Bertha Newcombe

Bertha Newcombe

1857 - 1947

Born in 1857 Clapton, Middlesex; Died 1947 (location not known)

Painter of figures, landscapes, portraits and flower subjects; also a feminist and member of the women’s campaign for suffrage.

Bertha Newcombe attended the Slade School of Art in 1876. It is believed that she was one of the first women artist to train at the school. Following her successful arts training, Newcombe was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy, Fine Art Society, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, and Society of Women Artists, among other esteemed exhibiting societies. In 1888 she became a member of the New English Art Club.

Newcombe was highly influenced by the artist Stanhope Forbes (1857-1947) and also by other artists associated with the Newlyn School. She was romantically involved with the playwright George Bernard Shaw and painted a series of portrait studies of him in her studio at 1 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, in the spring of 1882.

Newcombe was a strong advocate for women’s rights, in particular their right to suffrage. She became a member of The Society of Women Artists, The Society of Lady Artists and The Artists Suffrage League; a collective of female artists who produced artworks and posters for the ‘Votes for Women’ campaign.

The Southwark Art Collections holds a selection of her oil paintings, many of which received highly favourable reviews when they were first exhibited.

(Benjamin Angwin – October 2014)