Frederick Richard Lee, R. A.

Frederick Richard Lee

Eminent Victorian Artist

This portrait of F R Lee as a youngish man is in the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon and was displayed in our Exhibition there in May 2017.  The Museum has several paintings by Lee, including a large one that can be seen in the foyer, and a charming smaller landscape that was shown in our Exhibition. We were also able to display - thanks to the Athenaeum at Barnstaple Library - the painting below:

The lane to Pitt Farm, Raleigh, Pilton
The Lane to Pitt Farm, Raleigh, Pilton, by F R Lee, 1930

The painting above was discovered in recent years, and has been restored. Pitt Farm and Raleigh are on the opposite side of Pilton to Manning's Pit, and this painting was done before F R Lee moved to Pilton. Interestingly, when Benjamin Manning came to Devon from Tiverton, he first worked at a factory in the Raleigh area of Pilton.

A link to 58 of F R Lee's paintings in various locations:

F.R. Lee was born in Barbican House, near Trinity Church, Barnstaple, in 1798. His father was a successful architect, as was his older brother, Thomas, who designed Arlington House and the Barnstaple Guildhall among other buildings. Thomas was drowned while swimming at Mortehoe, and there is a tablet commemorating his death on the wall of St Anne's Chapel in Barnstaple.
In 1818 Lee became a student at the Royal Academy where he may have met WM Turner, whose family came from North Devon and whose uncle lived in Barnstaple (first in central Barnstaple but later in Littabourne, Pilton.) Lee was elected to the Royal Academy in 1838 and became a very successful and famous Victorian landscape artist. He did not like painting animals and because of this two other famous artists, Sir Edwin Landseer and Thomas SidneyCooper often collaborated with him.
Lee lived with his first wife Harriet in Kent, and they had a daughter Sarah Catherine, but after Harriet's death and his later remarriage, Lee moved back to Devon, and bought Broadgate House in Pilton in 1858. His second wife Mary died within eighteen months of their marriage, but Broadgate House remained the family home, and his daughter Sarah was to live there with her husband Col Hugh Hibbert for many years.
Lee's other passion in life was sailing, and he travelled extensively in his yachts, to places like Spain, and then in the 1870s he sailed in his yacht Linda to Australia and back.

Much of the information here comes from Margaret Reed's article, so for the full story of Lee's life, please look at the link below:

Frederick Richard Lee - his life, by Margaret Reed.

You can also find more information at the Wikipedia link below

Frederick Richard Lee - Wikipedia

Here is a link to a charming sketch of a "sunfish" by F R Lee, from 1857,
while he was on his yacht sailing from Algeria to Gibraltar

This sketch was made not long before Lee purchased Broadgate House.

Broadgate House
Broadgate House in Victorian times, with thanks to the Henry Williamson Society for allowing us to show this photograph. F R Lee's daughter Sarah was the grandmother of Henry Williamson's wife.

The above photograph shows Broadgate House from the front.
Below is a photograph taken in spring, 2017, looking across the road to the back of Broadgate House.. The photograph was taken on the pavement outside the house where the Munros (and the young Saki) lived. They were very close neighbours, and we have been told that the Hibberts and the Munros did indeed socialise.

Broadgate House, from across the road
                        outside the house where Saki lived.

Lee's Round the World Trip

Report from the North Devon Journal of 27 March 1873

Academician in Antipodes

 Report from the North Devon Journal of 31 July 1873

FR Lee's return from Australia

More information will be added to this page.