Archives & Library

Archive Collections

The Centre holds and provides access to archive material relating to the study of British art and architectural history. The collections contain the research papers of art historians, museum directors and curators; dealers; art critics, collectors and other individuals working in the field of art history.

The Fry Gallery

Nine boxes. This collection has not yet been catalogued but a boxlist is available. (Ref FRY)

The archive comprises material created and collected by Cyril and Shirley Fry in relation to the management of the Fry Gallery. Much of the material relates specifically to the day-to-day running of the gallery and includes: stock books; research notes; photographs and images of works of art sold by the gallery; sale catalogues annotated with details of price and buyer; and correspondence with customers – including private individuals, galleries and museums. There are also files concerning Leonard Gordon Duke, a collector of drawings and close friend of Fry. Amongst other material these files contain both inventories and valuations of Duke’s collection. The archive also holds items which reflect Fry’s keen interest in the Slade School of Art, in particular images of, and research on, artists and teachers at the Slade at around the turn of the nineteenth century.

The Fry Gallery, originally located in Jermyn Street (1967–1986) but also operating during the music festivals in Aldeburgh, Suffolk (1972–ca.1990s), specialised in collecting and dealing in eighteenth and nineteenth-century British watercolours and drawings, including in particular works by Gainsborough, Peter De Wint, Turner, and William Henry Hunt. Two of the gallery’s greatest advocates were Leonard Gordon Duke and Paul Mellon.

Before opening the Fry Gallery in December 1967, Cyril Fry (1918–2010) worked as a specialised teacher for deaf children whilst also collecting and selling artwork from the workshop at his home in Blackheath; through his collecting he became friends with many prominent figures from the British art scene of the time, including Dudley Snelgrove, Leonard Gordon Duke, Edward Croft-Murray and Paul Mellon.

Water colour painting of an office with several artworks hung on the walls

Fry Gallery at Jermyn Street, Maurice Sheppard