The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Francis Henry Newbery, 1855-1946

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1855.05.15
Place of Birth: Membury
Date of Death: 1946.12.18
Place of Death: Corfe


Francis Henry Newbery was a painter, writer and teacher. In 1889 he married Jessie Wylie Rowat, a former student of Glasgow School of Art, who was a designer and taught book decoration, enamelling, mosaic and needlework at Glasgow School of Art between 1894 and 1908.


Newbery studied art at Bridport and at the National Art Training School in South Kensington under Edward Poynter. He was active exhibiting between 1890 and 1940, showing in London at the Royal Academy, Royal Society of Portrait Painters, New English Art Club, Society of British Artists, a society which elected JW its President in 1886, and International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, a society which formed with JW as its President in 1898. He also exhibited in Scotland at the Royal Scottish Academy, Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Water Colours and Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, as well as world-wide.

Newbery was appointed Director of Glasgow School of Art in 1885 and was responsible for giving the school its international reputation, organising exhibitions, competitions and lectures on art and design, to which he invited well known speakers from the art world, including JW in 1890, who did not however come (#01680). He also developed links with the University of Glasgow, and in this way his students also received lectures on anatomy, art history, philosophy and literature.

Possibly Newbery's most famous pupil was Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who was to design a new building for the School. Newbery was also close to the Glasgow Boys, particularly John Lavery, James Guthrie and E. A. Walton. Newbery, Lavery, Guthrie and Walton were among those Glasgow painters who in 1891 appended their names to a list requesting that the Corporation of Glasgow buy Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle (YMSM 137) (#12326). In 1892 JW was approached by Mary Newton Mann about contributing a sketch to an album of watercolours and black and white drawings in order to raise 400 guineas for Queen Margaret College in Glasgow. Newbery was among those who had already promised his assistance (#03987). On his retirement in 1918, he moved to Corfe Castle in Dorset, where he continued to paint.


Johnson, J., and A. Gruetzner, Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940, Woodbridge, 1980; (accessed 13 February 2003).