Helen Bradley (1900-1979)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Helen Bradley (1900-1979)

Oh it's the King and Queen

Details
Helen Bradley (1900-1979)
Oh it's the King and Queen
signed 'HELEN BRADLEY' and with a fly (lower right)
oil on canvas, laid on board
38 x 72 in. (96.7 x 183 cm.)
Provenance
with W.H. Patterson, London, where purchased by the present owner circa 1975.
Literature
H. Bradley, The Queen Who Came to Tea, London, 1978, p. 15, illustrated.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Lot Essay

'To George and me it was a very long wait, but gradually all sorts of things came along the route. There were lots and lots of Policemen all going towards Victoria Station. There were lots of Policemen left behind who walked up and down keeping people in order. Children marched along with their teachers and filled the stands in front of the Infirmary and in front of us. Then there was a commotion a long way down Market Street, and, at last, we could hear a jingle of horses. "They're coming, they're coming, the Queen is coming," and now they came in sight. "Oh, I can't see them," I cried. "Well, well," said uncle John, "come up on my shoulder," and what a glorious view I had. The Police came first riding their beautiful horses. There were a great many of them and behind then we could see the Queen's Hussars and then found lovely greys and, "Oh it's the King and Queen, I can see them"' (H. Bradley, The Queen Who Came to Tea, London, 1978, p. 15).

Helen Bradley drew inspiration from her childhood memories of Edwardian Britain. Bradley did not start painting until she was in her sixties, when she began to illustrate the experiences of her youth for the sake of her grandchildren. Her style and depictions of busy street scenes often see her associated with Modern British masters such as L.S. Lowry, whom she met in the 1960s. The present work is the largest work by Bradley to have ever been offered at auction, and belongs to a panoramic diptych considered to be one of her masterpieces. It recounts a moment when Bradley caught sight of Edward VII on the streets of Manchester in July 1905.

Oh it’s the King and Queen demonstrates the significant influence Bradley found in Dutch landscape painting. The colour palette and sensibility to atmosphere and light bears a striking resemblance to works hanging in the National Gallery by Dutch master Hendrick Avercamp. This transcription of ideas is contrasted with Bradley’s innovative use of changing perspectives, especially in the buildings, which animates the viewer’s eye around the large canvas, navigating the narrative of the scene.

By 1968, Bradley had reached critical acclaim. Highly successful shows in London and Los Angeles gained her worldwide recognition. In her final years, Bradley was set to receive an M.B.E from the Queen for her services to the arts but she sadly passed away before she could receive it.

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