Algernon Newton was born in 1880 in London. He initially enrolled at Clare College, Cambridge in 1989 but abandoned his academic studies in order to study art in London, first at the Calderon School of Animal Painting and later the London School of Art, Kensington. Newton served in the Army during the First World War, but was invalided out and returned to England in 1916. Though Newton was as a consequence able to concentrate on painting full time, the following years were difficult for the artist who is said to have sold his distinctive urban studies of London on street corners during the lowest point of his career. However, Newton’s great artistic skill and perseverance encouraged the artist to grow steadily in public perception during the 1920s. The artist first exhibited with the Royal Academy in 1923.
Despite his natural talent Newton avoided succumbing to commercial artistic themes of the picturesque, choosing to portray glimpses of authentic London life which were often at odds with the popular public interest throughout the 1920s and 1930s. His dedication to accurately depicting the geometric shapes of buildings and their subsequent shadows with one-point perspective created scenes which, although not necessarily appreciated when first produced, exhibit a timeless sense of clarity. Newton’s first solo exhibition was held at the Leicester Galleries in 1931. His distinctive oeuvre steadily developed in the following years to include more pastoral scenes, which still maintained almost ethereal lighting and meticulous attention to detail. He was elected Associate of the Royal Academy in 1936 and later became a full Academician in 1943. Newton continued to paint late in to his life. His work is represented in a number of collections throughout Britain.