Cornwall Museum Revives Forgotten British Modern Master Artist-

The Royal Museum of Cornwall will hold a major retrospective of the work of the forgotten British Post-Impressionist painter Sir Claude Francis Barry (1883-1970) from the 5th of February to the 4th of June 2011. ‘A Master Revealed: A retrospective of the work of Sir Claude Francis Barry’ brings together an exciting and intriguing range of works that represent the eclectic artistic journey of a passionate and talented British modern master artist whose life story is as intriguing as his art.

Described by Simon de Burton in the Financial Times as “a contender for the title of greatest artist you’ve never heard of”, Sir Claude Francis Barry is about to receive the long overdue recognition that he truly deserves – most aptly from a museum in the county where he began his artistic career.

Although he received many awards for his work and participated in many prestigious exhibitions in England and abroad, because Barry had no financial need to sell his work his talent remained relatively unknown except to those within his art establishment circles – and a few wealthy patrons including Queen Mary, Neville Chamberlain and Mussolini.

claude francis barry 1 Cornwall Museum Revives Forgotten British Modern Master Artist

Being born into a wealthy industrialist family gave Barry the freedom to essentially indulge in his passion for art and travel the world experimenting with different mediums and styles, without having to worry about earning a living from his craft.

Having begun his training first as a realist painter in the Cornish town of Newlyn under the tutelage of the great Alfred East, Barry went on to produce work in an amazingly diverse range of styles including realism, pointillism, vorticism and minimalism.  The number of different styles that Barry managed to conquer is testament to the extraordinary talent and skill that he possessed.

As well as producing work in a diverse range of styles, Barry also experimented with a wide and varied range of subject matter.  From extraordinarily moody pointillist landscapes to playfully colourful yet risqué nudes, the scope of Barry’s talent seems to be endless.  Even more amazing is the fact that Barry was also an extremely accomplished etcher – a skill that won him several major international awards.

On Thursday, March 10 from 1pm to 2pm, BBC Antiques Roadshow contributor and renowned fine art and antiques specialist Michael Newman will be giving a talk about Barry in the exhibition. Entry is free but pre-booking is advised as places are limited.

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or contact Nic Forrest via email at

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications

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  • Kate Hall

    I see this story as representing a significant role that museums must play in preserving and promoting the artistic culture that is so rich here in the UK.

    With so much heritage languishing in storage, I would encourage curators and museum directors to look long and hard at revitalising their presentations with more of the retrospective approach and to engage in the dialogue of the relevance of British Art.

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