1900 - 1979
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Helen Bradley was trained in jewellery and embroidery at the local Oldham School of Art but did not start to paint her famous images of her Edwardian childhood until the age of 65. She began to paint in order to document for her granddaughter what life was like when she herself was a young girl. Some of her earliest paintings feature landscapes from across the northwest of England, and her most popular character, Miss Carter, figures in her narrative paintings. These latter were first exhibited at the Saddleworth Art Society in 1965, and then at a London exhibition in 1966, followed by a very successful exhibition at the Carter Gallery in Los Angeles in 1968. Her paintings often feature many stories and sub-stories which are a source of dispute for the titles of the paintings. These stories revolve around scenes from Oldham, Salford, Manchester, Blackpool and Southport. In 1971, Jonathan Cape published the first of four books, And Miss Carter Wore Pink. This successful book was followed by three others: Miss Carter Came With Us, In The Beginning Said Great Aunt Jane and The Queen Who Came to Tea. Helen Bradley was awarded the M.B.E. for services to the arts, but died shortly before she was due to receive her honour from the Queen.
1965, Saddleworth Art Gallery, Saddleworth
1966, Mercury Gallery, London
1967, Carter Gallery, Los Angeles
1973, Salford Art Gallery, Salford
1975, Oldham Art Gallery, Oldham
1989, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal
1996, Harris Art Gallery, Preston
2004, Helen Bradley: Tickled Pink, Gallery Oldham, Oldham
Museum and Gallery Holdings
Bolton (AG and Mus.)