BRUNSDON, John Reginald

1933 - 2014

John Brunsdon

John Reginald Brunsdon, was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire on 15 August 1933, son of John Robert Brunsdon (1901-1983), a cobbler, and his wife Rosa Florence Millicent née Little, a silent film piano player, who married at Gloucester in 1930. In 1945, John entered Cheltenham Grammar School and in 1949 enrolled at the Cheltenham College of Art, then under the direction of etcher Stanley Dent (1909-1984). He then completed his National Service, and in 1955 studied etching at the Royal College of Art for three years having been interviewed and accepted by Robert Austin (1895-1973) two years previously, and it was Julian Trevelyan (1910-1988), Head of Etching at the Royal College of Art, who, provided a vigorous arid fundamental influence, his other teachers included Edwin La Dell (1910-1988), Alistair Grant (1925-1997), Edward Ardizzone [q.v.] and Edward Bawden [q.v.]. To to supplement his income, he printed other artists plates and began selling work to galleries. Brunsdon has never worked directly from nature, his method was to draw and photograph the subject and work out ideas in the studio. One of Britain's most distinguished printmakers, an Associate of the Royal College of Art and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers. In 1959, he began teaching portrait painting part-time at St Albans School of Art and had his first exhibition at the Zwemmer Gallery in 1961. In 1963, he moved to Woburn, Bedfordshire and in 1965 was a founder member of the Print Makers' Council with Michael Rothenstein (1908-1993), Valerie Thornton [q.v.] and others and, in the same year, had his first one man show at Lund, Sweden, with his first one-man show in UK was at the Curwen Gallery, London in 1967. After establishing printmaking at St Albans School of Art, with assistance from the Principal, Anthony Harris (born 1931), who was teaching full-time, Brunsdon became one of the first artists to join Christie's Contemporary Art. In 1977 he retired from teaching to concentrate on etching, moving to Stradbroke, Suffolk where his time was devoted to his printing studio where his work was individually hand etched, inked, coloured and printed. He took delight in the texture and decorative qualities of etched marks and the sweeping shapes of broad colour which fuse into timeless images. The landscape of Suffolk and Norfolk features in his work and in 1983 he moved from The Old Fire Station, Stradbroke to an isolated 16th century Suffolk cottage. He has had major exhibitions at The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (1974), the Alice Simsar Gallery, Ann Abor, Michigan, USA (1975), the Galarie L'Angle Aigue, Brussels (1980), the City churches of St Mary Le Bow and St Catherine Cree, London (1988), the Chapman Gallery, Canberra, Australia and at Heffers Gallery, Cambridge. His commissions include Sea Containers for the Hotel Cipriani; The Council for the Protection of Rural Britain; The National Trust and The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. He married at Hertford in 1962, Heather Fairs and their son Hayden Robert Brunsdon was born at Bedford in 1966, he aslo had four step-sons and a step-daughter. He died on 13 April 2014, being survived by his second wife Sylvia 'Ibby' Saunders, whom he married in 2004, and his son Haydn.







Works by This Painter