F.J. Widgery was the son of William Widgery (1822-1893) who was also a well known landscape painter. Frederick John Widgery produced landscape and coastal scenes, mainly in gouache, with most of the subjects being local scenes in the Devon and Cornwall area. He was born in 1861 and studied at the Exeter School of Art, in London and in Antwerp. He later became a magistrate and Mayor of Exeter, being very active in local affairs.
His large output and long life meant that his pictures are quite common, particularly in the West of England. He has always been a popular artist, but some of his later work is somewhat repetitive. His style is however very distinctive and his evocation of the misty scenery of Dartmoor is particularly good. He even has a number of imitators, such as R.D.Sherrin (see elsewhere on this web site for an example of his work).
The picture on the left of Cut Hill, Dartmoor shows a typical moorland scene by the artist. His work was exhibited at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, the Royal Academy, the Royal Institute of Painters of Watercolours and the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.
His work appears in several books including "A Vision of Dartmoor - Paintings by F.J.Widgery" by C. Jane Baker and published in 1988 which contains much biographical information on both F.J.Widgery and his father, plus 22 colour plates of his watercolours originally published in b/w in the work "A Peramulation of Dartmoor" mentioned below. See also "Torquay - The Charm and History of its Neighbourhood" by John Presland published in 1920 and in addition he illustrated "Lorna Doone" by R.D. Blackmore in an edition published by Sampson Low Marston, "A Perambulation of Dartmoor" by S.Rowe, "Fair Devon Album" by S.Rowe and "Devon" by Lady R Northcote. A collection of material and some of his paintings are held by the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter (the photograph above of F.J.Widgery in mayoral robes from 1904 is reproduced courtesy of Exeter City Museums and Art Gallery).
The picture below of Widemouth Bay, Bude is one of his larger, and probably later, works.
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