The Cyril Fry Collection of Material Relating to John Julius Angerstein
Archive reference number
Manuscript and graphic material by and relating to John Julius Angerstein, his family and circle (1770s-1870s), one portrait miniature, photographic reproductions of family portraits and Old Master paintings owned by Angerstein, correspondence, research notes and publications relating to the Angerstein family and Woodlands (20th century).
John Julius Angerstein (1735-1823), financier and philanthropist, was born in St Petersburg in 1735 to a German family who had settled in Russia; he emigrated to England in about 1749. He acquired his wealth as a marine insurance underwriter and broker, and was a member of Lloyd's of London. He was also a founder member of the British Institution.
Angerstein amassed a major collection of mainly sixteenth- and seventeenth-century paintings, which came on to the market after his death in 1823. In the following year money was granted by the British government for their purchase and preservation. These 38 pictures, which were kept at 100 Pall Mall, Angerstein's town house, formed the nucleus of the new National Gallery Collection.
Cyril George Fry was born in Forest Gate, east London, on 27 May 1918, the son of John and Isabel Louisa Fry, both of whom were profoundly deaf. Following an 18-year career as a specialist teacher of deaf children at schools in Old Street and Greenwich, he set up as a dealer in drawings and watercolours, initially from his Westminster flat and later his house in Blackheath. In 1967 he established with his wife Shirley, whom he had married in 1948, a gallery at 58 Jermyn Street from where they traded for 21 years (notable clients included Paul Mellon and Leonard Duke) until the lease ended, upon which they transferred the business to Aldeburgh, where they had opened a second gallery in 1972.
After moving to Blackheath, Fry pursued an interest in local history, particularly John Julius Angerstein, whose Georgian country villa 'Woodlands' was nearby, collecting materials by and relating to Angerstein, researching the family and its interrelations with the Locks of Norbury Park. He published an article 'The Angersteins of Woodlands' in the Transactions of the Greenwich and Lewisham Antiquarian Society in 1966 (this was based on a lecture that Fry had delivered to the Society in 1962); persuaded the London Borough of Greenwich to purchase Woodlands for use as a Local History Library and Art Gallery in 1967; and lent original material to the exhibition 'John Julius Angerstein and Woodlands', which opened at the Woodlands Art Gallery in 1974, providing an introduction to the catalogue which drew heavily on his earlier published research.
Cyril Fry died on 10 November 2010. On the death of Shirley Fry in 2021, the Fry collection of drawings was sold at Sotheby's and Chiswick Auctions in 2021.
Donated by the executors of Shirley Fry, May 2022
National Gallery Archive, NG24/1971/8 and NG24/1972/11 Press cuttings Records of the Angerstein family of Woodlands, Blackheath, are at London Metropolitan Archives; John Julius Angerstein's correspondence with Thomas Lawrence is at the Royal Academy of Arts