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Frederick Lee Bridell's LIfe

Travellers by a LakeIt is fortunate that what is known of Bridell's early years has been furnished by his friend Henry Rose, in two letters to the Southampton Times of Jan.  1888.  Renewed interest in Bridell by the townspeople of Southampton at this time, followed from discussion that an exhibition of his work was to be arranged and was, in fact, long overdue.

Henry Rose, a printer and engraver, had attended a painting class and after some persuasion, the tutor and the class allowed Bridell to join.  William Frederick Bridle (b.  1831) was the son of a carpenter and lived in the very poorest area of Southampton, the tenements on St Mary's Road.

Rose comments:

'At fourteen he could grain and marble as well as many old hands.  He was always studying nature with open eyes to pictorial effect, every cloud or tree or rippling wave leaving its impress on his marvelous memory...'

Bridell left school at the earliest age in order to earn a living.  However he continued with portrait painting and completed one of his friend Rose.  Henry Rose, by 1850, had just set up in business.  A chance conversation, regarding the portrait, with a visiting painter and picture dealer, Edwin  Holder led to an apprenticeship for Bridell.  He was to copy Old Master pictures.  In due course he was able to travel but all of his output remained the property of Holder.  Seven years later, Bridell was able to terminate his contract with Holder.  His wife later records, that in fact this period caused severe deterioration     in the artist's health.  On recovery, Bridell was able to embark  on his most prolific period.

There is the mistaken view that he left only a few major works .  In fact, he completed many large works, the  locations of which remain undiscovered.  Other works, now are appearing at auction, having not been seen in public since their creation.

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