Gerald Leslie Brockhurst RA 1890-1978
After attending the Birmingham School of Art, Brockhurst entered the Royal Academy Schools where he was awarded the Gold Medal for Drawing – a medal he later sold in a moment of poverty - and a traveling scholarship in 1913.
During the 1920s Brockhurst was primarily an etcher, focusing on female portraits and using his first wife Anäis as his model. The numerous etched and painted portraits bear witness to the fascination of her brand of beauty; both physically and emotionally she became the embodiment of those dreams of fair women.” However, in 1928, when Brockhurst was appointed a visitor to the Royal Academy Schools, he met Kathleen Woodward, the sixteen year old student who was to supersede Anais in Brockhurst’s life as love, muse and later, wife.
By the early 1930s Brockhurst had returned to painting with a new muse: his teenage mistress (and later wife) Dorette Woodward was to be his Trilby to his Svenhali, and his haunting portraits of her were to reset his career as a successful and fashionable portrait painter. In the decade that followed, Brockhurst was the most sought-after and expensive portrait painter in Britain, charging 1,000 guineas for a painted portrait. The number of commissions he would accept was limited to twenty per year: his famous subjects included the Duchess of Windsor, Marlene Dietrich, Merle Oberon, J Paul Getty and Mrs Paul Mellon.
His success as a portrait painter came after he was already well-established as an etcher, a career which reflected his skill as a draughtsman. His drawings, whether in watercolour, chalk, charcoal, pencil, ink or ink and wash, captured his subjects with a technique which was both instinctive and controlled, excelling in the representation of texture, such as skin, flesh, hair, lace, silk and embroidery.
In 1939 Brockhurst emigrated to America, living first in New York City and then New Jersey. There was no shortage of admirers and commissions for his meticulous technique and ability to convey a likeness. There have been exhibitions of his work at the National Portrait Gallery, London, the City Art Gallery Birmingham and Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield (1978), and more recently at the Georgia Museum of Art.
Gerald Leslie Brockhurst RAPortrait (Kathleen Nancy Woodward), c.1930signed lower rightgraphite on paper15 x 11 3/8 in
38 x 29 cm
Gerald Leslie Brockhurst RACaspar, 1933Signed in pencil G. L. Brockhurst, lower right, from the edition of 91etching7 5/8 x 5 7/8 in
19.5 x 14.8 cm
Sheet: 11 7/8 x 8 7/8 in
30.3 x 22.6 cm
Gerald Leslie Brockhurst RAAmberley Boy No.2, 1928signed and dated 1928 in plate; signed in pencil to marginetching7 1/2 x 5 3/4 inchesfrom the only published edition of 111 signed proofs in the completed state of the plate (137 in all)
Gerald Leslie Brockhurst RACypriano, 1927Signed in pencil G. L. Brockhurst, lower right, from the edition of 122etchingPlate 6 1/4 x 3 3/4 in
16 x 9.5 cm
Sheet: 11 1/8 x 8 1/2 in
28.3 x 21.5 cm
Gerald Leslie Brockhurst RABasque BoySigned in pencil G. L. Brockhurst, lower right, from the edition of 40lithograph14 1/8 x 17 1/8 in
35.6 x 43.5 cm
Printmaking1920-1940 14 Jan - 13 Feb 2021 Edinburgh
Christmasat The Fine Art Society 4 - 23 Dec 2020 Edinburgh
Hang 2 //Scottish Painting 1900-1940 13 Feb - 14 Mar 2020 EdinburghThe years 1900 to 1939 saw Britain move from a period of relative innocence and comfort to the trauma of war. After World War 1, artists retreated to more traditional,...
The Print Show13 Jan - 8 Feb 2020 EdinburghThe Print Show presented an annual exhibition of Scottish printmaking, featuring three centuries of etchings, drypoint, woodcuts and lithography. Exhibited artists included: Sir Muirhead Bone, James Mcbey, Gerald Brockhurst, Robert...
Muse26 May - 17 Jun 2017 EdinburghA small exhibition, Muse, drew together a select group of works that reflect the source of artistic inspiration be it an individual, a character from literature or a group. Central...
The Print ShowArtist Printmakers 1800-1975 15 Feb - 10 Mar 2016 LondonFrom William Blake's engraving of Chaucer's Canterbury Pilgrims in 1809-10 to Howard Hodgkin's abstract hand-coloured lithographs of the 1970s, the exhibition will spanned 175 years of artist printmakers production and...
Gerald Leslie BrockhurstPaintings, Prints and Drawings 6 Nov - 30 Dec 2011 LondonGerald Leslie Brockhurst: Paintings, Prints and Drawings was held to mark twenty-five years since the first comprehensive exhibition of the work of Gerald Brockhurst, A Dream of Fair Women, which...