Sydney Curnow VOSPER

Sydney Curnow VOSPER RWS
Curnow Vosper

NEW BIOGRAPHY NOW AVAILABLE (See details below) Curnow Vosper was born in East Stonehouse, Plymouth, the sixth in a family of eight children of Cornish parents. His father, Samuel was born in Egloskerry and was a brewer who ran a wine and spirits business in East Stonehouse, and his mother Eleanor Halse was born at Gwennap, nr Redruth.  Researcher J Goodman notes that 'he claimed to remain always proud of his Cornish roots.'

He attended King's School, Taunton and Plymouth College before reluctantly doing a 3-year architect's apprenticeship in Plymouth. He then moved to Paris for artistic training at Academie Colarossi, and began earning as an illustrator, mainly in London. In 1902 he married Constance James of Merthyr Tydfil, and they had two sons prior to her tragically young death in 1910.

He spent most of his life in London and in the West country, especially Devon, though the greater part of his known output of watercolours, etchings and drawings relates to Brittany and some to Wales.

Johnson & Greutzner list his attendance at Colarossi's Atelier in Paris, and then give the following locations for his sending-in addresses: Morbihan, France (1904); London (1905 & 1930); Okehampton, Devon (1910); Petersfield, Hampshire (1911 & 1926); Bude, Cornwall (1914); Plymouth (1925); and Oxford (1928). He exhibited widely, with at least 186 works shown at the RWS. Though no Cornish works appear to be in public collections, a watercolour entitled On the Coast of North Cornwall, that was shown at the RWS, London in 1935 is known to have been in family ownership ever since its exhibition.

The article about Vosper that was written for the Lever Collection at Liverpool, was authored by Chevallier TAYLER, who was, of course, part of the Newlyn Colony.


Watercolours, etchings and drawings

works and access

Access to work: Cyfarthfa Castle Museum, Merthyr Tydfil; National Museum of Wales , Cardiff; RAM Museum, Exeter; Lady Lever Museum: Liverpool (Salem)


B, CHE, L, M, RA, RI, RWE (Bristol), RSW, RWS (186), WG

French Artists' Salon Paris

2001 Retrospective (One man), Musee dy Faouet, Brittany (with illustrated catalogue and biography)

2002 Smaller showing of retrospective, Cyfarthfa Castle Museum, Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales



Chelsea Arts Club (from 1908-for life)

misc further info

WCAA file with more extensive information about his life and work further afield, provided by J Goodman (2011) and gratefully received. Now a new book (2015) has emerged as listed in references above. It can be ordered through bookshops, online, and directly through Y Lolfa publishers (


Jolyon Goodman (2015) Curnow Vosper, His Life and Works, Y Lolfa Publishers

Johnson & Greutzner

Biography & catalogue, Musee du Faouet, Brittany (2001)