The son of a yeoman farmer, Harry Fidler was born at Teffont Magna, Tisbury in Wiltshire. He was the ninth of ten children of William Fidler (1807-1877) and his wife Jane nee Humby (1814-1882) who married at Dinton St Mary Church, Wiltshire, in 1839.
The artist's early years were spent in farming, an upbringing which had a marked influence on the subjects he would later paint. Three of his siblings - Fanny, Lucy and Gideon - also displayed artistic talents, yet Fidler was well into his thirties before attending Herkomer's School at Bushey in 1891 for a couple of years.
He returned to Bushey in 1898 where he met and married another student, Laura Clunas, settling initially in Salisbury (possibly studying further at the Salisbury Art College), with Harry leasing an old Methodist Chapel in Teffont Magna, Wiltshire as his studio. The Fidlers visited St Ives on a number of occasions, first being signed-in as guests in the St Ives Art Club in 1907.
They appear to have joined the Arts Club for a period, but eventually settled at Andover, which remained their permanent home. A figure, rustic and domestic painter, the artist used oil on canvas, with at least eight of his RA exhibits being six foot canvases. Unfortunately the canvases were of an often inferior type (burlap or potato sacking) with little or no ground, which has meant that many of his pictures have often needed restoration. His earlier work was signed with the monograms 'Fid' or 'Hfid'.
A recent correspondent, and family member writes (2012) 'I can confirm that there is a strong connection between Harry and St Ives - I once owned a painting called Waiting for Herring, St Ives and have seen numerous paintings of similar beach and fishing scenes.'
Painter of figures, rustic genre and domestic subjects
works and access
Likenesses of the Artist: A portrait of Fidler was exhibited by his wife Laura (RA 1930)
Works include: Herring (1920); The Binder (1932); St Ives Fruit Cart; Energy (1935); Crossing the ford
Access to work: Blackpool; Northampton; Oldham; Rochdale; Hobart; Nelson; Timaru Wanganui, New Zealand
RA 1932, 1935
RBA Spring 1920; Chicago (Joint show with William Lee-Hankey)
STISA 1934 Touring Show
Grundy Art Gallery, South Africa
Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall (p325)
Johnson & Greutzner (1975) Dictionary of British Artists
Tovey (2003) Creating a Splash;
Who's Who in Art 1929
Whybrow (1994) St Ives (1911-20 list)
St Ives Times 30 Apr 1920 [from WMN]