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Richardson, Frederick Stuart R.S.W. R.I. R.O.I. British (1855-1934)
Frederick Stuart Richardson was born in Clifton, Bristol, on the 9th December, 1855. He was the second son of the Reverend John Richardson who was Rector of Sandy in Bedfordshire, from 1858 to 1913. He was educated at Repton School and subsequently trained as a civil engineer at Crystal Palace in London. In 1877, he inherited a legacy that provided him with an annual income. This allowed him to consider leaving his embryonic career as an engineer and to study art. His family, being very concerned about this step, asked a family friend, the painter, Sir Samuel Luke Fildes R.A., to give an opinion of his talents and prospects. Following a positive response, Richardson traveled to Paris to study painting under Carolus Duran. He was however more interested in landscapes than portraits.
On his return to England, he set up a base at his father's rectory at Sandy in Bedfordshire. He used an outbuilding as a studio, and remained there until his father's death in 1913. He traveled extensively, painting landscapes and coastal scenes in Scotland in Kintyre, at Carradale until the early 1890’s. There he had shared a studio with his great friends Hamilton Macallum (R.I., 1841-1896) and Kenneth Mackenzie (died 1899). They painted Scottish landscapes and seascapes.
He also painted in Ireland, Italy, Holland and France until the outbreak of the First World War. He visited the USA on one occasion in the summer of 1881, in the company of a young cousin who was the son of Charles Nash. They met Longfellow and traveled from New York to Niagara falls visiting the White, Adirondack and Catskill mountains. Frederick did a number of watercolors during his visit. He also made annual visits to Yorkshire, where his great-grandfather lived. There he became an active member of the Staithes Group, an important artist colony in the north, participating in the exhibitions of the Staithes Art Club, and annual exhibitions of the Yorkshire Union of Artists. At the turn of the century, his elder brother inherited Park Hall, a property at Aislaby and, as local vicar, was able to provide Frederick with accommodation in a cottage at the rear of the Hall. He visited there annually for many years, even after he married and had moved to Long Ashton near Bristol, Somerset with his family. He especially liked Yorkshire and Scotland as he was a keen fisherman like the rest of the family. He was also an excellent cricketer, the family still has his bat (now on display at Repton School) and he played the violin and clarinet. He was a colleague of Yorkshire artists like Dame Laura Knight. When she moved to Cornwall with her husband Harold Knight, Frederick began painting in Cornwall and associated with the Newlyn group of painters. Frederick Stuart Richardson did oils and watercolors en plein air and was best known for his landscapes and seascapes.
Frederick met his wife Elsie Reynolds whilst on a painting trip in Cornwall. He passed the window of the Coverack Headland Hotel which is close to the sea. He saw a pretty girl sitting by the window. He was so struck by her that he decided to engage her in conversation there and later on the beach where he was painting. They married in 1912 and spent a honeymoon in Holland (he was 57 and she 26). In 1913, Frederick moved with his family to Saint Martins at Long Ashton, Bristol. They had two children John Stuart Richardson who was a country doctor and amateur portrait artist and Patrick Horsfall Richardson who was tragically drowned when on a sailing expedition to the Azores along with several other Oxford Undergraduates in 1935.
In 1919, Frederick was elected as an Artist Member of the Bristol Savages Club. He became President in 1923. He exhibited prolifically at all the major venues including Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, the Royal Society of Bristol Artists, the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolors, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolors, the Royal Hibernian Academy, the Royal West of England Academy, and the Royal Academy London. One of his watercolors is in the permanent collections of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston.
He was elected a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolors in 1893, a member of the Institute of Painters in Watercolor in 1897, a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 1901, and the Royal West of England Academy in 1920. He normally signed his paintings F. S. Richardson or with the initials FSR, but left many unsigned. He painted to within a few days of his death which occurred on the 22nd April, 1934, at the age of seventy-eight.
David H.S. Richardson
Biography based on family records and that of the archives of the Bristol Savages.
Submitted by the author