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Fra Newbery was a leading figure in British art and design in the twenty years around 1900. Born in Membury, Devon in 1855, Newbery grew up in Bridport. Here he trained to be a teacher at Bridport Boys’ General School. From about 1871 he 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. Newbery then went on to teach in London before moving to Glasgow where he became Director of Glasgow School of Art.

As Director of Glasgow School of Art from 1885 to 1917 he made his school one of the major art training institutions in the world. As a painter he was closely associated with the Glasgow Boys, a group of artists who were part of the European avant-garde in the early 1890s. He was an important figure in the Arts and Crafts movement in Scotland and in the later 1890s helped the group of designers around the architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh to achieve international fame.

The Glasgow School of Art building which Mackintosh designed in close collaboration with Newbery is everywhere acknowledged as one of the masterpieces of twentieth century architecture. Newbery, however, spent over half of his life in Dorset, retiring to Corfe Castle in 1919.

Find out more about Fra Newbery

Fra Newbery Gallery

In his retirement Newbery painted a number of works for public places. Bridport Town Hall houses the largest collection of these, painted and donated to the town as thanks for the role it played in his early education and development.

Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.

The Spirit of Bridport
Ship building, thought to represent the "Lillian" the last tall ship built in Bridport Harbour
A Romance of Bridport
Escape of Charles II after the Battle of Worcester 3 September 1651
Entrance of Joan of Navarre into Bridport en-route to marry King Henry IV in 1403
In the centre is a figure representing Bridport who sits spinning with a distaff on her arm, “Spinning the Twine” is on the left panel and “The Yarn Barton” on the right
Net braiding (sorry, out of focus)
Dorset (with Corfe Castle in the background)
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