Edward Bishop was born at 45 Ruby Road, Walthamstow, London on Tuesday 11th November, 1902, the youngest of eight children.
His father, Jacob Bishop, born in 1864, was a carpenter and his mother, Eliza Harriet Bishop (nee Metcalfe), also born in 1864, was a dressmaker. Although the family was poor, Edward’s mother worked hard to ensure that the children were well cared for and happy. The family moved to 38 Florence Street, Islington and Edward later recalled it was from the garden there in September 1916 that he saw the German Zeppelin airship which was shot down later that day by Lieutenant Leefe Robinson, V.C.
As a boy Edward contracted rheumatic fever and was confined to bed at home for several months. During this time he passed many hours drawing and sketching. He later recalled that his favourite subjects at school were "drawing, drawing and drawing".
Edward left Elementary School at 14 in 1916 and started work with Stoll Theatres in the West End, based in a small attic room at the London Coliseum, St. Martins Lane. He began to design posters and publicity material for the theatres and became a protégé of the designer Leo P. Dowd. One of the theatres owned by Stoll was the Coliseum and Edward was greatly stimulated by seeing Diaghilev’s "Ballet Russe" featuring Nijinsky, which was then touring Europe to rave reviews.
Photograph 1 below is the earliest surviving photograph of Edward. It was taken during his time working at Stoll Theatres in 1919. He was then aged 16 or 17.
Edward felt inspired to seek formal art tuition and approached The Central School of Arts and Crafts in Southampton Row, then run by F.V.Burridge. He was accepted as a night student and started at the Central School in 1920, studying in the evenings after working at the Stoll Theatres during the day. Photograph 2 below shows Edward, together with colleagues, at a Stoll Theatres office party in 1921.
His time at the Central School was both happy and inspiring. The Central School provided a particularly creative and stimulating environment for its students at that time. It was heavily influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement and, in particular, by the ideas of William Morris. Morris was enthusiastically championing the reawakening of old crafts and himself had a prolific output in many areas of artistic activity from painting and drawing, woodcutting, weaving, stained glass, writing and poetry, publishing, fabrics and furniture-making. The students at the Central were encouraged to learn the widest range of skills and to experiment to the full. Burridge himself was a well-regarded etcher and engraver and the students were taught by dedicated teachers, including Noel Rooke (wood engraving), F.W.Jackson (drawing), Bernard Meninsky (painting), William Roberts (painting), the lithographers G. Spencer-Pryse and A.S.Hartrick and the sculptor Humphrey Paget, who later designed the bust of King George VI which was used on coins bearing King George VI’s image. Edward, who was generally known as "Ted" by his Central School contemporaries at that time, was particularly influenced by the paintings of the Impressionists such Monet, Bonnard, Sisley, Pissarro and Vuillard. He won a Scholarship for drawing in the Life Class.
Fellow students at that time included James Fitton, John Farleigh and Graham Mervyn and, later, Morris Kestelman, Hal Missingham from Australia, George Butler and Margaret Lisle. In 1921 a fellow student Robert Rose did a portrait in oil of Edward, then aged 18 or 19.
Wood engraving was undergoing a renaissance in the 1920’s with the foundation of The Society of Wood-Engravers in 1920 and the foundation of The English Wood-Engraving Society in 1925 and the students were greatly inspired by their teacher Noel Rooke; his class was affectionately known as "The Rookery". Rooke’s emphasis, similar to that previously espoused by W.R. Lethaby, on the direct handling of wood engraving tools and materials by the students and on workshop training for them, meant that the students soon acquired considerable wood engraving and wood cutting experience. One fellow student Hilda M.Quick did a lithograph of Edward wood-cutting which he kept throughout his life.
