Bradley bequest a boost for gallery

Date published: 22 February 2013

GALLERY Oldham is to receive a significant bequest of paintings by celebrated Lees-born artist Helen Bradley.

The gift includes five major oil paintings and a revealing set of exhibition catalogues, plus letters and even Christmas cards sent by the artist.

The collection has been given by the late Derek and Elizabeth Jewell through the Art Fund - a national fundraising charity. The Jewells were avid Bradley collectors and had an extended correspondence with the artist, commissioning several works directly from her. Though not from Oldham, they wanted Bradley’s home town to benefit.

The letters give an intriguing insight into the relationship between an artist and collectors, but also reveal Bradley’s thoughts about her growing success and fame. They will be housed in Oldham Local Studies and Archives where they can be viewed by researchers.

The five paintings date from 1966-1972, their subject matter as usual stories from Bradley’s Edwardian childhood. As well as The Church Outing, there are three large-scale works showing scenes from Wakes Weeks holidays in Blackpool and New Brighton.

The fifth painting is a small, rather unusual painting of a policeman and a young woman entitled Miss, Said the Policeman, and Where Be You Going At This Time of Night.

Dinah Winch, senior curator at Gallery Oldham, said: “These paintings are full of Helen Bradley’s characteristic charm and nostalgia and they are a wonderful addition to our existing collection of three works by the artist.

“We’re particularly pleased The Church Outing will now go on permanent display in our new Oldham Stories gallery.”

Stephen Deuchar, Art Fund director said: “These charismatic paintings evoke much of the life and times in which she lived. We are grateful to Derek and Elizabeth Jewell for choosing to bequeath them to Gallery Oldham through the Art Fund.”