Terry Setch RA

Terry Setch RA was born in 1936 in Lewisham, London

He studied at Sutton and Cheam School of Art, 1950-54 and Slade School of Fine Art 1956-60.

He was elected  a Royal Academician May 2009 and a Senior Royal Academician October 2011

He lives in Penarth, Wales and draws inspiration from his surroundings. Employing diverse materials, he explores the tensions between society and the natural world. The painted surfaces of his large-scale works are often amplified with found matter, which articulates an atmosphere of elemental and emotional turmoil.

Although Setch’s small scale paintings, prints and drawings are more literal, they are rooted in the same Romantic tradition.


For more than 60 years I have been painting landscapes, for the last 50 years I have been recording the changes brought about by new industrial developments, lifestyle changes, wealth management and new social mores.  I have been using the pollution of the local beach, particularly the plastic detritus, as my major subject since the mid 1970s, long before concern about the damage caused by the ubiquitous, non-biodegradable plastic became widespread in this country.

Sarah Kent wrote, “The beach, a messy and polluted burial ground, is seen as the site of social and moral conflict where opposing forces and interests do battle - where the sea assaults the land, industrial growth encroaches on nature, and exploitation encounters conservation. There is rage in Setch’s pictures. Their ugliness not only challenges good taste but is a statement of disgust at the negligence of industrial society.” Flash Art, London. Summer 1983

Monica Petzal wrote, “These are paintings to get lost in; there is a wealth of possible meaning and interpretation - there is no right way of looking at them. As evidence of one person’s attempt to bring his personal reality into form which is unified, accessible and powerful, they hold meaning for us all.” Time Out, London. 24 September 1982,

These observations are germane today and encapsulate my thinking. As an artist I continue to use conventional art materials and I incorporate detritus flotsam and jetsam, found objects and include new and recycled modern building materials.  I observe daily what happens on the people's beach.

I have to follow my own path: I am not a ‘joiner’ or part of an ‘ism’. I have tried to create an identity that is my own.


The Royal Collection

The Tate Gallery

National Museum and Galleries of Wales

Victoria and Albert Museum

Welsh Arts Council

Arts Council of Great Britain

Contemporary Arts Society of Wales

Wakefield City Art Gallery

Coleg Harlech

Contemporary Arts Society

Northampton Art Gallery

University College London

University College of Wales, Aberystwyth

Rugby Borough Council

University College of Wales, Swansea

British Council Museum of Modern Art, Lodz, Poland

Cardiff County Council

Normal College, Bangor

Glamorgan Education Authority

Glynn Vivian Museum & Art Gallery, Swansea

Leicestershire Education Authority

Ceredigion County Council

Aberdeen City Council