The Central School students enthusiatically put on pageants at the end of each Summer Term. These pageants featured a tableau of English daily life at a selected time in the past and the students made and wore full costume dress; once they even borrowed a sedan chair from the Victoria and Albert Museum! They occasionally put on plays; it was "Twelfth Night" in 1926. A particular highlight of each year was the annual Chelsea Arts Club Ball at the Royal Albert Hall. The Chelsea Arts Club Balls were major events at that time and were well attended by a wide variety of party-goers from throughout the artistic and literary worlds. Tickets to the Balls cost three pounds each but the students from the Central and other leading London art schools could gain admission at the greatly reduced price of fifteen shillings each, provided that they dressed in costume and put on a brief show or stunt for the Ball. Each year the Chelsea Arts Club set a different theme; it was "Persia" in 1923, "The Sea" in 1924, "Ancient Egypt" in 1925 and "Merry England" in 1926. In the 1924 Ball, which was held on New Years Eve 1924, the Central School students decided to be "Under the Sea" and dressed as mermaids and fish in costumes which were made by the students in the costume classes; they made a large float which was drawn onto the floor of the Royal Albert Hall at the height of the Ball by students dressed as seahorses. Edward fondly kept a photograph of this 1924 merriment.
In 1925 the Central students went to the Ball as "Cleopatra and her state barge" and made a large Egyptian barge which was pulled onto the floor of the Royal Albert Hall, carrying Cleopatra and her entourage; they practiced their stunts by pulling the floats around Red Lion Square in the weeks leading up to the evening! In 1926 the Central School students went to the Ball as "Queen Elizabeth the First at a Mayday festival" and even borrowed a horse from a nearby circus; unfortunately the horse reared and slipped on the floor of the Royal Albert Hall at a crucial moment, duly depositing Queen Elizabeth on the floor! The Chelsea Arts Club Balls often went on all night and the students would then usually go straight to work!
Edward completed his studies at the Central School in 1926. He continued to work at the Stoll Theatres and to draw, paint and make woodcuts whenever he could. He spent much time with his family and was particularly close to his mother.
A prevailing philosophy at the Central School in the 1920s was that the students should feel confident about applying their artistic skills and experience in the outside world and, in particular, in industry; indeed some students went straight into publishing or designing book illustrations upon leaving the Central. Accordingly, in 1929, when Unilever ran one of the first Open Competitions for an advertising campaign , Edward decided to enter and, to his surprise, won the Competition. He was subsequently offered a job with Unilever’s in-house advertising agency, Lever International Advertising Service, better known as "Lintas". Edward became an Art Director at Lintas, based at Unilever House, and remained with the company until 1936, working on numerous campaigns for Lintas products such as Lea & Perrins sauce and Sunlight soap. He also produced various publications designed to inform people generally about selected Lintas products. Photograph 3 below shows Edward together with the Lintas design and lay-out team at Unilever House in 1934. It was at Lintas that Edward met Harry Gower, Reginald Jenkins and his wife Marjorie and, through them, his friend and fellow artist Frank Hughes.
Edward spent much of his free time painting and drawing. Wherever he went he would always carry a few small pencils and some paper to sketch a view or idea quickly before it went. "So they took a studio in Chelsea" (1930) is a woodcut cut by Edward shortly after he joined Lintas. He particularly drew inspiration from his visits to Green Park and Hyde Park and the Serpentine was to become a favourite subject for his sketches and paintings for the rest of his life. He would occasionally visit Hampstead and the Heath, particularly before the war when the well-known Hampstead Heath Funfair was in its heyday. Hampstead was to become his home years later.
In 1936 he moved from Lintas to another advertising agency, S.H.Benson, as an Art Director. He worked on campaigns for Benson clients such as Kodak and Austin cars. It was at Bensons that Edward met Ken Ballard, who, with his wife Mabs, were to remain lifelong friends. It was also in summer 1936 that Edward visited Aldeburgh, Walberswick and Southwold in Suffolk for the first time and, like many fellow artists at the time, he found stimulating subjects to sketch in that attractive part of England. He did a series of sketches of the beach promenade at Aldeburgh, including studies of the huts renting out deck-chairs for the day and also sketches of the so-called "bathing machines", the strange, now largely forgotten, changing-huts on wheels which were drawn out into the sea by donkeys so that swimmers could jump into the water without other beachgoers seeing them in their bathing costumes! Some of the paintings done from these sketches remain of historical interest and recall how part of that area of Suffolk was in summertime in those pre-War days.
