Francis Wright BOURDILLON

Francis Wright BOURDILLON
aka Frank and called 'Dilla'

Born 1851 at Madras, Tamil Nadu, the son of a British civil servant, Frank studied at the Slade School of Art when age 31 and then spent a year in Paris (1983-84).   He moved to Cornwall (Polperro) in 1886 and came to Newlyn in 1887, remaining until 1892. Henry Meynell RHEAM was to make the same transition a year or two later. In 1889 Frank lived at Belle Vue House with Mrs Maddern, in the same house as Stanhope FORBES, and became a particular friend of Norman GARSTIN whose work he greatly admired. 

The 1891 Census lists 'F Bosendillon' [sic] as living at 35 Paul Hill with Mrs Roberts.  Lodging in the same house were Mary and William D FROSTEAGUE, the latter an artist painter from Birmingham. Bourdillon painted romantic Elizabethan seascapes, also landscapes and figures, and liked to paint models in period costumes en plein air.

He decided to leave art and painting in 1892 to become a CMS Missionary in Burdwan, India (1896-1901), where he married a fellow missionary, Kathleen Edwards. Due to ill health, they returned to England, and Frank took up a curacy in Ramsgate before becoming the Rector of Horton, Gloucestershire (1914-1923).  Bourdillon died on 18 February, 1924, aged 72, at Little Sodbury, nr Chipping Sodbury, south Gloucestershire (GRO).  

The whereabouts of his collection of letters, which show him to have been generous and concerned for his fellow artists [as reported in Fox & Greenacre], are unaccounted for, and are unfortunately not lodged in the WCAA.


Painter of landscapes, seascapes and figures in oils

works and access

Works include: Across the Beach (1887);  Jubilee Hat (1887) at Penlee House, Penzance;  A Wandering Minstrel; From a Newlyn Studio



Dowdeswells and Nottingham

Grosvenor Gallery 1881-82

NAG March 1889


NEAC from 1888


Bednar Every Corner was a Picture;


Census 1891;

Cross (1984) The Shining Sands (illus, pp 72-3);

Graves British Artists 1880-1940;

Graves RA Dictionary 1769-1904;

Green (1995) Artists at Home;

Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall (illus,bibl) col pl: The Jubilee Hat

Johnson & Greutzner (1975) Dictionary of British Artists;

Fox and Greenacre (1979) Painting in Newlyn;

Newton et al (2005) Painting at the Edge;

Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF) Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly: Oil Paintings in Public Ownership

Pryke Norman Garstin

C Wood (1995) Victorian Painters