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PHYLLIS BRAY L.G. (1911 – 1991)

“On the Shore” (Possibly Braunton).  Watercolour. 15 ¾” x 19 ¾”

(400 x 502mm).  Signed.  Provenance – the Artist’s Studio Collection                                                IMAGE



Phyllis Bray was a painter of still life, figures and landscapes, an illustrator, muralist and collector.  Born in Norwood, London she was married for several years to the painter John Cooper, until the marriage was dissolved, their daughter being Philippa Cooper, then married Eric Phillips.  Her father was William de bray, who had been attached to Maria Fyodorovna, mother of the murdered Tsar Nicholas II. As a child she wanted to be an artist and claimed to be the youngest scholarship student at the Slade School of Fine Art when she joined it.  She was a favourite of Henry Tonks and won a Slade Drawing Prize.  In the mid-1920s Cooper spearheaded formation of the East London Group of painters with which Phyllis Bray was closely involved.  Her connection with the East End was strengthened when she completed three large murals for the People's Palace in the Mile End Road.  For over 40 years she helped the mural painter Hans Feibusch, working in many churches around Britain.  From 1930 to 1937 she taught in adult education.  She joined the London Group in 1934, showing with it regularly, also at Leicester Galleries, the Royal Academy, the London Wildenstein, the Drian Gallery and Mignon Gallery Bath.  She also exhibited in Sydney, Australia.   She  did a large volume of publicity, including work for Shell, the John Lewis Partnership and London Transport;  her book illustrations included Alison Uttley's A Traveller in Time.  In the 1950s and 1960s she collected medieval and Renaissance jewellery for modest sums; the Phyllis Phillips collection was sold at Christie's in 1989 for £576,000. She is represented in the Walker Art Gallery Liverpool and Blackpool Art Gallery and work by her can be found in St. Crispin's Church, Bermondsey.   She is listed in "Who's Who in Art" as having lived at 46 Platt's Lane, London, N.W.3. and she died at Hampstead, North London in 1991 with a memorial show being held at Collyer-Bristow in 1998.