Around this time Edward became a member of the London Sketch Club, based at 246a Marylebone Road, NW1. The LSC had been formed in 1898 and had a rich history boasting former members such as Sir Alfred East RA, Sir George Frampton RA and Heath Robinson. It provided a stimulating environment for artists and their artistic and literary friends to meet and draw. The LSC had two or three extravagant dinners during the October to May season, known as Sketch Club "Smokers", which were well attended by members and their friends. The LSC premises at 246a Marylebone Road was full of artists' paraphernalia, including easels and paint-boxes, as well as other items such as swords, guns and pikes. Silhouettes of the members were painted on the wall in the dining room and generated much interest and discussion by members and guests.
The cornerstones of the Club were the life class and the members’ dinner. The life class had been introduced by Charles Robinson around 1930 and took place each Tuesday evening during the season, lasting on average about two hours; the members’ dinner at the Club took place on Friday evenings after drinks and included jovial conversation, wine and occasional tomfoolery.
Fellow LSC members during Edward’s time at the Sketch Club included S.T.C.Weeks (artist and historian), Cecil Wade (calligraphist), David Ghilchik (cartoonist), Norman Lloyd (artist), Major H.L.Oakley (silhouettist) and Charles Robinson, brother of Heath Robinson. Hassall, Parlby Silas. Photodgraph 3 below, taken in about 1939, shows Edward and some fellow LSC members sitting on the floor below the silhouettes; the drawing behind them was probably a prop for a Sketch Club Ball and seems to lampoon French impressionism. Edward was later to become President of the London Sketch Club in 1951.
In summer 1937 Edward holidayed in Italy and Germany with friends and it was when they were in Germany in June that year that he purchased a German Leica camera, a Leitz Elmar. Over the next five decades Edward became very attached to this particular camera and used it to take many black and white photographs, which he meticulously catalogued and stored the original negatives, which remain to this day. He won various photography competitions, including one run by Kodak and first prize in a Leica competition with his photograph "Young Raleigh".
Edward's father Jacob Bishop died in September 1939, the month that the Second World War started. Having suffered rheumatic fever as a child, Edward was unfit for military service in the Second World War and he continued to live and work in London. At that time he was living at Flat 2, 8 Nevills Court, Fetter Lane, EC4 in the City of London, just off Fleet Street and working at Bensons during the day. The German bombing of London started on 10th July 1940 and the City area was particularly badly damaged. One night Edward was sleeping on the platform of an Underground Station near Holborn with many other people during an air-raid when a stray German bomb fell into and down the lift shaft, exploding on the underground platform; over 150 men, women and children were killed by the explosion and by the subsequent asphyxiation. Edward was later found partially buried in rubble by the rescuing services; he had donned his gas mask before being buried and thus saved himself from asphyxiation. He was one of only half a dozen people to survive.
September 1940 was the worst month of the entire Blitz with over 10,000 people killed. On one night in mid-September 1940 Edward's mother, together with one of his brothers, Robert Charles, and one of his sisters, Edith, were all killed by a direct hit on their London home. Edward was badly affected by this loss. He later named his son Robert Charles after his deseased brother.
After these tragedies, Edward did little or no drawing or painting for many months. He moved out of London to "Rasehill", Chorleywood Road, Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire, a large property owned by S.H.Benson and which acted as Benson's office during the Blitz, as well providing sleeping accommodation for Benson's staff. Although he started to recover gradually he did suffer one long lasting consequence of being buried in the Blitz, namely a degree of claustrophobia which prevented him from flying in aircraft.
