Bertram Priestman RA
1868 – 1951
Bertram Walter Priestman, was born at Clifford House, Girlington Road, Bradford, Yorkshire on 30 November 1868, son of the wealthy Quaker family of Edward Priestman (19 April 1838-8 August 1920), a worsted spinner & manufacturer, and his wife Henrietta née Broadhead (1839-12 September 1924), who married at Leeds, Yorkshire in 1862
In 1871, a 2 year old, living at Clifford House, with his parents 32 year old Edward and 31 year old Henrietta, with three siblings George Edward 7, Howard 5 and newly born Gertrude. Bertram was educated at the Friends’ School at Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough and at Bootham, Yorkshire, he enjoyed painting during the holidays with his uncle Arnold Priestman (1854-1925).
Bertram studied watercolour painting under Edwin Moore (1813-1893) of York 1883-1886, and when he left school began an engineering course at Bradford Technical College, but gave this up to study at the Slade School of Fine Art in London where he remained for two terms under Alphonse Legros (1837-1911). Studio assistant to Sir William Llewellyn, PRA (1858-1941) who painted occasionally at Walberswick, Suffolk.
Priestman exhibited at the Liverpool Academy from 1888, at the Royal Academy from 1890 when his ‘In Dock for Repairs’ was shown; the New English Art Club from 1894 and elsewhere. He married in London City in 1896, Grace Henwood (23 July 1868-1953) and in 1901 ‘an artist’ living at 29 Beauford Street, Chelsea with his 32 year old wife and two of his four children Bryan, aged 4 and Olga, 10 months, who was educated at St Felix School, Southwold.
In 1914 he purchased ‘Windy Haugh’ at Walberswick, Suffolk, a house designed by Frank Jennings [q.v.] and added a studio in the garden where he tutored pupils, including Edward Seago [q.v.]. After a brief period away at Wharfedale in 1919, he returned to Walberswick where he remained until 1927. Elected to the Royal Society of British Artists in 1894; New English Art Club in 1896; Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 1910 and an Associate of the Royal Academy on 20 April 1916, a Member on 26 June 1923 and a Senior on 1 January 1944. He made annual painting tours throughout East Anglia and could be seen chugging along in his 1908 vintage De Dion Bouton car seeking out new subjects to paint.
In 1939, he and his wife Grace were living at Lionwood, Arnside, South Westmorland and he later moved to Snape Hall and then to Woodbridge, both in Suffolk. Although not a member, he exhibited at the Ipswich Art Club in 1932 from 101 Gunterstone Road, London W.14, an oil ‘The Deben above Wilford Bridge’, in 1933 ‘Awaiting Cargo, Woodbridge’, in 1937 from 22 Egerton Gardens, London SW.3, two oils ‘Billy, daughter of C.E.G. Bell, Esq.’ and ‘Her Last Mooring-Bembridge, I.of W.’ and at the centenary exhibition in 1974 the Ipswich Museum loaned an oil on panel ‘The Port of Ipswich’ and his paintings are also held in galleries in Bradford, Leeds, Birmingham and other towns in the U.K. He died at St Giles, The Green, Crowborough, Sussex on 19 March 1951.