Algernon Newton

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Algernon Cecil Newton

Algernon Cecil Newton
Born23 February 1880
Died21 May 1968 (aged 88)
EducationClare College, Cambridge
ElectedRA 1943

Algernon Newton RA (1880–1968) was a British landscape artist known as the "Canaletto of the canals".[1]


Newton was born in Hampstead in 1880, a grandson of Henry Newton, one of the founders of the Winsor & Newton the art materials company.[2]

Early in World War I, Newton held the rank of Sub-lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.[3] Later, he served with the Army and was invalided out in 1916 after catching pneumonia, recuperating over the next few years among the artist community at Lamorna, Cornwall.[4]

In 1919 he returned to London and started exhibiting at the Royal Academy of Art.[5] In the 1920s, he also regularly exhibited at the New English Art Club.[6] He was elected ARA (Associate Royal Academician) in 1936, and a full RA in 1943.[7]

His Evening on the Avon was commissioned for the Long Gallery of the RMS Queen Mary.[8] A number of his paintings are in Art Galleries in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States – notably in the Tate Britain. In 2011 the Metropolitan Museum, New York acquired his painting Stormy Sunset on the East Coast (1939).

His obituary in The Times described him as "a painter of quiet distinction ... He could take the most forbidding canal or group of factory buildings and, without romanticizing or shrinking any detail, create a poetic and restful composition out of it." He himself once wrote: "There is beauty to be found in everything, you only have to search for it; a gasometer can make as beautiful a picture as a palace on the Grand Canal, Venice. It simply depends on the artist's vision."[9]

His auction record is £128,500, set at Bonham's on 10 June 2015 for his oil City of London from Hampstead Heath (1949). Modern British and Irish Art sale, Bonham's, 10 June 2015.[10]


Newton married Marjorie Emilia Balfour Rider, author of Mr Duveen: An Allegory (ASIN: B00087LX8S).[11] They had two sons, one of whom was the actor Robert Newton and two daughters.[12] Ann Paludan was their granddaughter, Nicholas Newton, a theatre producer and Kim Newton, a photojournalist and university professor are grandsons. His great grandson is Sir Mark Jones.

Selected exhibitions[edit]

  • Paintings Around London by Algernon Newton, Leicester Galleries, London, March 1933[13]
  • Watercolours by Frank Dobson. Paintings by Algernon Newton, ARA. Paintings by Vanessa Bell, Leicester Galleries, London, June–July 1941. Newton's work was praised in The Times: "His work is impressive ... Several of the large London scenes are admirable, particularly Spring Morning, Campden Hill, an empty street with the slightest haze in the air, and, at the far end, a pink house which puts in just the right touch of colour to form a focus for the whole".[14]
  • Looking at the View, Tate Britain, 2012.[15]
  • Algernon Newton, Daniel Katz Gallery, London 2012.[16]

International career[edit]

As well as exhibiting widely in the UK he also showed internationally, including alongside Picasso, Braque and Chagall in the Carnegie International Exhibition of Painting at Pittsburg in 1938.[17] In 1926 and 1934, he was one of the artists chosen to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale of Art.[18][19]

Works in public galleries[edit]

A portrait of him by photographer Walter Stoneman is in the National Portrait Gallery collection.[27]


  1. ^ A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art, by Ian Chilvers and John Glaves-Smith, Oxford University Press, 1998
  2. ^ A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art
  3. ^ "Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve: Temporary Sub Lieutenants", Navy List, Royal Navy: 423, 1915
  4. ^ Cornwall Artists' Index, retrieved 25 November 2015
  5. ^ Royal Academy website
  6. ^ The Rede Lecture, 1926
  7. ^ Algernon Newton RA on the Royal Academy website
  8. ^ The Long Galley of the Queen Mary
  9. ^ The Surrey Canal, Tate website
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ Mr Duveen on Amazon
  12. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  13. ^ Algernon Newton online biography
  14. ^ The Times, 17 June 1941
  15. ^ Looking at the View, Tate, 2012
  16. ^ Andrew Graham-Dixon on Algernon Newton, Sunday Telegraph, 2012
  17. ^ The Daily Republican, Monongahela, Pennsylvania, 26 September, 1938
  18. ^ "British Pavilion at Venice, 1926". Archived from the original on 15 August 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  19. ^ "British Pavilion at Venice, 1934". Archived from the original on 15 August 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  20. ^ Newton on the Tate website
  21. ^ Algernon Newton's works for Recording Britain
  22. ^ Contemporary Art Society Annual Report
  23. ^ Algernon Newton RA: Object of the Month, Royal Academy of Arts, May 2010
  24. ^ Algernon Newton RA in the Government Art Collection
  25. ^ Art Gallery of New South Wales
  26. ^ The Glasgow Herald, November 18, 1938
  27. ^ Algernon Newton in the National Portrait Gallery

External links[edit]