F. J. Widgery and Herbert William Hicks
The son of William Widgery, who had made a name for himself as a self taught artist, Frederick John Widgery not only became an artist of some repute, but he became a prominent and active councillor and Mayor of Exeter. Born in May 1861, he attended the Exeter Cathedral School where he showed his father's aptitude for art. As a painter, Widgery enjoyed considerable success, and is best remembered for his watercolours of Dartmoor, Exmoor and the Devon coastline. Widgery supplied the Samuel Coombs Gallery in London with many gouche watercolours. His reputation spread to America, Australia and other places overseas, and even now, there is a healthy trade for his paintings. He had six paintings exhibited at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, five at the Royal Academy and three at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. A watercolour of Dartmoor, painted in 1925 was used by the GWR as a poster entitled, 'Glorious Devon'.
After a full life devoted to painting and public service, F J Widgery spent his last months in a nursing home, and died on 27th January 1942 at the age of 81.
Herbert William Hicks is known for his work as a painter in watercolour and gouache of moorland and coastal scenes, who was born in Exeter in 1880. A self taught artists, 'Herbie' was a prolific painter of many West Contry views in a similar style to F.J. Widgery. Many of the subjects were local Devon views and were usually inscribed wth the loction on the reverse. Much of his work was sold through C. Samuel's Gallery, in Fore Street, Exeter. He was a friend of the Exeter artist, Frederick Parr and sometimes painted together in an attic studio.