LIST 538

JUNE 2023

Issued 5pm 6th June


Portrait of Sir Henry Rushbury K.C.V.O. C.B.E. R.A. (1889-1968)

Painted when artist and sitter were students at the Birmingham School of Art.

  • Brockhurst R.A. R.E., Gerald Leslie (1890 – 1978)
    Sir Henry Rushbury K.C.V.O. C.B.E. R.A. (1889-1968) painted when artist and sitter were students at the Birmingham School of Art. Oil on canvas. 1907. Inscribed recto by the sitter's father 'Leslie Brockhurst Age 17. Male / Studied at Birmingham / School of Art'. The unlined canvas bearing the 'ESK' stencil verso and with an ESK label stating Brockhurst's name and age (17). Exhibited: Sheffield City Art Gallery, 'A Dream of Fair Women; an exhibition of the work of Gerald Leslie Brockhurst R.A. (1890-1978)', 1987, no.4. Provenance: by descent in the sitter's family. 30.25"x22.25" inches. Framed: 33"x24.75" inches.
Brockhurst (top left) and Rushbury (below him) at the Birmingham School of Art. c.1905.

This prodigious portrait of Henry Rushbury by Gerald Brockhurst is an early record of a life-long friendship.

Rushbury and Brockhurst at 16 Markham Sq. 1912.

Rushbury and Brockhurst were both born in Birmingham and as boys attended the Birmingham School of Art on scholarships. Brockhurst entered the school in 1901 and Rushbury in 1902. Brockhurst gained a place at the R.A. Schools in 1907. Henry, who had studied under the stained-glass painter Henry Payne, left in 1910 to assist Payne in the making of stained-glass and murals at Madresfield Court, Worcestershire.

Francis Dodd R.A. (1874-1949) Henry Rushbury. Pastels. NFS

Rushbury’s career as a stained-glass painter was short lived and he moved to London in 1912, sharing digs with Brockhurst at 16 Markham Square in Chelsea.

By this point Brockhurst was already establishing himself as a portrait painter. But it was a chance meeting with Francis Dodd while drawing on the London streets that was to give Rushbury his direction. Dodd, himself a great architectural printmaker (cf. no.4 on this List), recognised Rushbury’s potential and gave him a cooper-plate, some tools and tuition in etching. The two remained close friends throughout their lives.

‘The Fireside’ (Florence Rusbury). Etching 1916. NFS

Brockhurst spent much of WWI in Ireland with his first wife Anäis. Rushbury, who married Florence Layzell in July 1914, was called up in 1916. Through Dodd’s brother-in-law, Muirhead Bone – another great etcher – he was transferred from the East Surrey Regiment and promoted to sergeant draughtsman of the Royal Flying Corps at Uxbridge. He was made an Official War Artist in 1918.

Gerald Brockhurst R..A. (1890-1978) Henry Rushbury. Etching. 1920. NFS

In the 1920s Brockhurst and Rushbury became recognised as two of the great printmakers of their age; Brockhurst for his virtuoso portraits of women (cf. no.5 on this List), and Rushbury for his beautifully drawn architectural subjects (cf. nos.51-59 below this text).

Rushbury, Job Nixon and Charles Cundall in Rome. 1922.

Rushbury spent much of the 1920s and 30s travelling and drawing in France and Italy, which together with London, were to provide him with so much of his subject-matter. Rushbury wrote … ‘The first bit of etching any etcher should undertake should be the words of Ingres: “Drawing is the probity of art” – these should be etched on his heart before he begins’.

Brockhurst was elected an Associate Academician in 1928 and published his most famous etching of Rushbury in 1930 (based on his oil of 1927). He was elected a Royal Academician in 1937 but emigrated to United States in 1939. Although Brockhurst stayed in the States for the rest of his life, his friendship with Rushbury continued.

Gerald Brockhurst R..A. (1890-1978) Henry Rushbury. Etching. 1930. NFS

Rushbury was elected an Associate Academician in 1927 and a Royal Academician in 1936. After serving as a War Artist for a second time, he was elected Keeper of the Royal Academy Schools in 1949. He is widely considered to have brought in a period of modernisation and re-organisation that revived the School’s reputation. He retired from the Academy Schools in 1964 and was appointed KCVO the same year.

A Selection of prints by Henry Rushbury R.A. (1889-1968)



Tirthas: Thin Places

16th June – 8th July

6-8pm Thursday 15th June


LIST 539 – JULY 2023

– London Art Week Special –

Will be publised at 5pm on Tuesday 5th July


Will be publised at 5pm on Tuesday 19th July

Punks, Princes and Protests: The Chronicles of Feliks Topolski RA

We encourage you to visit the exhibition that is currently on at Topolski’s studio in the arches of Hungerford Bridge.

It continues to the 15th July and is open Thursdays-Sundays 12-6pm.



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