Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale RWS (1871/2-1945)

'It cannot be said that Pre-Raphaelitism is dead while Miss Fortescue Brickdale is alive at least Pre-Raphaelite in the spirit if not in the letter, though in many points also in that.'

Youth and the Lady

Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale was an oil and watercolour painter, a designer of stained glass, and a book illustrator. She studied at the Crystal Palace School of Art under Herbert Bone from 1889, then at the RA Schools, showing oils and watercolours in the Exhibitions from 1896 and achieving early recognition in The Studio, and having three solo exhibitions at the Pre-Raphaelite dedicated Dowdeswell Gallery in the 1900s. She became RWS in 1919. Her London studio was very close to Leighton House. Her output is mixed - some pictures rather symbolist, others sentimental, and her style varies from rather wishy-washy to very detailed. Often it shows the influence of her friend Byam Shaw, who founded a school of painting where Fortescue Brickdale later taught. Her best pictures have jewel-like colours and Pre-Raphaelite girls in ornate classical garb. Often her paintings show just one or two figures with accoutrements indicative of subject.

As a book illustrator, Brickdale had a large output in the early years of this century, working on children's books and poetry (e.g. Tennyson, Browning) and song books.

It is hard to find pictures by Brickdale on display, but there is at least one at the Russell-Cotes Museum, and another (The Forerunner of 1920) at the Lady Lever Gallery. A fairy picture, called The Lover's World (1905), is owned by the Bristol gallery, and with its tiny figures seems influenced by Walter Crane's The Mower.

Book decoration

Illustration pages // Other artists