He continued to keep his flat at Nevills Court during the Blitz and it was at Nevills Court that he had painted two early oil paintings, "Still Life with Lupins" (1938) and "Nevills Court, Fetter Lane"(1938), a study of the landing and stairs at his flat there. These are the only two surviving pre-war oil paintings by Edward because on 29th December 1940 his flat in Nevills Court, including nearly all his completed drawings and paintings to that date, was destroyed by German bombing. The night of 29th December 1940 was one of the heaviest of the Blitz and it was on this night that David Mason took his famous photograph of St. Pauls Cathedral surrounded fire and the smoke from burning buildings. Apart from these two oil paintings, only about four other pre-War works by him survive, two early drawings of models done at the Central School in 1921 and 1926 respectively, a woodcut entitled "Beatrice and Benedict"(c.1924), which is kept in the Central School archives, and the 1930 woodcut "So they took a studio in Chelsea".
When he did start to be productive again he preferred to work initially in pastel. In 1941 he decided to submit two of these early pastels for the annual Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition in Piccadilly and was delighted when they were both accepted and exhibited. These two pastels entitled "The Portrait Painter"(1941) and "St.James's Church, Piccadilly"(1941) were the first of well over eighty works he exhibited in Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibitions over the following five and a half decades.
From his earliest days working in and around the City of London, Edward had been greatly interested in the architecture and history of the many churches in the City. He had taken various photographs of some of his favourite churches before the War but as soon as the Blitz started Edward would photograph them more regularly as a record of their progress during the War. Some sustained severe damage, while others survived relatively unscathed. In many cases the photographs show the churches surrounded by bomb damage and rubble. In total Edward took over 600 photographs of the City churches and these remain an important historical record. He would visit his favourite City churches again in later years, in particular St Pauls, St.Mary Le Bow, St Lawrence Jewry, St.Vedast and St.Stephens, Walbrook.
The powerful work "The Dispossessed : Tramps in Shelter"(1941) was another pastel, which was exhibited in the 1942 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. This pastel was based on several sketches which Edward had made in 1940 of some homeless men in an air-raid shelter in the early days of the Blitz; the emotion of the work remains powerfully relevant today, seventy-five years on.
In 1941 Prime Minister Winston Churchill established The Ministry of Information to further the War effort. Churchill said that the MoI had "the creative function of providing a steady flow of facts and opinions calculated to further the policy of the Government in the prosecution of the War". The Ministry seconded various art directors and designers to assist in the design and execution of propaganda campaigns. Early in the war Harold Grigsby, who had previously worked at Bensons, joined the MoI from Odhams Press and Edward was seconded from Bensons in late 1941; he was based at Russell Square House, London.
The MoI was divided into five Sections, each run by a Controller, namely "News and Censorship", "Home Affairs and Intelligence", "Overseas" (comprising "Empire", "Foreign", the latter including both "Allied" and "Neutral", and "North America"), "Production" (comprising "Campaigns" and "Publications") and "Administration". In its early days the MoI's focus was on maintaining civilian morale at home; indeed it was initially nicknamed "The Ministry of Morale", but as the War progressed its activities shifted more to furthering the War effort overseas. Edward first worked on domestic campaigns, later moving to work on overseas propaganda campaigns, firstly for Allied and neutral countries and then, as the European war was coming to an end, on the American push in the Pacific.
As the War progressed the MoI soon became aware of the negative consequences of ill-judged propaganda and accordingly all campaigns were carefully co-ordinated and controlled. In November 1941 the MoI established an "Overseas Planning Committee", which prepared a propaganda plan for every country. The regional experts would discuss the relevant propaganda theme with the design and production team. Edward and the other design and production personnel would create the propaganda theme, design the artwork and then submit it back to the regional experts. It then went to the Committee for approval and eventual dissemination. Brendan Bracken was very effective as Minister of Information and as the MoI's importance and prestige grew nearly all Government Departments submitted their proposals and ideas to the Ministry.
Between 1941 and the end of the War, Edward designed numerous campaigns and propaganda leaflets and collaborated on many others. Early campaigns hailed the heroes of the Battle of Britain; these were translated into various languages and widely used overseas. He also wrote and designed two books for the home market, firstly "A People at War" and later "Four Years of War in Maps". "A People at War", produced in 1942, was designed to bolster civilian morale and dealt with how ordinary people in Britain were coping with the privations and hardships caused by the War. It emphasised by narrative and a series of black and white photographs the role that women were increasingly playing in the War effort, not only in the home but also in the factories and on the farms of Britain. Photograph 4 below shows two pages of "A People at War". "Four Years of War in Maps" was produced in September 1943 and showed by a series of maps how the political shape of Europe had changed over the four years 1939-1943 and how the balance was shifting in favour of the Allies.
