Romsey mourns the loss of the exceptional Rex Trayhorne

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Residents of ROMSEY are mourning the loss of one of their own, Rex Trayhorne, a man known to many as the “heart of the town”.

Rex, a much-loved husband, father and friend, died peacefully on Thursday July 14, aged 90, after living an “exceptional life”.

Rex, born in Berkshire, trained as a technical illustrator and in his early years worked for British European Airways, the Atomic Energy Authority and various advertising agencies.

Later he taught at Southampton College of Art and freelanced – his last contract was with IBM Hursley.

He then became a full-time professional artist. His skills in graphic design, airbrushing and photo retouching, used in technical and architectural illustrations, were developed long before the arrival of computer aids.

This influenced many of his paintings, which feature realism and often intricate detail while showing strong artistic interpretation.

Rex produced paintings ranging from expressive watercolors to exquisite miniatures. His work has been exhibited at the Royal Institute of Watercolor Painters, the Tate Gallery, the Medici Gallery and the Royal Miniature Society, and in 1989 he was elected a Fellow in recognition of his work.

Since 1965 he was a prominent member of the Romsey Art Group and the Mountbatten Gallery in Lee. He curated the exhibitions of Wessex artists in Salisbury for over twenty-five years.

In 1998, then aged 67, he spent countless days filming a year-long documentary about life in Romsey featuring all aspects of the local people and events – a valuable testament to those times. This project also raised funds for Romsey Hospital.

Rex wrote magazine articles, appeared on television, organized watercolor classes, and raised funds for many local charities – too many to list.

He was a founding member of the Rotary Club of Romsey Test and in 1990 he was made an ‘honorary member’ of the Rotary movement. He was also a very active member and chairman of the Romsey Abbey Probus Club.

Rex had a long association with Romsey Abbey. He was confirmed there in 1996, and in 2000 celebrated 25 years of marriage to his wife and fellow artist, Geraldine, at a service of thanksgiving led by Canon Crawford-Jones.

For each of the past thirty years he has produced a unique Christmas card with an appropriate Romsey winter scene featuring primarily Romsey Abbey – whenever possible encased in snow.

In 2010, Rex’s painting of Romsey Abbey was used on special edition postage stamps as well as a wide range of well-known postcards and calendars featuring local scenes. One of his most striking works is the detailed view of the interior of the Abbey, which took a month to complete. It is now one of the most popular cards on sale.

With his wife, Geraldine, Rex lived in central Romsey for 34 years. His family said he loved the town, the Abbey and the many friends who made there.

He has made great contributions to the local arts community, local organizations and raised funds for local charities. All testifies to a life well lived.

His funeral will take place at Romsey Abbey on Monday August 15 at 1.30pm. Rex’s family have asked people to donate to Wessex Heartbeat or Romsey Abbey PCC rather than buying flowers. Donations can be made through ahcheater.co.uk.

Written by John Scarborough

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