1911 - 1985
Dorset Estuary

Oil on canvas, monogrammed bottom right, inscription and artist label on stretcher
Image size: 12 x 24 inches (30.5 x 61 cm)
Original frame


Collection of Mrs Fairchild, London


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Fry was a dedicated painter of the landscapes and coast of his native Dorset, where he regularly returned to the rugged beauty of the cliffs and pools on the coastline for inspiration for his paintings. Friends called Fry ‘the last of the English Impressionists’, because of his fascination with the play of sunshine and reflections of water. When they complained to him that he charged too little for his pictures, he replied, ‘I charge what I think is right. I couldn’t live with myself if I charged more’.

James Fry

James Fry was a British artist who worked in pastel, oils and photography. He was born in London and later studied at Watford School of Art under Arthur Scott. During World War II Fry was a committed conscientious objector who worked in forestry alongside the German and Italian prisoners of War.

Fry was later employed as a retoucher on the magazine ‘Picture Post’ and also designed neck ties for Liberty. In 1954, disenchanted with commercial life in London, he moved to Corfe Castle, in Dorset, where he set up his studio. He lived here with his wife Ivy as a committed environmentalist, teetotal, living frugally eating a vegetarian diet, shunning television, the telephone and newspapers. Based in Corfe Castle he would travel around the Purbeck hills on his bicycle carrying a camera loaded with colour transparency film, which he would later project to complete a painting on canvas.

Why Ivy died, seven years after James, a collection of nearly 7,400 slides taken in and around the Purbecks were found, 295 of those being donated to The Dorset County Museum by a family member. It still holds several of his paintings and in 1999 included him in the published series ‘Dorset Worthies’.