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Helen Bradley

Helen Bradleys Lancashire

Helen Bradley's paintings enjoy a wide appeal, both to connoisseurs of twentieth-century naive art and people who simply enjoy a story illustrated in vibrant colours.

If you can imagine a combination of Kathleen Hale's Orlando books, which have an innocence totally free from whimsy, Daisy Ashford's ingeniousness in the The Young Visitors and Lowry's pictures of the industrial north, then Helen Bradley's painting has something of all these. In her nostalgic paintings, full of colour and incident, she is painting childhood as we should all have liked our childhood to be.
- The Times

Born in Lees, Lancashire in 1900, she began painting in earnest only in the 1960s but then produced a steady stream of work until her death in 1979. Through it, she weaves a beguiling tapestry of daily life in a small Lancashire mill town in the early 1900s, accompanied by brief narratives explaining the action.

Actual episodes and characters from her own childhood are skillfully interwoven with flights of pure fantasy, producing a unique blend of reality and fiction: the hallmark of a true artist. The charm of her work lies in her ability to capture the essence of a time when children were seen and not heard, but nevertheless noticed everything that was going on. Helen paints this world as it was seen through a child's eyes and a careful observer can usually spot the youthful Helen lurking in the pictures.

Her paintings fetch well into the five figures and there is a thriving market in prints of her work. Helen Bradley's homely view of domestic life in Edwardian times, accompanied by brief narratives explaining the action, also appeared in four illustrated books in the 1970s. These have long been out of print and are eagerly sought by collectors.

Using over 100 pictures, Helen Bradley's Lancashire looks at the life of the artist, beginning with the inspiration she gained from her childhood, through to its culmination on paper and canvas at the age of sixty-five. The book uses many familiar paintings, as well as hitherto unseen pictures, to trace the development of the artist's unconventional technique and the evolution of her delightful cast of characters who fill every picture with teeming life.

Ina Taylor 2002 Helen Bradley's Lancashire Tiverton: Halsgrove ISBN 1-84114-214-X GBP29.95

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  • Introduction
  • Helen Bradley
  • The main cast in Helen Bradley's pictorial world
  • The paintings
  • Subscribers


Go to Miss Carter Publications for books by Helen Bradley.