Other books included "They Fight by Night", which dealt with the nightwork in the munitions factories and shipyards and the dusk to dawn vigilence of firemen and those manning Britain’s anti-aircraft defences, and the books "Bomber Command", "Home Guard", and "Eighth Army", as well as a small booklet on the heroism of the people of Malta.
The Ministry of Information also produced a series of propaganda postcards; these were initially to inform people about the progress of the War and the overall strength of the Allies, but from 1942 onwards the tone of the postcards was directed towards lampooning Hitler, Goebbels, Goering and Mussolini, often depicting them in hilarious cartoon form.
After the War Edward rejoined S.H.Benson in September 1945 and at the same time started to establish a career as a professional painter. One of Edward's friends around this time was the artist and designer John Gilroy, who designed the famous posters advertising "Guinness". Edward had moved to 8 Sloane Avenue Mansions in 1943 and, once the War was over, he spent much of his spare time in his studio there painting and drawing. The drawing "The Bride" was probably done around this time. One of Edward's first post-war paintings was "Evening by the Serpentine, No.1"(1945); the stillness of the Serpentine depicted in this particular painting contrasts starkly with the turmoil and violence which had been raging in Europe for the previous six years.
This work was the first of a series of paintings of the Serpentine at dawn and dusk painted by Edward over the next four decades. He particularly liked to visit the Serpentine after work to watch, enjoy and sketch the sunset, particularly endeavouring to depict the luminous nature of the sunset reflected on the still water of the lake. In addition to sketching and painting new subjects, Edward produced some paintings based on certain of his pre-war sketches, in particular the 1936 drawings done in and around Aldeburgh. One of these was "Woodbridge, Suffolk", which was exhibited in the 1945 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.
In the late-1940's he continued to derive inspiration from his walks by the Serpentine and in Green Park, painting "Winter sunset over the Serpentine"(1947), the Turneresque "Woman in red by the Serpentine"(1947) and "Evening in Green Park"(1948), which was exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1948. In 1948 Maurice Man did his fine painting of Edward sitting on a chair with his paint-box painting in Hyde Park, near to the Serpentine. Around this time Edward also became interested in the structure of trees and did numerous tree studies in pen and ink and in pencil to perfect his understanding of their structure for his Serpentine and Green Park paintings.
"Chelsea Café"(1947) is Edward's first surviving oil painting of a café theme and, interestingly, also includes what is probably a small self -portrait in the café's mirror. This combined theme of café interior with self-portrait was one which Edward returned to many times over the following four decades. Edward had his first one-man exhibition at the "Da Vinci Gallery", 6 Duke St, St. James, SW1 in September-October 1947; both "Chelsea Café" and "Winter sunset over the Serpentine" were among the exhibits. In 1947 and 1948 he painted his first post-War self-portraits and in 1949 he painted the still life "Fruit with Vase and Jug", which may have been influenced by Bonnard or Cezanne. By this time it had become Edward's established practice to sign his completed oil paintings with his initials "EB", although he continued to sign his pastels and drawings with his full signature.
It was around this time that Edward was building up a large and impressive collection of art books, ranging from early Flemish art, woodcutting, porcelain and particularly books on impressionism. Edward had always liked reading and collecting books and also enjoyed magazines, particularly "Lilliput" and "Simplicissimus" which were popular at the time. He had designed his own "Ex Libris" in the 1930s and made a woodcut of it; he would diligently affix the "Ex Libris" labels into each newly acquired book over the succeeding years. He particularly enjoyed reading the works of Oscar Wilde, Somerset Maugham and Guy de Maupassant and the poetry of Keats and Yeats.
Edward liked to meet friends and colleagues after work for a drink or dinner at one of the many clubs that had set up or been reopened after the War. In addition to drawing and dining at the London Sketch Club and its affiliated club, The Savage Club, he visited many of the new clubs in and around central London and became a member of The Studio Club. The Studio Club had been founded in 1915 and was based at 15 Swallow Street, Piccadilly, just down from the Royal Academy of Arts. The Studio Club had the motto "Dum vivimus vivamus" ("Whilst we live let us live") and boasted former members including Sir Alfred Munnings, C.R.W.Nevinson, Jacob Epstein and Augustus John. The bohemian décor and the various theme evenings at the Studio Club, including the so-called "Mexican Nights", provided numerous subjects for sketches and paintings. Edward did several paintings of the Studio Club over a thirty year period, including "Woman in the Studio Club"(1951), "The Studio Club remembered"(1982) and "Mexican Night at The Studio Club,1950"(c.1982).
In addition to attending the Clubs of which he was a member, he enjoyed visiting the wide variety of London cafes and restaurants which had opened since the War. He would often draw subjects he saw there, ranging from the décor at some of the more bohemian clubs to sketching his fellow patrons; he was always keen for his sketches to capture people in everyday situations. Some of the paintings done from these drawings include "Le Grain Café, Soho"(1950) and "Woman in Joe Lyons"(1954 ). Certain of these paintings and the Studio Club series constitute an interesting record of London cafe life in the early 1950s.
He was fascinated at how London was rebuilding after the destruction of the War and a large number of the photographs which he took of this period survive. Edward became interested in street and advertising signs and also in the graffitti which people would daub on walls and buildings. He developed a particular interest in the Sloane Square area and how it was changing and did several paintings entitled "Sloane Square Station", one of which was purchased from the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1950 by the Art Gallery of New South Wales and is still in that gallery in Sydney, Australia. Edward continued to do drawings and paintings of the Sloane Square area for another thirty years.
By the early 1950s Edward had become a familiar figure in the active London art scene which had emerged from the aftermath of the War. He was elected a member of the Royal Society of British Artists in January 1950 and elected President of the London Sketch Club in 1951. A copy of Edward's silhouette which was painted in 1951 onto the wall of the Sketch Club's dining room at their then premises in Marylebone Road still exists and can be found on the wall of the dining room at the LSC's current premises at 7 Dilke Street, SW3, London. Photograph 4 below is the 1953 pen and ink drawing of Edward standing and sketching by fellow Sketch Club member Henry Coller, which still hangs on the wall of the bar, the "Sketchers Arms", at 7 Dilke Street. This drawing shows Edward wearing his familiar bow tie.
Edward drew the Invitation card for the LSC "Smoker" dinner which marked the General Election on 23 February 1950. He was also a regular visitor to the Chelsea Arts Club at 143 Old Church Street, Chelsea. In 1950 Edward painted "Portrait of Ruskin Spear" at the Chelsea Arts Club and did several drawings of the interior of the Savage Club.
By the early 1950's Edward was exhibiting at The Leicester Galleries and at Roland, Browse and Delbanco. In 1950 he painted "Essoldo Cinema, Chelsea", which was near to Old Church Street and the Chelsea Arts Club. "Essoldo Cinema, Chelsea" is a impressionist nocturne studying the effect of the reflection of bright neon lights from the cinema on nearby wet streets and pavements following a recent rain-shower and was the first of many nocturnes by the artist exploring this theme.
He also started exhibiting at the New English Art Club, becoming a member in 1950. The New English Art Club had been founded in 1886 and boasted former members such as Sargent, Lavery, Sickert, Whistler, Wilson Steer, Sir William Orpen, Muirhead Bone, Lucien Pissarro, Henry Tonks and Nevinson. One of Edward's first exhibits with the New English Art Club was his pastel "Chelsea Children" at the NEAC's Exhibition at the New Burlington Galleries in April 1951.
