The son of an art metal craftsman, he was born in Sheffield and studied at Sheffield School of Art from 1880 under Henry Archer and J T Cook (along with John Gutteridge SYKES) at South Kensington, where he won a silver medal. Initially he taught art at a girls' school in Sheffield, but then decided on making a career of painting.
He looked at several seaside places in Cornwall but decided on St Ives in 1902. In June 1906 he sold Street at St Ives at NAG. By 1909 he was advertising for pupils at 4 Tre-Pol-Pen, Street-an-Pol, offering "painting in oil and watercolour, marine, landscape, figure, etc.". He is best known for his depictions of the harbour, filled with brown sailed craft, and the old cottages in Down-a-long.
White worked from Tregenna Hill Studio in the 1930s and later in his life from Fern Glade Studio, The Stennack. An unassuming man with a gentle, kindly disposition and a great sense of humour, he was also a keen and knowledgeable musician, being organist at the Catholic Church for over 25 years, although himself a Wesleyan. He was widely read on architecture and all forms of art. He never married and from 1946, needed a housekeeper to look after him. By this juncture he was struggling financially and losing his eyesight. In his final year of life he sent work to the RA that was rejected. His stroke was probably precipitated by the emotional upset this caused him. On his death his niece and her son sold off his paintings cheaply in a local pub.
Harbour, landscape and marine painter in oils and watercolours.
works and access
Works include: Old barn off Bullans lane ( s) oil on canvas 49 . 5 x 59 .7 cm; Low Tide, St Ives oil on canvas 29.2 x 50 . 8 cm; Falmouth from flushing harbour oil on canvas 25.4 x 34.4 cm; Truro Cathedral 1914 (w/c); Landing Fish 1915; Beached for Repairs; Morning Light and Harbour Entrance; Gwithian
Access to Work: Tovey (2003) repr of Smeaton's Pier, St Ives (b/w), p52; St Ives Harbour (b/w), p283 (from W H Lane Archives)
LS (33); ROI (5); St Ives 1914, January, Show Day, Mar 1919, Mar 1919, Jul 1920, Mar, works for RA 1920, April, Spring Exhibition 1923, March 1924, March, STISA 1930, Lanhams, four of his five views of St Ives sold on the first day 1937, 47 (W) and 51 FoB Market Hall, Penzance 1917, 28 April - 5 March; Great Exhibition and Sale of Work Plymouth Art Gallery 1917; NAG 1929, Summer
Personal bibl: St Ives Times, Obituary, 27 Nov 1953
Buckman (2006) Artists/Britain since 1945
Johnson & Greutzner
W H Lane archival files
NAG Sales records (repr Hardie 2009)
Tovey (2000) George Fagan Bradshaw - Submariner & Marine Artist, etc. STISA Principal members list p228; (2003) Creating a Splash (photo); (2009) St Ives/ Social History
Whybrow (1994) St Ives (photo of artist)