Elizabeth Naydler

Founder of the Ashgate Gallery

Elizabeth Murray, gallery director: born Liverpool 3 March 1917; married Merton Naydler (died 1995; two sons, one daughter); died Oxford 6 August 2006.

In the early 1960s, Elizabeth Naydler opened the Ashgate Gallery at 19 South Street in Farnham, Surrey. The Ashgate was established with a board of trustees who administered the profits from sales to create prizes and scholarships, and for the purchase of paintings and sculpture for local and national museums. It was the first provincial gallery to show artists with an international reputation as well as supporting local talent.

From the beginning, Naydler put on one-man shows by a number of the best known artists of the period, such as John and Jean Bratby, Elisabeth Frink, Julian Trevelyan, Mary Fedden, Alistair Grant, Derrick Greaves, Sandra Blow, Peter Blake, Sonia Lawson and Willi Soukop, but she also had regular exhibitions of work by lesser-known artists - paintings and drawings by the staff of Farnham School of Art, for example, or one-man shows of young artists, one of whom, in 1961, was the writer of this article.

In July 1962, the gallery mounted an important and pioneering exhibition, "British Sculpture Today", with work by 23 leading sculptors, including Robert Adams, Ralph Brown, Anthony Caro, Lynn Chadwick, Elisabeth Frink, Henry Moore, Gertude Hermes, Barbara Hepworth and F.E. McWilliam; this was partly in the open air, in the grounds of the Bush Hotel, and partly in the gallery.

An exhibition of 74 works in a provincial town was a novelty at the period. Philip James, then chairman of the Arts Council, wrote in his foreword to the catalogue: "Exhibitions of sculpture in the open air are in this country a comparitively recent innovation" and further remarked that "exhibitions of this kind should not only give great pleasure and instruction to visitors but they should be an incentive to local authorities to exercise their responsibilities as patrons".

The gallery's enlightened policy was developed until Naydler moved it to larger and more attractive premises in a 17th-century brick-and-timber building in Wagon Yard. The New Ashgate Gallery continues there to this day, having built up an enduring national reputation as a major British gallery, and still providing the same focus of artistic activity and patronage; Elizabeth Naydler retired in 1975, and Elfriede Windsor took over as director; today the New Ashgate is under the direction of Joanne Barber.

Elizabeth was born in 1917 in Liverpool, daughter of Robert Murray, a Scottish doctor who had pioneered surgical treatment for cleft lip and palate. She went to school at Cheltenham Ladies College, and joined the WRAF during the Second World War, navigating Mosquito aircraft. She met her future husband Merton Naydler on a troop ship returning from Bombay. He became a solicitor with offices in Farnham, although by the Sixties he was mainly working in London, where many of his clients were artists (including David Hockney). It was in a modest suite of small rooms above his offices that the Ashgate Gallery was founded.

Elizabeth Naydler was a charming and kindly person, with a confident, humorous manner, and a constantly open mind to encourage young artists. She was a straightforward and efficient gallery director, with a definite idea of what she wanted, and with a warm enthusiasm for the works of art she showed. The Naydlers also together formed their own splendid collection of works of contemporary art.

Alan Windsor


Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
videoWatch Lynda Bellingham's tragic final Loose Women appearance
Arts and Entertainment
The last great picture - Winner 'Black and White' and overall 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage

Arts and Entertainment
High notes, flat performance: Jake Bugg

Review: Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat

The Putin automaton will go on sale next month in Germany
videoMusical Putin toy showing him annexing Crimea could sell for millions

Powerful images of strays taken moments before being put down

Arts and Entertainment
S Club 7 pose for Children in Need 2001
Arts and Entertainment
'Right Here' singer Jess Glynne is nominated for Best Newcomer at the MOBO Awards 2014
musicExclusive: Jess Glynne hits out at 'ridiculous' criticism of white artists nominated for Mobo Awards
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Brand has written a book of political analysis called Revolution

Review: Witty banalities aside, the comedian has an authentic voice

Arts and Entertainment
Separated at birth? Frank Sivero (left) claims The Simpsons based Mafia character Louie on his Goodfellas character
arts + entsFrank Sivero sues Simpsons studio over allegedly basing mobster character on Frank Carbone
Carl Bernstein (left) and Bob Woodward (right) with former 'Washington Post' executive editor Ben Bradlee

The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Deputy Head of Science

£36000 - £60000 per annum: Randstad Education Southampton: Our client are a we...

IT Teacher

£22000 - £32000 per annum + TLR: Randstad Education Southampton: Our client is...

Database Administrator

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: The role could involve w...

Science Teacher

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified secondary s...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London