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 Thomas William Fripp  (1864 - 1931)

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Lived/Active: British Columbia / Canada/England      Known for: landscape, coastals and mountain view painting

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Ad Code: 3
Thomas William Fripp
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Thomas William Fripp (1864 – 1931)

An important early 20th century British Columbia (Canada) painter, draftsman and leader in the art community, Thomas William Fripp was born in London, England; emigrated to British Columbia in 1893; and died in Vancouver where he had lived since 1904. (1)  
Although he briefly worked as a photographer (c.1904 – 1906) and has painted in oils, his primary medium was watercolor. His subjects were the landscapes, forests, rivers, mountains, lakes and coastlines of southern British Columbia – from Vancouver Island to the Rocky Mountains. His style was Realism*. AskART has several excellent illustrations of his work; Mount Lefroy is a particularly good example.

Quote: “By focusing on mountain peaks under the graduated atmosphere of vapour and cloud, he gave them poetic and ageless grandeur. His contemporaries were rarely so successful.” (2)

Fripp’s art education includes studies in London with his father George Arthur Fripp (3); as well as at the St. John's Wood Art School* and at the Royal Academy Schools* (1887 – 1890). He also studied and traveled in Switzerland, Austria, and northern Italy (Venice, Florence and Sienna).

He was a very active member of the British Columbia artist community; in 1909, he founded the first art society in the province – the British Columbia Society of Fine Arts. He served as its president from 1909 to 1916 and from 1926 to 1931. Fripp was also a member of the Art, Historical and Scientific Association; the Sketch Club; the Palette and Chisel Club, and the Island Arts and Crafts Society of Victoria.

In addition to exhibiting with the above artist organizations, his work was included in shows with the Ontario Society of Artists between 1914 and 1925; at the Art Association of Montreal (now Montreal Museum of Fine Arts) between 1915 and 1918; with the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1922 and 1930; at the Canadian National Exhibition (Toronto) in 1930; and at the National Gallery of Canada in 1931.

Posthumously, his works were the subject of a one man shows at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1952 and at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (B.C.) in 1983. They were also included in the 1958 British Columbia centennial exhibition “100 Years of B.C. Art” at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Thomas Fripp’s paintings are frequently traded on the Canadian auction market, they are in numerous private collections, and they are in some prominent Canadian museum collections.

According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* and individual museum websites, his works are in the permanent collections of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (B.C.), Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Halifax), Glenbow Museum (Calgary, Alberta), Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery (University of British Columbia, Vancouver), Vancouver Art Gallery (B.C.) and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa).

(1) Most of our sources note that when Fripp arrived in Canada he tried farming in Hatzic, B.C for about ten years (1893 – 1904), but gave it up due to a hand injury. Hatzic is a small town about 40 miles east of downtown Vancouver; today it’s just at the outskirts of the city’s residential suburbs. Source for hand injury detail: “Canadian Art – Its Origin and Development” (1943), by William Colgate (see AskART book references).

(2) Source: Page 70, “From Desolation to Splendour” (1977), by Maria Tippett and Douglas Cole (see AskART book references).

(3) Thomas Fripp comes from a family of artists which includes Nicholas Pocock (grandfather), George Arthur Fripp (father), Alfred Downing Fripp (uncle), Charles Fripp (brother) and Innes Fripp (cousin); they all have their own pages in AskART.
Biographical Index of Artists in Canada (2003), by Evelyn de Rostaing McMann (see AskART book references)
Art BC: Masterworks from British Columbia (2000), by Ian M. Thom (see AskART book references)
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: Spring Exhibitions 1880 – 1970 (1988), by Evelyn de R. McMann (see AskART book references)
Royal Canadian Academy of Arts: Exhibitions and Members, 1880 – 1979 (1981), by Evelyn de R. McMann (see AskART book references)
From Desolation to Splendour (1977), by Maria Tippett and Douglas Cole (see AskART book references)
The Mountains and the Sky (1974), by Lorne E. Render (see AskART book references)
Creative Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth Century Creative and Performing Arts (1972), by Helen M. Rodney (see AskART book references)
Early Painters and Engravers in Canada (1970), by J. Russell Harper (see AskART book references)
Painting in Canada: a history (1966), by J. Russell Harper (see AskART book references)
The National Gallery of Canada: Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture, Volume III (1960), by R.H. Hubbard (see AskART book references)
100 Years of B.C. Art (1958), by R.M. Hume (see AskART book references)
Canadian Art - Its Origin and Development (1943), by William Colgate (see AskART book references)
Canadian Heritage Information Network*

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

Prepared and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
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