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L. R. Brightwell: Artist

Posted in Art, Artist on Thursday, 30 June 2011

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L. R. Brightwell was an English animal painter and etcher.

picture, L R Brightwell, painter, illustrator, artist, zebra, lion

A lion hunting a zebra, illustrated by L. R. Brightwell

Leonard Robert Brightwell was born in Clapham, Surrey, on 17 May 1889, the son of James Robert (a commercial traveller) and Emma Jessie Brightwell.

He drew animals from the age of 6 and became a professional at the age of 16 when he began contributing to Punch (1905-29). He studied at the Lambeth School of Art and at the Zoological Gardens. He served in the army in France during World War One and as an air-raid warden in World War Two. As a member of the Marine Biological Association he joined many scientific and commercial trawling expeditions; he was a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London (1906). He worked in pen and ink and ink and wash, and occasionally in full colour. While his educational and scientific drawings were usually clear and informative, his humorous and descriptive work was more sketchy in execution.

Amongst the magazines and papers he contributed to were The Strand, Wide World Magazine, Pearson’s Magazine, The Royal Magazine, Hutchinson’s Magazine, The London Magazine, The Red Magazine, Little Folks, Toby, The Sketch, The Captain, Boys’ Own Paper, The Bystander, Cassell’s Children’s Annual, The Humorist, Puck, Fishing Gazette, etc.

As well as illustrating many books for others, Brightwell was a prolific author/illustrator of his own books, which included A Cartoonist Among Animals (1921), The Tiger in Town (1930), On the Seashore (1934), Zoo Calendar (1934), A Seashore Calendar (1935), The Zoo You Know (1936), Neptune’s Garden (1937), The Dawn of Life (1938), The Garden Naturalist (1941), Rabbit Rearing (1944), Sea-Shore Life in Britain (1947), The Pond People (1949), The Story of Fish, Fishermen and the Home (1951), The Story of Pets and How to Keep Them (1951), The Story of Animals and the Home (1952), The Story Book of Jungle to Home (1952), The Zoo Story (1952), Down to the Sea (1954) and Trimmer, the Tale of a Trawler Tyke (1956).

Brightwell lived at Peacehaven, Sussex, in the 1950s. He died in Bodmin, Cornwall, in 1962. Brightwell was married twice, first to Mabel Terry in 1920. He was survived by his second wife, Josephine (nee Mountford, who died in 1967) and daughter, Monica Bidmead.

Many more pictures by L. R. Brightwell can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

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