NEWBERY, Francis Henry

1855 - 1946

Fra Newbery

Known as Fra Newbery, he was born at Membury, Devon on 15 May 1855, son of William Newbery, a shoemaker, and his wife Mary and in 1861, 6 year old Francis was living at Folly Mill Lane, Bridport, Dorset with his parents, 37 year old William and 37 year old Mary, with five siblings, Tom George 11, Sophie Ellen 5, William Alexander 4, Sidney Elliott 1 and newly born Eda Ann. Newbery trained to be a teacher at Bridport Boys’ General School and from about 1871 attended the Bridport School of Art, on the first floor of the Literary and Scientific Institute, qualifying as an art master, and acting as assistant to its headmaster. In 1875 he obtained an appointment as art master at a London secondary school and worked in London schools until 1882 when he obtained a scholarship to become an Art Master in Training at the National Art Training School (now the Royal College of Art) when he was boarding at 89 Greenwood Road, Hackney. By the time he left he was acting as a member of staff, teaching painting, the figure, and architecture. In 1885 appointed director of the Glasgow School of Art and under his leadership the School developed an international reputation and was associated with the flourishing of Glasgow 'Style' and the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh [q.v.] and his circle. He married on 28 September 1889, Jessie Wylie Rowatt [Newbery q.v.], and in 1901 a 45 year old art master at Glasgow School of Art, living at 6 Buckingham Street, Govan, Partick, Lanarkshire with his 34 year old wife Jessie and two daughters, 15 year old Margaret E. and 8 year old Mary A. another daughter Eucot must have died. A painter and art educationist, he took a long-term tenancy of a summer residence 'Rooftree', also renting a fishing-hut studio beside the harbour at Walberswick, Suffolk c.1897-1917 which became a magnet in bringing other Scottish based artists to the area including Charles Rennie MacIntosh, Maurice Greiffenhagen and many others. Under Francis Newbery's direction the Glasgow School's prestige grew, both internationally and at home. His reputation as a successful director was enhanced by the high profile of various Glasgow artists from the 1890s until the early years of the 20th century. He retired in 1917 when he returned to Dorset and after staying at the Greyhound Inn from 1919 and in 1921 they purchased Eastgate House, on East Street, Corfe Castle together with a former chapel and cottages grouped around a courtyard, known as Well Court, on West Street. The chapel became Newbery’s studio and he continued painting until 1932. He died at Corfe Castle on 18 December 1946.







Works by This Painter