to have their work critiqued by an experienced artist.
On 24th March 1898 at a meeting of the Leicester Society of Artists in the Mayor's Parlour, Mr HR Steer RI, proposed the formation of a Sketching Club to go out and sketch au plain-air. A committee of eight members was formed to put the project into action. Twenty-four members paid their annual subscription of 3/6, they were required to submit their sketches, usually of a prescribed subject, in any medium by the first Monday of each month. The members would criticise each other's work and vote for their favourites. A prize was awarded to the member winning the most votes.
During WWI the Club's activities were much reduced but it revived strongly and by 1929 under the presidency of Freddie Wills the membership rose to fifty-eight. Likewise for most of WWII there was little activity but by 1946 membership rose to 129.
From 1921 to 1946 monthly meetings were held in the Turkey Cafe in Granby Street. When the management decided to close it at 6pm the Club moved to a lecture room at Leicester Museum. All was well until 1970 when a problem with insurance necessitated a move to the Friends' Meeting House in Queen's Road. This arrangement lasted for ten years until the building became too crowded and the Club moved to the Adult Education College in Wellington Street. After another thirty-five years the members expressed their dislike of coming into Leicester at night and we began to hold our meetings in the Leicester High School for Girls in London Road.
For many years the Club held its annual exhibition in the City Rooms in Hotel Street. This venue was central and enjoyed an excellent footfall. Since then, we have varied our locations.
The Club looks forward to another century of exciting art.