Bertram Priestman 1868-1951

Born in Bradford, Priestman travelled to Egypt, Palestine and Italy before attending the Slade School, and later spent time working in the studio of Sir William Llewellyn PRA. From 1889 he showed consistently at the Royal Academy and was represented in the first International Society Exhibition in 1898. He was elected to membership of the NEAC in 1897, IS in 1900, ARA in 1916 and RA in 1923. In 1900 his atmospheric study of cattle beside the water, Homewards, was purchased for the New South Wales Gallery, and The Studio magazine was hailing Priestman, along with Sir John Lavery and T.C. Gotch, as leaders of the modern school in this country. His loosely handled studies of light and reflections on water displayed an influence from Monet and from Constable. These peaceful rural idylls proved to be equally successful both here and abroad. He received an honourable mention at the Paris Salon in 1900 and the following year was awarded a gold medal at Munich. At home, Priestman was a member of the Society of 25 Artists and showed widely in the London galleries. He lived both in London and in Suffolk.

Alfred Lys Baldry, 'The Work of Bertram Priestman', The Studio, vol. 14. 1898, pp.77-98.
Frederick Wedmore, 'Bertram Priestman', The Art Journal, 1907, pp.179-84.

1893 Bradford, Arcadian Art Club.
1978 Bradford, Cartwright Hall and Hull, Ferens Art Gallery, English Impressions.
1981 Bradford, Cartwright Hall and Hull, Ferens Art Gallery, Bertram Priestman RA.

In the early 1890s, before his visit to Holland in 1895, Priestman showed interest in painting industrial river scenes. At this time he produced a large number of pictures of shipping manoeuvring at the mouth of the Medway and in the Thames estuary. Recollections of Turner as well as the earlier phases of Impressionism inform this work although, as Wedmore pointed out, it marked a youthful phase which bore little resemblance to the later Dutch-inspired period in Priestman's work.

Kenneth McConkey
Impressionism in Britain
Barbican Art Gallery, 1995