Helen Layfield Bradley (1900 - 1979)
The Day Queen Victoria was Laid to Rest
Signed with a fly, lower right; also signed, dated 1966 and inscribed on the artist’s label attached to the reverse
Oil on board
14¾ x 18¾ in – 37.5 x 47.6 cm
“The Day Queen Victoria was Laid to rest besides her beloved Albert”. We all went to the service and the village was silent save for the tolling bell. Grandmother wept and said, “She is gone”, and “this is The End, the End” it was, but we began a new Era with joy and laughter. Feb 1901
Mercury Gallery, London, from where purchased by Mr and Mrs D Long, 3 January 1967;
Private collection, UK;
with MacConnal-Mason Gallery, London;
Private collection, UK
Helen Bradley was born in Lees, a village outside the industrial cotton town of Oldham. She was born just prior to the Edwardian era, a golden age, when Britain was the envy of the world, a confident wealthy superpower.
She began to paint only in her sixties in order to show her young granddaughter what life was like when she herself was a child. It was a time of prosperity and the extended family and her ‘naïve’ narrative paintings reflect this. Her works are documents of social history, always accompanied by a detailed description (see above), recording social conventions, costume, lifestyle, and portraying the growing urban sprawl. Whether she portrays an outing to Blackpool, a trip to Manchester, a day at the fair or carol singing in the snow, her paintings are full of familiar characters, Miss Carter, who always wore pink, the Aunts, and Mr Taylor the Bank Manager. Many of her works are illustrated in a series of autobiographical books, the first of which is “And Miss Carter Wore Pink, Scenes from an Edwardian Childhood”, published Jonathan Cape, London 1971. Bradley’s work was much admired by L. S. Lowry (1887-1976) and can be compared to that of the American artist, a contemporary, Grandma Moses (1860-1961).
Her works can be found in museums in: Oldham; Saddleworth and Salford.