Nowell, Arthur Trevethin

Artist, born at Garndiffath, near Pontypool, the youngest of six children born to the Rev. John Nowell (e.m. 1845; died 1911) and his wife Mary. His older brother William died while at Kingswood School, so he was educated at Dudley and Bury Grammar Schools. He attended the Manchester School of Art and was the first pupil from any of the provincial art schools to gain admission to the Royal Academy Schools, where he won the Turner Prize, a Gold Medal and a travelling scholarship, enabling him to study in Paris and visit Venice. He was guided and encouraged by Waterhouse, Burne-Jones and Watts, among others. He had a particular aptitude for portrait painting, his first commission, at the age of 17, being the Rev. Charles Garrett. Many commissions followed his painting of William C. Jackson, then Governor of Didsbury College. He observed in 1926, 'I suppose I may claim to have painted more Wesleyans, ministerial and lay, than any living artist.' Sir George Hayter Chubb commissioned a portrait of himself for The Leys School (along with those of two of the headmasters, W.T.A. Barber and Harry Bisseker) and this led to his painting King George V for the school. Another portrait of the King, together with portraits of Queen Mary, T.R. Ferens and Chubb himself are at Farringtons School.

Among other WM sitters were: Gipsy Smith (at Wesley's Chapel), Luke H. Wiseman (at Westminster Central Hall) and Mrs.Caroline Wiseman (at Oxford Brookes University); also W. Burt Pope, Henry J. Pope, Ebenezer E. Jenkins, Marsahll Randles, T.B. *Stephenson, G.G. *Findlay, F. Luke *Wiseman (the artist's brother-in-law), Samuel F. Collier and Sir Kingsley Wood. Many of his portraits were exhibited at the RA. Particularly in his early years he also painted classical (mostly literary) subjects and watercolour landscapes. One of his best known paintings, 'The Expulsion of Adam and Eve' (1897), is in the Walker Gallery, Liverpool. He was a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters from 1903 until his resignation in 1908, of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours from 1913, and of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters from 1914. He died at Wilmslow on 6 January 1940.

  • Christopher Mosley, Arthur Trevethin Nowell: the Nonconformist Painter (2014)
  • Methodist Recorder, 2 May 2014