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Somerset’s history comes alive in new art exhibition

PUBLISHED: 12:34 04 August 2016 | UPDATED: 12:41 04 August 2016

Creech St.Michael papermill from the canal tow-path by Harry Frier

Creech St.Michael papermill from the canal tow-path by Harry Frier

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Over the coming months you can see the Somerset lived in by our forefathers through paintings which record life in the late 19th century

The exhibition features several scenes of Taunton including Tone Bridge painted by Harry Frier in 1908,  taken from a drawing in 1892The exhibition features several scenes of Taunton including Tone Bridge painted by Harry Frier in 1908, taken from a drawing in 1892

The delicate watercolours of Harry Frier have preserved moments in Somerset’s history which are lost to us.

They document life in and around Taunton during the late 1800s and early 1900s, so anyone with an interest in the county’s history will be fascinated by a current exhibition at The Museum of Somerset.

Curated from collections cared for by the South West Heritage Trust, the display features scenes of Taunton such as Tone Bridge, Fore Street, Church Square and Bath Place. Interestingly, the exhibition is in Taunton Castle (home to the museum), which Harry painted several times.

A painting of Taunton court (back of East Street) in 1892 by Harry FrierA painting of Taunton court (back of East Street) in 1892 by Harry Frier

Captured in Time: The Art of Harry Frier includes work belonging to Somerset County Council, Taunton Deane Borough Council and Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. It features more than 30 of the artist’s works.

There are scenes of the surrounding countryside in villages including Creech St Michael and Bishops Lydeard, and a depiction of the fire that destroyed Pollard’s timber yard in 1889.

Minehead sea front with beach huts by Harry Frier, 1901Minehead sea front with beach huts by Harry Frier, 1901

Captured in Time: The Art of Harry Frier runs until 22 October. Entry is free. museumofsomerset.org.uk

Who was Harry Frier?

Taunton  Castle, which was the subject of several of Harry Frier’s paintingsTaunton Castle, which was the subject of several of Harry Frier’s paintings

One of Somerset‘s best known artists, Harry Frier (1849–1921) moved to the county in 1883 with his Somerset-born wife Kate Dyer. He was a prolific worker and at least 600 of his paintings survive.

He relied on commissions to earn a living but with the rise of popular photography in the early 1900s sales of his work began to decline.

After Kate died in 1913 his health deteriorated and in 1917 he entered Taunton Workhouse. He died there in 1921, aged 71, and is buried in the churchyard at Creech St Michael.

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