Born on 6 May 1857 in Sibsey, nr Boston, Lincolnshire (GRO), he studied at the Lincoln School of Art and Antwerp Academy, and spent a year in Venice before arriving in Newlyn during the winter of 1884. He was considered to be a leading figure of the Newlyn School along with Stanhope FORBES and Walter LANGLEY. Though he was a founder of New English Art Club, he resigned in 1890 following a scathing attack on his work by Walter Richard SICKERT.
Before marriage (1891), his home and studio were at the corner of the Rue des Beaux Arts in Newlyn. In 1886 he produced Domino using the square brush technique. This painting was Bramley's only exhibit at the Dowdeswell Exhibition of 1890, and regarded as the first substantial interior scene by a Newlyn artist. His work is know for its social realism, which Wood described as that 'of Courbet and Millet, combined with the plein air landscape of the Barbizon painters.'
From 1893-97 the Bramleys lived at Orchard Cottage (then Belle Vue Cottage), and then in 1889 at Belle Vue House. In 1895, he served on the provisional committee of artists supporting the Passmore Edwards Art Gallery at Newlyn, and in the Opening Exhibition exhibited three pieces, the sketch for his large painting Saved being purchased by Elizabeth FORBES.
The couple then moved to Droitwich that same year (1895) and on to Grasmere in 1900, spending the last years of their lives in London. His major painting A Hopeless Dawn was purchased for the nation by the Chantrey Bequest. He died on 10 August, 1915, age 58, at Chalford, near Stroud, Gloucestershire (GRO). Phryne comments that Bramley was 'Newlyn School's answer to Moore and Whistler'. His colour harmonies and adroit arrangements reflect the Cornish ambience strongly.
Painter of portraits and genre, and flowers, mostly in oils
works and access
His titles include: The Italian Boy (1883); Neapolitan Fisher Boy (1883); For of Such is the Kingdom of Heaven (1891); Old Memories (1892); After Fifty Years (1893); Weaving a Chain of Grief (1887);
Access: Cork; NPG; RA; Tate;// USH, Auckland, New Zealand; South African National Gallery, Cape Town
In Cornwall: Penlee House (The White Pinny, a study); RCM, Truro (The Truce)
RA from 1884
NAG (Opening) Sketch Exhibition Dec 1895 - Jan 1896 (submitted 3 sketches), Mar 1889
St Ives Aug 1889
NAG Loan (1958) Artists of the Newlyn School 1979
RA 1911 (Elected 4 May)
NEAC Founder member
misc further info
Bednar Every Corner was a Picture
Chantrey Bequest list
Chester, Austin (1908) 'The art of Frank Bramley' The Windsor Magazine XXVlll June-November 1908 pp 612-628.
Cross (1994) The Shining Sands (illus);
Green (1994) Artists at Home
Hardie (1995) 100 Years in Newlyn: Diary of a Gallery
Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall (Col pl: Eyes and no eyes; full Bibl)
Johnson & Greutzner (1975) Dictionary of British Artists;
Langley (1997) Walter Langley, Pioneer of the Newlyn Art Colony;
MacDonald J J Passmore Edwards Institutions
NAG Loan (1958) Exhibition catalogue
NAG sales records
Newton et al (2005) Painting at the Edge
Notts Exhibition catalogue;
Stevens et al The Edwardians and After RA Exhibition catalogue (Col pl: Confidences)
The Studio (Ill)
Rezelman (PhD 1984) The Newlyn Artists and their Place in Late-Victorian Art
Richards ‘Newlyn as a Sketching Ground’ Studio (1895 p180)
Wallace (2002) Under the Open Sky
Wood (1995) Victorian Painters Vol 1: Text, Vol 2 (b&w plate A Hopeless Dawn)
Chambers (1999) The Auckland Bramley;
Hamerton (Apr 1894) ‘Old Memories, painted by Frank Bramley, ARA’ Scribner’s Magazine 15 (pp 423-25)
Hiatt (1903) ‘Mr Frank Bramley ARA, and His Work’ Magazine of Art (p54-9 (Reprinted pp 83-5 in Hardie 2009)