Frederick John Widgery produced hundreds of paintings of Dartmoor and the West Country and we certainly see our fair share through our auction rooms. Widgery excelled at interpreting the Dartmoor horizon or a Devonshire Summer sky and these features often dominate his work and emphasise the open wildness of the moor and the particular freshness of this countryside.
To contrast these great natural themes, Widgery closely observed and painted in fine detail tufts of moorland gorse and heather and moss and lichen on a rock.
Frederick John Widgery [1862-1941] - A summer day on Dartmoor (FS18/377)
Born in 1861, Frederick John Widgery had attended the Exeter Cathedral School where he showed his father's, William Widgery, aptitude for art. He went on to the Exeter School of Art and then the South Kensington Museum School before travelling to Antwerp to study under Charles Verlat at the National Art School. On his return to England, Widgery studied at Professor Hubert von Herkomer's School at Bushey in Hertfordshire. Back in Exeter Widgery became a prominent and active councillor and was elected Mayor of Exeter in 1903 which was an exciting time for the city with the construction of a new bridge over the Exe and new electricity generating station to power an electric tram system. The adoption of ‘FJ’ as the city's motor car registration letters, which Frederick John was never slow to point out, was always thought to be in homage to Widgery, but was just a coincidence which has acquired the status of urban myth!
This time there is just one painting by Frederick John Widgery in the sale Fine Art Sale in Okehampton Street, Exeter, Devon on 24th April 2013 and the estimate is £250-£350 [FS18/377]. The whole of the fine art sale is on view from Saturday, 20th April 2013.