Bennett, Frank Moss (1874-1952)

Bennett, Frank Moss (1874-1952)

Frank Moss Bennett was a distinguished painter of portraits, architecture and genre scenes. Admired for his meticulous attention to detail, his works depicting figures in costume are particularly exquisite and underpinned by acute draughtsmanship.

Born in Liverpool, the son of an iron founder, his formal artistic education led him first to the prestigious Slade School of Fine Art in London. Henry Tonks and Philip Wilson Steer were tutors and taught some of the finest emerging talent of the period. From here, after a short spell at St John's Wood Art School, he enrolled at the Royal Academy Schools.

Within three years, he’d debuted at the Royal Academy, the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and been awarded a medal with a travel scholarship. This accolade paid for a lengthy trip to Italy with his friend Edward Francis Wells, where he visited Florence, Sienna, Brescia, Ravena, Viterbo and Rome.

Over the course of his career, Bennett amassed a substantial collection of antiques and period costumes, in an effort to paint a convincing version of the past. He often used his cellar to build furniture for a specific requirement. The interiors were also sketched from life, inspired by numerous sites across the British Isles, with the Tudor and Elizabethan periods a particular fascination. Some of his popular haunts included Knole House in Kent, Owlpen Manor in Gloucestershire, and Sulgrave Manor in Northamptonshire.

His sketchbook was then referenced when producing a detailed work in his studio - with additional furnishings added, often from his own collection. The models were anyone willing - neighbours, friends, and family. It’s said that if you knew him for long enough, you’d be dressed up for a sitting.

Aside from his scenes, Bennet also produced numerous posthumous portraits depicting soldiers lost during World War I. Families sought solace via these poignant commissions, which aided the grieving process while also serving as a sign of respect.

Frank Moss Bennett is represented in numerous public collections including at the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and various National Trust estates.

Thanks to Maureen Elizabeth Son for her extensive biography - Frank Moss Bennett (The Forgotten Artist).


Paris Salon, Royal Academy, Royal Institute of Water-Colours, Rembrandt Gallery in London.

Public Collections

National Portrait Gallery, Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, National Trust (Knole, Mount Stewart, Shugborough Hall, Montacute House, Lavenham Guildhall and Kedleston Hall), Barts Health NHS Trust Archives and Museum, University of Cambridge, Government Art Collection, Grundy Art Gallery, Staffordshire County Buildings, Sutton Central Library.



Born in Liverpool to Henry Mellor Bennett, an iron founder, and Kate Bennett (neeStuart). A member of Kate’s family fought in the Battle of Trafalgar.

Studied at Clifton College in Bristol.


Studied at the Slade School of Fine Art. Trained initially as a portraitist.

Studied at St John's Wood Art School.


Studied at the Royal Academy Schools in London.


Debuted at the Royal Academy where he continued to exhibit until 1928.


Debuted at the Liverpool Art Gallery where he continued to exhibit until 1932.
Awarded a medal and travel scholarship at the Royal Academy Schools for ‘The Greek Runner Ladas Falling Dead as he Goes to Receive his Crown at Olympia.’ As reported in The Scotsman.

“The success of Mr Frank Moss Bennett is a conspicuous one. Pictorial grouping, in effective design, in ideal freshness, his picture is easily first. Ladas stands before the judges, draped gracefully with gold; he staggers back, pressing his hand on his heart, his face pallid and contrasting with the virile glow of his body, and consternation has seized the spectators. The colour is as good as the dramatic accent of the picture, and not for some years has a more promising medallist been found.”

C. 1900

Undertook a study trip to Italy with his friend Edward Francis Wells. Visited Florence, Sienna, Brescia, Ravena, Viterbo and Rome.


Undertook a study trip to Naples, Capri, Sorrento and the Amalfi coast.
Lived in Croydon, Surrey with his parents, brother and servants.


Married Margaret Alma Pellew in Easthampstead, Berkshire.
Lived in London.


Lived in Victoria, London.


Shown at the Paris Salon.


Began painting numerous posthumous portraits for the families of those lost during World War I.


Donated two miniatures to Queen Mary for her doll’s house.


Moved to the 330 acre Whetcombe Barton farm in Newton Abbot, Devon.


Died in Newton Abbot, Devon.

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