We are saddened by the loss of RAG member Pauline Harding who died unexpectedly at home in peace on 30 December 2021.

Pauline was Chair of Riverside Artists Group for a number of years, a role which she undertook with diplomatic good humour and seriousness. She very generously hosted meetings in her London flat, found venues and organised exhibitions, including in the Knapp Gallery and The Institute of Physics. Pauline also created what has become an enduring arrangement with the Cavendish Conference Centres, most recently at their venue in America Square where RAG is exhibiting currently as part of the Totally Thames Festival.

Pauline studied at Canterbury and Wimbledon art colleges then trained as a teacher at Goldsmiths College. After graduating in 1967, she began and dropped-out of a masters course in Public Art at Chelsea School of Art going on to make murals in Battersea Park, White City estate, Townmead Youth Club, Brixton with Dale McCrae, and a role assisting David Bratby in his Elephant & Castle subway. Her practice of drawing, painting, printmaking and collage led to exhibiting in group shows and individually, notably alongside Mary Algar first at Merton Abbey Mills and later at Gabriels Wharf with the collective Artshed.

Pauline taught art in schools, facilitated visual arts in youthwork and was a playleader in what used to be called One o’Clock Clubs and on adventure playgrounds. Her son, Anton – also a RAG member – enjoyed the many benefits of all of this in Pauline’s endearing presence.

More broadly, her interest in Taoist arts – which were among the many other cultural investigations Pauline revelled in and her radical humanism, e.g. pacifism (CND and latterly Campaign Against the Arms Trade) – advanced most notably when, with the arrival in London of Master Lam and his family, she enjoyed what might be taken as a quantum leap in the standard of training. Pauline’s devotions here are estimated by Anton (who also teaches) to have become a practitioner at the highest level. Pauline made two trips to China and tours of Italy and Spain; in Portugal she met Anton’s father, Edwardo White, and made two visits to the USA and never enough of those Pennine treks she coaxed the son she would visit in West Yorkshire onto.

She will be greatly missed by all at Riverside Artists Group.

Pauline Harding