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Brian Bradshaw was born in Bolton, Lancashire in 1923. In 1939, he attended the Bolton College of Art but owing to the outbreak of war, his time spent there was short. He enlisted in 1942 and served in the army until 1948. Upon his return, he was awarded a Royal Scholarship from the Royal College of Art, London and studied there until 1951. During his final year, he was awarded a 1st Class Silver Medal for ‘Work of Special Distinction’ and was noted for his engravings and architecture designs. He was also awarded the Prix de Rome at the British Academy in Rome where he spent two years working. By this time he has also become an elected member of the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts and an elected Associate of the Royal Society of Painters, Etchers and Engravers. He returned to the UK in 1953 moving to Wales and painting the harsh Welsh mountains and landscapes. 1953 saw his first solo exhibition at the Salford City Art Gallery. In 1955, Bradshaw was appointed as Vice Chairman of the British Parliamentary Committee on Art Education. In 1956, he won the National Prize for Engraving, exhibited at the RA with the British Realist Painters and held a one-man exhibition at the Civic Art Gallery in Bolton. In 1957 he became a member of the Liverpool Academy of Fine Arts and in 1960 he was awarded the Engraving Prize by the Arts Council of Great Britain and exhibited in Manchester in the Four Northern Figurative Painters’ exhibition and at the ‘Mood of the North’ exhibition held at the Crane Kalman Gallery, London. In 1960, he was invited to take the position of Chair of Fine Arts at Rhodes University and so emigrated to South Africa. In 1964, Bradshaw founded the Grahamstown Group, which is now considered the most influential and important grouping of South African artists of the time. In 1978, he takes the position of Director of the National Galleries of Rhodesia.
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