brochure no 59 st giles fair sunday 1989


John Newberry returns to The North Wall this summer with Recording Oxford, an extensive collection of small watercolours painted between 1982-1995. 

Published: 31 May 2023



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The Ruskin’s former Acting Master, artist John Newberry, is exhibiting watercolours he painted of Oxford over a thirteen-year period beginning in 1982.

The exhibition is free and officially opens at a special event the evening of 31 May 2023, held at the North Wall gallery in Oxford.

On 6 June, 2.30-4pm, John's art and career will be the subject of discussion between Bernard Richards and Ian Davis.

Born in 1934, at school in Bath, John did National Service and studied Architecture at Cambridge when Leslie Martin was Professor. After three years he transferred to read Fine Art at Newcastle under Lawrence Gowing and Victor Pasmore.

John came to Oxford in 1962 to teach part-time at the Ruskin School of Drawing. He also worked at Sanders where he prepared annual exhibitions of English drawings and watercolours for Kyril Bonfiglioli (part-owner, art dealer and comic mystery writer). There John was able to study ‘in the hand a large range of watercolours’. Other than that he was untaught in the medium – it was not a subject in art schools. His own watercolour exhibitions at Sanders became annual events and this is a chance to see some of those works.

When Fine Art became a degree and the Ruskin moved from the Ashmolean to the High Street, John became full-time with a post at Brasenose College. From 1987-1989, he was the Ruskin’s Acting Master. John retired in 1989 and lives with his partner, the composer Bryan Kelly, in Somerset. John was made a full member of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1995.

Bernard Richards was the Fellow in English Literature at Brasenose College, Oxford from 1972 to 1996. He is now an Emeritus Fellow.  His speciality is Victorian Literature and Art. His English Poetry of the Victorian Period (Longman, 2001) is one of  the standard works on the subject. He has edited Henry James’s The Spoils of  Poynton and The Princess Casamassima.  He has lectured on Victorian Art, especially Turner and the Pre-Raphaelites, and is currently writing a book in which he identifies for the first time many of the places sketched by Turner.

Ian Davis trained as an architect and worked in the USA, Canada and the UK.  He was part of the team at Chamberlin, Powell and Bon when they designed the Barbican Arts Centre in the late 1960’s. He then taught for twenty years in the School of Architecture, Oxford Polytechnic, (now Oxford Brookes University). Ian enjoys using pen and ink and watercolour to draw or paint architecture and landscapes. In 2020 he wrote: ‘Experiencing Oxford’, illustrated with over a hundred of his paintings of the city and its setting.


Entry is free to the exhibition which runs May 30-June 10