Born 23rd February 1880 in Hampstead, Algernon Newton was the fourth son of Arthur Henry Newton, Managing director of Winsor & Newton Limited, and Georgiana Tregonning Newton (née Nicholls), whose family lived at Hayle in Cornwall and owned Wheal Alfred Mine. Newton was the grandson of the artist and businessman, Henry Charles Newton, one of the founders of Winsor & Newton, the celebrated firm of artists’ materials.
From the age of nine, Newton had a very unhappy time at Farnborough School before receiving private tuition to enter Clare College, Cambridge in 1899. He left without a degree the following year to train at Frank Calderon’s School of Animal Painting in London. As early as 1903, Newton had his painting, The Arab ‘Rebab’, accepted and hung “on the line” at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. After three years at Calderon’s School, Newton took classes at the Slade School of Art c. 1903-4 before continuing his studies at the London School of Art in Kensington c. 1906-7.
The artist married Marjorie Rider in 1903, with whom he had four children. After living in Dorset, the family moved frequently with brief periods in Buckinghamshire, Switzerland and British Columbia before Newton joined the Royal 1st Devon Yeomanry in 1916. Later that year he was invalided out of the army, having suffered double pneumonia and returned to his family in Cornwall, where he had built a house, Bodriggy, in Lamorna where they were living amongst the community of artists who had settled there which included Laura and Harold Knight, Alfred Munnings and Lamorna Birch. His horror of war and his strong pacifist feelings influenced his work throughout his life. In 1918 the family moved to Theale, Berkshire, before Newton left home to make a new life in London with Emily Richards (known as Janetta), who would become his second wife following his divorce in 1921.
Following his early success at the Royal Academy of 1903, Newton exhibited there regularly from 1924. He was elected an Associate RA in 1936 and a full member in 1943. A retrospective of his work was held at the Royal Academy in 1980. Newton’s first one-man show was held at the Eldar Gallery in 1920, though he went on to exhibit with the Leicester Galleries in 1931, 1933 and 1951.
The work of Algernon Newton is represented in the public collections of City of Birmingham Art Gallery; Brighton Corporation Art Gallery; Bristol Museum & Art Gallery; Buxton Museum & Art Gallery; Claire College, University of Cambridge; Beecroft Art Gallery, Essex; Glasgow Museums Resource Centre; Ferens Art Gallery, Hull; Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; the Royal Academy of Arts, Tate Britain, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Government Art Collection, London; Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery; Buxton Art Gallery; Lady Lever Art Gallery; Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston; Touchstones, Rochdale; Pannett Art Gallery, Whitby; National Trust, Wimpole Hall and Anglesey Abbey; National Gallery of Victoria; National Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg Art Gallery; Minneapolis Institute of Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.