THE work of four Colchester artists is set to get the royal seal of approval when it goes on show in London.

Debbie Ayles, Rebecca Guyver, Sylvia Paul, and Nicola Stratton Tyler are members of the Colchester Art Society (CAS) and have been selected to display paintings at the prestigious Society of Women Artist’s 163rd annual open exhibition.

The Society of Women Artists (SWA) has historical roots and was founded in 1855 originally as the Society of Female Artists by Harriet Grote.

It was set up to allow talented female artists to exhibit and sell their work which was difficult at the time.

Now, the art body and charity is dedicated to promoting art created by women and this year’s exhibition will take place from June 25 to June 29 and will be opened by Princess Michael of Kent.

Gazette: Royal - Princess Michael of Kent during a visit to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London on Monday May 20, 2024Royal - Princess Michael of Kent during a visit to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London on Monday May 20, 2024 (Image: PA)

It will take place at The Mall Galleries in London.

Debbie, in her 60s, is from Colchester and has been a member of CAS for 22 years, enjoys painting architecture and how she perceives it, she studied art and design at Colchester School of Art.

Sylvia, 67, lives in Dovercourt, and has been a member for 21 years, growing up she went to Colchester School of art at the age of 16, and enjoys painting various subjects, landscape, still life and street scenes.

Rebecca, is based in Suffolk and has been part of CAS for ten years, and has always been making art since a child, and enjoys making painting depictions of still life in egg tempera.

Nicola, 50, is from Halstead, and has been a member for three years, she first got into painting after a career in fine art valuation.

Gazette: Artist - Debbie AylesArtist - Debbie Ayles (Image: Public)

Gazette: Art - Urban Jungle by Debbie Ayles to be displayed at the SWA exhibitionArt - Urban Jungle by Debbie Ayles to be displayed at the SWA exhibition (Image: Debbie Ayles)

All  four artists submitted artworks for the exhibition and were selected by the SWA, and they are thrilled.

Nicola said:  I have exhibited with the SWA before and this year I was very honoured to be offered Associate membership of the society.

“I have four paintings in the exhibition and another which will be auctioned for charity.”

Sylvia added: “I was very pleased to have been accepted to this open exhibition again, I have shown my work with them several years ago.”

Rebecca said: “Each time I’ve been selected I have been overjoyed, and surprised, It’s a great exhibition and showing work at the Mall Galleries is wonderful.”

Gazette: Talented - artist Sylvia PaulTalented - artist Sylvia Paul (Image: Sylvia Paul)

Gazette: Beautiful - Busy Day Tokyo by Sylvia PaulBeautiful - Busy Day Tokyo by Sylvia Paul (Image: Busy Day Tokyo by Sylvia Paul)

Debbie said: “I’m delighted.

“It’s always good to be able to present work to a jury of selectors and have it selected."

The Colchester Art Society was formed in 1946 for the promotion of the visual arts by a group of artists based at the Colchester School of Art.

Membership is available to all that practice the arts and have a passion for it. 

Gazette: Creative - Nicola Stratton TylerCreative - Nicola Stratton Tyler (Image: Nicola Stratton Tyler)

Gazette: Artwork - Under the Crane by Nicola Statton TylerArtwork - Under the Crane by Nicola Statton Tyler (Image: Nicola Stratton Tyler)

The society organises two yearly exhibitions in Colchester, one during the summer period and another in the winter.

For these four ladies, art means eveything, they explained what they love about it.

Rebecca said: "In my opinion the wonderful thing about art is its ability to bring people together in shared understanding."

Sylvia added: "Art is basically my lifelong love since a very small child, I’m sure I will always be creating something."

Debbie said:  It’s contradictions!

Gazette: Painter - Rebecca GuyverPainter - Rebecca Guyver (Image: Rebecca Guyver)

Gazette: Work - Speak,-See-&-Hear-no-Evil - it's-my-nature by Rebecca GuyverWork - Speak,-See-&-Hear-no-Evil - it's-my-nature by Rebecca Guyver (Image: Rebecca Guyver)

"It is frustrating but exhilarating; intense decision making but also going with the flow.

 "Especially as paint has a habit of doing its own thing.

"Best of all is seeing an idea materialise to something better than you imagined."

To find out more about CAS, head to and for further information about the SWA, visit