Fred Dubery: One of England's leading figurative artists of the 20th century

Fred Dubery was a painter and teacher whose exuberantly coloured canvases found a ready public. From the middle of the last century he developed as one of England's foremost figurative artists.

Dubery was elected to the New English Art Club in 1956, becoming an honorary member 40 years later. He was modest, popular and noted for his sly wit, in appearance rotund, bespectacled and jolly, with a distinctive shock of white hair. Although in 1886 the New English was founded in a spirit of rebellion against the restrictive outlook of the Royal Academy by leading painters such as John Lavery, John Singer Sargent and Philip Wilson Steer, by the time Dubery joined it was established in the London art scene. His landscapes, interiors, still lifes and portraits fitted in well with what the Club stood and continues to stand for.

Frederick Dubery was born in Thornton Heath in 1926, an onlychild but part of the large and close family of Frederic Dubery, a dentalmechanic, and his wife Gladys. Leaving Croydon's Whitgift Grammar School at 16, he worked for an advertising agency before conscription in 1944 into the Royal Artillery, where he was a mapmaker.

Although Fred's widow Joanne does not think he would have been discouraged by his parents in going to art school with an ex-serviceman's grant, she suspects they would have "felt trepidation" that he was entering the world of the "starving, penniless student" and the world of bohemia. After a year at Croydon School of Art (1949-50), Dubery studied from 1950-53 at the Royal College of Art, where Robin Darwin was early in his tenure as a reforming principal.

Like many artists, Dubery had to teach to live. It was at Walthamstow School of Art that in 1960 that he met Joanne Brogden, whom he was to marry five years later in Marseille. She would become Professor of Fashion at the Royal College of Art. Walthamstow in the early 1960s had a great reputation for its visiting staff, which at times included Peter Blake, Fred Cuming, Margaret Green, Derek Hirst, Ken Howard and Jack Smith.

Fred Cuming was a fellow New English Art Club member; he and Dubery were known as "the two Freds" and in the presence of one of them, friends would refer to "the other Fred". Dubery's painting from life The Other Fred's Cat was bought by Sir Christopher Frayling and his wife Helen.

For some artists teaching is a chore. Joanne Dubery says that Fred "loved teaching and helping guide and develop talent in the serious young student. But he only taught two days a week, in order to paint five days a week."

When in 1964 the Royal Academician Peter Greenham was appointed Keeper of the Royal Academy Schools to succeed Sir Henry Rushbury, he invited Dubery to be a visiting tutor. Some 20 years later Dubery became Professor of Perspective, a post he held until the compulsory retirement age of 75. Dubery was passionate about perspective and distilled much of what he knew into two books, written with John Willats: Drawing Systems (1972) and Perspective and other Drawing Systems (1983). Students at the Royal College of Art for some years also benefited from his teaching, where he was a part-time senior lecturer until 1989.

When not teaching, Dubery was as regular and disciplined a painter as the light allowed. "There was nothing bohemian and moody" about his approach to his work, Joanne Dubery says, which was "governed by a hard, quiet intelligence." A clean and scrupulous craftsman, he painted in a French apron with huge pockets full of paint tubes and grubby bits of paper try-outs for colour, on his head a floppy painter's hat.

Dubery has been called "a painter's painter". He was particularly proud of a comment by Jack Smith on one period of his output that it had "the stillness of a Vermeer". However, it was the intimacy of Bonnard and Vuillard that did much to influence his work, especially the quiet domestic interiors of which he was so fond.

Dubery exhibited widely, his mixed shows including the Royal Academy from 1950, the London Group and Hunting Prize Exhibition, and at commercial venues such as the Leicester Galleries, Roland, Browse and Delbanco, and Messums. After solo shows at the Trafford Gallery in 1957 and 1963, others included the New Grafton Gallery from 1974 and Sebastian Pearson Gallery, Cambridge, in 2000. Public galleries in Brighton and Huddersfield, the Nuffield Foundation, the Arts Club, Warburg Institute and Worcester College, Oxford, hold his work.

Frederick Thomas Stanley Dubery, painter and teacher: born Thornton Heath, Surrey 12 May 1926; married 1965 Joanne Brogden; died Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk 8 April 2011.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Sport
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture