Exhibition: Maurice Barnes

An exhibition of paintings from the collections of Newport Museum and Art Gallery, celebrating the work of a talented but often overlooked Newport artist.

Maurice Barnes (1911 -1971) grew up in Maindee before moving to Risca Road, near the Church of St. John the Baptist. Apart from five years in the army during the Second World War, Maurice spent his entire life in Newport. Day-to-day, Maurice worked as a railway clerk at Newport Station, where he met his wife, Peggy. He was devoutly Anglican and worshipped at St Woolos Cathedral, where he became a church warden. A talented artist, Maurice was an Associate of the British Watercolour Society and exhibited at the Royal Academy. He founded the Newport and Monmouthshire Arts and Crafts Society; becoming its first Chairman. Maurice was influenced by William Arthur Watkins who taught him to paint watercolours at speed; admired Wilson Steer's ability to simplify subjects and was inspired by John Piper's use of colour and light. The latter can be seen in Maurice's effective use of bright primary colours and shadow.

His portfolio includes subjects from streets in Paris, to less conventional fantasy scenes. However, his greatest body of work concentrated on Gwent. Maurice was particularly keen on capturing moments of change. For example, he painted the demolition of Newport's Dock Street Museum in 1967 and the chancel extension of St Woolos Cathedral in 1962. He leaves a valuable legacy of both timeless landscapes and rapidly changing townscapes.

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Newport Museum & Art Gallery

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