Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2019

10th June – 12th August 2019

        Dear Virginia Pope, We are delighted to inform you that your artwork, WOOL TO WEAVE,  has been selected for this year’s exhibition.  

Congratulations on your successful entry.  With best wishes, The Summer Exhibition Team         Royal Academy of Arts


Virginia Pope – Self-taught Westcountry artist inspired by nature, best known as animalier.  Virginia works in oil, water colour, pastel and mixed media. Recording with passion the vegetative changes on Dartmoor, respecting and rejoicing in the form and characteristics of animal life.

Virginia learned to draw and paint with the assistance of teddy bears, patient sitters, they exhibited successfully with the Stable Gallery, Wandsworth 1986!  Moving on to subjects with a pulse, taking the Drawing Prize with the Society of Equestrian Artists, thence followed commissioned work and further exhibitions.

Most recently, ‘Hooves in the Heather’, September to October 2018 at Tor Royal, Princetown, an exhibition of paintings and book launch.

‘Wool to Weave’   Oil on Tweed   30.5 x 30.5 cm

We have wandered away from wool…

I remember the despairing Dartmoor Farmers during the 70’s, the advent of manmade fibres leaving them with sacks of unwanted, wasted wool.  HRH the Duke of Cornwall championed wool then as insulation, continuing today through the fashion industry.  Wool is a natural, easily grown, eco-friendly resource – time we wandered back!

I have spent a lifetime observing the tough, adaptable Scottish Blackface sheep that thrive on the top of Dartmoor.  I employed an oil laden palette knife to illustrate the wool’s depth and character, onto a support of Donegal tweed made from Scottish Blackface wool.


Open Exhibition



Open Exhibition



‘WOOL TO WEAR’ – Oil on hessian 28.75” x 20.75”
The cost of collecting wool and treating it for clothing has become more prohibitive since the 1970’s.
2020 – We are buying clothes made from manmade non-biodegradable materials to discard after only being worn a couple of times. Meanwhile, raw wool is being burnt by struggling hill farmers, some sheep being left unshorn.
The ram portrayed will be relieved of his heavy fleece soon, but must wait until the weather is set fair or he will catch a chill.
I chose a hessian canvas as a reminder of the time when sheep fleeces were rightly valued and animal fodder came in hessian sacks (now replaced by plastic). The farmer’s friend, his farmyard essential! A protection against rough weather worn around the shoulders, a tractor seat cushion, pipe lagging against the frost, bag for the ‘teddies’ and laid in the barn – a place for cat to have her kittens. Eventually the sack at end of life sinking back into the soil.
The Harris Tweed Orb Trade Mark means a tweed, hand-spun, hand-woven and dyed by the crofters and cottars in the Outer Hebrides. Wonderfully warm and durable.
Thickly applied oil paint with brush and knife.

Urban Fox

Foxes are particularly skilled at social distancing.  Prints available by request.

© 2018 Withe & Whortle