Born in London, Barry was educated at Harrow School after his mother's death at the age of two. His father, Sir Edward Barry (2nd Bt) remarried soon after, leaving the young Barry to a series of relatives, tutors and doctors who left him in something of a muddle as to his health and relevance (though ultimately he would inherit the baronetcy). After two years at Harrow he had a nervous breakdown, but was not allowed to lodge at home where there was a new family. Art seemed to offer him the growth and direction he needed, and in 1900 he enrolled in classes at Bournemouth School of Art where he met the first of his two future wives, Doris HUME-SPRY.
Privately he studied with Sir Alfred EAST, whom he was to regard throughout his life as mentor and friend. East had previously studied and worked alongside Stanhope FORBES at Newlyn, and encouraged the young Francis to head to the area to gain inspiration and confidence. This met with parental approval, as the Newlyn reputation flourished. In 1906 his first paintings were accepted at the RA, and he joined the RBA. He also sent to the Royal Society of Scottish Artists and the Paris Salon in Paris, where his work was well received.
The following year (1908) at the age of 25 he married Doris, and the couple moved from Newlyn to St Ives. Three children, Kathleen (1909), Rupert (1910) and Sheila (1915) were born there. From 1910 he exhibited irregularly at the Paris Salon, showing 9 paintings in all, until 1939. In 1911 he exhibited at the NAG Winter show. In 1912 in St Ives he showed The Sunlit Harbour (St Ives) before sending it to the RA, and in 1913 he exhibited Windsor Castleand St Ives, the new town. From this time his style began to move from the narrative (Newlyn) style to landscape, and his interest in etching developed. Frank BRANGWYN was one of his tutors in 1916. On Show Days in St Ives he shared exhibiting studios with his wife who created highly-regarded needlework and textile art.
In 1922 Barry left his wife and family and travelled to France and Italy, concentrating on etching. His first marriage was dissolved in 1927, and he remarried, his second wife being Violet Gwendolyn Pretyman. He continued to exhibit at the Paris Salons, and merited Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals for etchings shown both in Italy and France. By 1939 he had returned to St Ives where he joined the St Ives Arts Club and took over Fred MILNER's studio at 2 Piazza (See Tovey 2009 p163, Fig.2.152 for a photo of FB in his Studio in 1945, with paintings). After the war (in which his etching plates left in Italy were destroyed in a bombing raid) and after holding his final exhibition in St Ives, he and his wife moved to Jersey. In 1946 he inherited the title of Third baronet.
Painter of landscapes in oils; printmaker and etcher, aquatints
works and access
Works include: Fishing Boats alongside at St Ives; Cornish Fishing Village St.Ives; Landscape with Oak Trees; Panoramic View of Windsor from Richmond Park; Spring landscape with shade Trees; Spring Morning; Windsor Forest; Blitz on St Paul's; Windsor Forest; Elizabeth Castle; Jersey Winter's Morning; Victory celebrations; Peace Celebrations, Moscow; Date Palms (1922)
Oils and etchings: St Ives; Windsor; Picardy & Italian Lakes Mar 1919; Summer Clouds; Snow Scene; Windsor Forest Mar (1920); Show Day; Armistice Night, Trafalgar Square; The Grand Fleet by Night Mar (1920); Giotto's Tower, Florence, Floodlit; The Bridge, Dulce Aqua
Works for London Galleries: The Grand Fleet on Peace-night; Monarchs of Windsor Forrest; L'isle bien heurense; Morning Light, St Ives; The Merry Woods of Windsor; Serenity at Night; Autumn Moonrise, Windsor; Nocturne; Trencrom; Sunlit Road in Picardy; Windsor; (aquatint, Royal Albert Institute of Windsor Dec 1913); The Hills of Home
Access to Work: Swindon Museum and Art Gallery; Manchester Public collections; Swindon Societe Jeriaise.
Cornwall: Engine House, at RCM
RA May 1919; 1920; RBA, NEAC
Berni Gallery, Jersey London and War Time Dec 2003
Paintings and prints, St Ives Mar 1911
Piazza Studios, St Ives
Lanhams, 31 Aug - 7 Sep 1918; 1919; 1920
St. Leonard's Studio, Porthmeor
Market Hall, Penzance 28 Apr - 5 Mar 1917
Great Exhibition and Sale of Work Plymouth Art Gallery 1917
2011: A Master Revealed, A retrospective exhibition of the work of Sir Claude Francis Barry, RCM, Truro
Buckman (2006) Dictionary of Artists in Britain since 1945
Green (2002) Posing the Model;
Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall; p 313;
Johnson & Gruetzner (1975) Dictionary of British Artists
The Grand Fleet by Searchlight (c1919) in Naval and Military Record, Feb 1920
Public Catalogue Foundation (2007) Cornwall & Isles of Scilly: Oil Paintings in Public Collections
Tovey (2000) GF Bradshaw & STISA (Appendix 3: Principal Members of STISA 1927-1960); (2003) Creating a Splash; (2009) St Ives: Social History (illus); (2010) Sea Change (Section 3.7)
Whybrow (1994) St Ives (1994) (1911-20 list pp 216-8)