Birmingham, England: 1904.
Brockhurst, Gerald Leslie. Watercolor on paper, signed “Leslie Brockhurst, aged 14 years”. 1 vols. 12-1/2 x 7-1/4 in. Painted by Gerald L. Brockhurst at Age 14. Framed. Near fine. Provenance: Kathleen Woodward Brockhurst. Literature: Wildman, A Dream of Fair Women, an exhibition of the work of G.L. Brockhurst, 1987, p. 9. Item #22301
This remarkable watercolor was done by Brockhurst while studying at the Birmingham Municipal School of Art. Notes Wildman: “At the turn of the century, the so-called Birmingham Group, mostly staff and students of the School, had achieved international prowess … Brockhurst and his contemporaries were students during this golden age [and] benefited from the strengths of the School's teaching, especially those of draughtsmanship and design.”
Gerald Leslie Brockhurst (1890-1978) was born in Birmingham, England, where he displayed a precocious talent for drawing. In London he was a prize-winning pupil at the Royal Academy Schools, and began etching in 1914. The following year he and his wife Anais moved to Ireland where for five years, under the patronage of Oliver St. John Gogarty, he made numerous paintings and drawings of Irish people and scenes. In 1920 he had returned to London and began a twenty-year career as an etcher — producing over 80 prints — and portrait painter of such distinction that he was able to command £1,000 a canvas, undertaking a maximun of 20 commissions a year. He was elected to the Royal Academy in 1937.
Around 1929 he met Kathleen Woodward, a sixteen-year old model, whom he rechristened Dorette, and who became the subject of some of his most important works. Their relationship developed rapidly, and led to a protracted, sensationalized divorce case which led to his and Dorette's departure to America in 1940, where they were later married. During the final thirty years of his life Brockhurst pursued a successful career as a portrait painter ($10,000 for a full-length study) dying after a long illness at his home in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.
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