OBITUARY. The Times 14th March 1945.
A Versatile Artist. Miss Fortesque Brickdale RWS, painter, modeller, and designer of stained glass, and black and white artist died on March 10th as briefly announced in our columns yesterday. She was the last survivor of the late Pre-Raphaelite painters, who though-or possibly because- they did not come into personal contact with the original Brotherhood, carried some of their principles to extremes. Her nearest affinity was with the late Byam Shaw, in the period of his "Loves Baubles," and she was at the height of her reputation about the same time as he.
It was the allegorical side of Pre-Raphaelitism that Miss Fortesque Brickdale inherited, and her work was distinguished by brilliance of colour and great fidelity to detail. One of her most successful pictures "The Deceitfulness of Riches," is crowded with detail of patterned garment and fruiting trees. As the title suggests there is often a moral or symbolic meaning behind her pictures. Eleanor Fortesque Brickdale, youngest daughter of the late Mr M I Fortesque Brickdale, barrister of Lincoln's Inn was born in 1871. She studied at Crystal Palace School of Art, and at the Royal Academy Schools, where in 1896 she won a £40 prize for her design for the decoration of a public building. Her first appearance in a Royal Academy Summer Exhibition was made the following year. She continued to exhibit there fairly frequently, her contributions including several portraits.
1871 - 1945
Her pictures were also seen at the Royal Watercolour Society, but the highly wrought nature of her work kept her from being a prolific exhibition artist. Decorative illustration was her natural bent, and typical works of hers were "The Forerunner" in which Leonardo da Vinci was depicted showing his model of a flying machine to the Duke of Milan, and "The First visit of Simonetta." For the first British Empire Exhibition in 1924 she painted the reredos in the Chapel of Remembrance. She is represented in the permanent collections of Liverpool, Leeds, and Birmingham.
As might be expected from the character of her pictures with their brilliant colours and sharp drawing, Miss Fortesque Brickdale was successful as a designer of stained glass, and there is a window by her in Bristol Cathedral. In his "English Pre-Raphaelite Painters, their associates, and successors" in 1910 Percy Bates says that she should do much in the future to exemplify the still living force of Pre-Raphaelitism. Whether or not that prediction was fulfilled, she deserves to be remembered for her consistent fidelity to the tradition.
I can't say why I like Miss Brickdale's paintings, but I do. I don't think they rise to the level of Anna Lea Merritt, but I still enjoy them. And isn't that what Art is about? I remember reading something where a character describes what he thinks is Art to be bought. He syas that if it's a painting you will see, really see, and notice every time you pass it, then it's worth buying. If it seems as though it will become just a piece of the background, then it ain't worth buying. John D. MacDonald, I think. Anyway, I cannot argue with that.
I bought a framed print of a painting by Daniel Ridgway-Knight for my Folks many years ago. And every time I am at thier home I finfd myself looking at that picture. I don't know if they look at it very often - it resides in the guest bedroom - but i do. So, for me, that print is Art.
More Victorian Age women coming. So stay tuned. And enjoy.