Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of a Young Lady 1835c.

William Bradley 

Portrait of a Young Lady, William Bradley
Oil on canvas
19th Century
24 x 20 inches 61 x 50.8 cm
This portrait was executed c.1835 shortly after the death of Sir Thomas Lawrence and reveals the influence of the master on his pupil in its fluid brushwork, romantic atmosphere and direct, intimate gaze.

Bradley was a popular artist in England during the first half of the 19th century and one of Lawrence''s most successful pupils. Born in Manchester and orphaned at the age of three, he worked as an errand boy until the age of sixteen when he established himself without any formal training as a portrait draughtsman. At the age of twenty-one he studied briefly with Mather Brown who was then in Manchester, before moving to London in 1823 where he was encouraged and taught by Lawrence, the leading portrait painter of the Regency period.

Bradley remained in London for a number of years, exhibiting at the Royal Academy between 1823-45, as well as at the British Institution and the Society of Artists. He had considerable success as a portrait painter and among his most distinguished sitter were the statesman John Gladstone and the actor William Macready. The critic and art historian Ottley wrote of him that; ''his heads are remarkable for skilful drawing and he was not second to any man of the day in producing a striking and intellectual likeness.''

In 1847 Bradley returned to his native Manchester where he continued as a portrait painter. Examples of his work can be found in the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Portrait Gallery and the British Museum.
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