portrait of miss kathleen bell 1936 by bertram priestman ra

Portrait of Miss Kathleen Bell 1936, by Bertram Priestman R.A.


| $7,923 USD | €6,742 EUR

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Oil on canvas is an elaborate gilt period frame. (several small damages)
Signed and dated bottom left.
The sitter is Kathleen Bell, known as 'Billy'. The Bells are an old family and mainly originate in the North of England though they have spread far and wide over the centuries.
This charming portrait is absolutely typical of its period, especially in the colour of the dress, which was extremely fashionable. Until now the painting has spent its life under glass, so has needed no cleaning or restoration.
Below is a letter I received from a member of the family:
"Billy (Kathleen) was born to parents who emigrated to South Africa from northern
England. She was the brightest and best looking of three girls. Her
father George Bell was not very dynamic and held down a dull job as a
bank manager before returning to England with the adult girls. Two went
to Art School and eventually married into financial security. My husband
being the only descendant. Billy seems to have lost her man in the war
and started her career as a secretary/p.a in the Ministry of Defence
(Naval Intelligence). She was the only sister who worked for her living
all her life and had little to show.
Bertram Priestman knew the three girls through art contacts (Eldest
sister Peggy was a proficient portrait painter) Angus's mother Gwyneth,
the youngest sister, was engaged to Priestman's son Brian. Sadly he
died. Bertram had a big fondness for Billy, as shown in the portrait.
Billy was a private person so we don't know much about her life. She
didn't talk a lot to her more privileged sisters. She developed cancer
on her retirement. She had lived latterly with Peggy and her husband in
South Kensington where she died."
He was born in Bradford, Yorkshire in 1868, lived in Bradford and Skipton in Yorkshire, then London. He died in Crowborough, Sussex, England on March 19, 1951. Priestman studied under Edwin Moore, Arnesby Brown and at the Slade School of Art. He was studio assistant to Sir William Llewellyn, PRA., and he had a house and garden studio in Walberswick, Sussex 1914 - 1927, where he tutored pupils including Edward Seago.
He travelled extensively in Europe and the United States and exhibited regularly at The Royal Academy, Goupil Gallery, ROI, Walker Art Gallery and widely elsewhere. He was elected to the American Royal Academy as a painter on April 20th, 1916, elected to the Royal Academy on June 26, 1923, and elected a Senior Royal Academician on Jan 1, 1944.
SIZE: 43 x 40 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: By direct descent through the family in Sussex.
EXHIBITED: City of Bradford Art Gallery, Cartwright Hall. Loan number 514. (label verso)
Internal Ref: 9018


Height = 109 cm (43")
Width = 101 cm (40")
Depth = 6 cm (3")

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