WTB Fletcher - 1858 - 1936
Born to a solidly middle-class family in Hampstead, London, Fletcher battled parental opposition to train as an artist, enrolling in the South Kensington School of Art at the age of 16. During his four years there, he made a trip to Brittany, where artists such as Stanhope Forbes, who were rejecting the British studio painting tradition in favour of European 'plein air' realism. Their inspiration led him to continue his studies in Antwerp, where he met further future Newlyners Frank Bramley and Fred Hall.
After a further visit to Brittany, in 1885 he joined his friend Stanhope Forbes in Newlyn, where the now famous art colony was establishing itself. For some reason, however, Fletcher felt Newlyn lacked subjects that appealed to him to paint and despite the fact that Forbes and Albert Chevallier Tayler made expeditions to find suitable subjects for him, within a year he stopped trying and he and Tayler both went off to find ‘fresh fields and pastures new’.
Although Fletcher remained friendly with many of the Newlyn School artists and adhered to their ethos of plein air realism throughout his career, he did not return to live in Cornwall and died in Oxfordshire in 1936.