Fripp, George Arthur (DNB01)

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FRIPP, GEORGE ARTHUR (1813–1896), water-colour artist, born at Bristol in 1813, was the son of the Rev. S. C. Fripp, who married a daughter of Nicholas Pocock [q. v.], a leading artist in Bristol, and one of the founders of the Old Watercolour Society in 1804. Fripp learned the rudiments of oil painting from J. B. Pyne [q. v.], but his real master was Samuel Jackson (1794-1869) [q. v.], the father of the Bristol school. For some years he worked at portraits in oils at Bristol, and in 1834 he passed seven months in Italy with his friend William John Müller [q. v.] On his return in 1835 he contributed to the picture gallery at Bristol. His London career began at the Old Watercolour Society's gallery in 1837, with a drawing of Lake Walenstadt; he moved to London in the following year, and in 1841 was elected an associate of the Old Society. In 1838 and 1841 he contributed oil paintings to the Royal Academy and British Institution, and Turner sent him a message highly praising the powerful ‘Mont Blanc, from near Courmayeux,’ a painting which Mr. Robinson of Liverpool presented to the corporation gallery of that city.

Fripp became a full member of the Old Society in 1845, and during the following fifty years sent nearly six hundred drawings to its exhibitions. Some of his works are commented on by Ruskin in his ‘Notes on some of the Principal Pictures in ... the Society of Painters in Watercolours’ for 1856, 1857, and 1858. From 1848 to 1854 Fripp was secretary of the society, a post which was held by his younger brother, Alfred D. Fripp (d. 1895), from 1870. In 1860 the queen commanded him to stay at Balmoral while he completed for the royal collection a series of drawings of the neighbourhood.

Fripp died on 17 Oct. 1896 at 50 Holmdale Road, N.W., after a long illness, and was buried on the 20th at Highgate, a few yards from George Eliot's grave. He married, in 1846, Mary Percival, and among his children were George Fripp, Charles E. Fripp, an associate of the Old Society, and the Rev. Edgar Fripp, minister at Mansfield.

Fripp was a good draughtsman, with great love for his art. Preferring tender and pure tints, he painted with quiet-toned pigments known to be permanent, and did not attempt to rival oil paints. The reverse of an impressionist, he fortunately had faithful patrons who supported him in his effort to carry on the early traditions of English water-colour art. Some good specimens of his work are in the Prescott Hewett bequest at South Kensington.

[Athenæum, 1896, ii. 569; Times, 19 and 21 Oct. 1896; Roget's History of the Old Water-colour Society, 1891.]

G. A. A.