The years 1951 -1952 were particularly productive ones for Edward, both in terms of his freelance consultancy business and his painting. By this time he had established his own distinctive painting style along impressionist lines. He particularly admired the impressionist work of Sisley, Pissarro, Sickert and Vuillard and the Thames paintings by Monet and Whistler. He was also gradually acquiring a small collection of works by contemporary artists such as Ruskin Spear and had previously purchased from Rex Nan Kivell's "Redfern Gallery" a lithograph by Edouard Vuillard done around 1900 entitled "Le Jardin Devant L'Atelier" and a lithograph by Bonnard from his "Canotage" series.
In the years 1951 and 1952 he painted some of his finest oils, including "The Star and Garter, Putney"(1951) and "Walham Green"(1952), which were both exhibited in the 1952 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. "The Star and Garter, Putney" was the first of three major paintings on a similar theme; this first painting depicts the Thames at dusk with a rich crimson sunset shimmering on the water, while the two subsequent paintings, both painted in the 1980s, are nocturnes of the Thames with a blue palette dominating. In each case the "Star and Garter", the well-known home for retired seafarers, is shown on the opposite bank of the Thames. Edward particularly admired Monet's Thames paintings and the Thames remained one of his favourite subjects to paint throughout his life, with major paintings in almost every decade.
"Walham Green" is a City night scene dominated by red neon lighting and its effects on buildings nearby and featured in a series of articles Edward wrote on the subject of "Painting from Drawings". In both these paintings there is a strong emphasis on both bright colour and light. It was also in 1952 that he painted "Notting Hill Gate, District Station", which was shown in the 1954 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, "Aldeburgh 1936", a study of the summer beach at Aldeburgh and based on the sketches done on his first visit to the area back in 1936, "St Giles Circus" and "Sunset on the Serpentine", another work based on Hyde Park.
During 1953 Edward moved from Sloane Avenue Mansions, SW3 to 36 Bolton Gardens, Kensington, SW5. In November of that year he exhibited at the Wildenstein Gallery, 147 New Bond Street, along with contemporaries, including Carel Weight. Edward's fourteen paintings in this show included "Rainy day in Chelsea", which had been in the 1951 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, "St Giles Circus" and two self-portraits. It was also in 1953 that he painted the first of his oils entitled "My Window is my World", with the subject of a lonely elderly lady looking out through her small window at the hectic and threatening world outside. For Edward, art meant participating in, and observing, the world around him. He had became intrigued by the theme of loneliness, first seen in "The Dispossessed : Tramps in Shelter" and also in some of the early cafe paintings and was interested in the issue of exactly how to capture and portray the nature of the loneliness of the subject in the hussle and bustle of a everyday urban scene.
By 1953 Edward was a regular exhibitor at Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions and exhibited two paintings, "Daffodils in March"(1953), which was also reproduced in the Illustrated Catalogue, and "Au Vieux Paris"(c.1952) at the 1953 renewal of that Exhibition.
He continued to draw and to photograph the City of London rebuilding after the War. He was always keen to depict London as it appeared at the time and steadfastly avoided making it look more attractive or appealing than it actually was. "View from Shoe Lane, EC4"(1953) depicts a derelict warehouse in the City adjacent to building sites full of rubble and shows how slowly parts of the City were rebuilding even eight years or so after the War.
He enjoyed making his own frames and would always write the exact date of a new painting on the back of its canvas.
It was around this time that Edward met his future wife, Celeste Radloff, one evening at The Studio Club. Celeste had been born in Pretoria, South Africa in November 1930, the fourth daughter of teacher George Radloff and his wife Gladys. She had recently arrived in London and was working at the South African Tourist Board.
Below is a photograph of Edward taken by Celeste using Edward's favourite Leica camera one afternoon in Green Park in 1954; it remained one of her favourite photographs of him. This photograph may have been taken on 11th July 1954, the same day he started to paint "Green Park".
In May 1954 the BBC commissioned Edward to design the first of his five covers for their weekly magazine "The Listener". He was also asked to design the cover for their 1954 Christmas edition; his drawing was called "The Nativity" and was based on a fourteenth century piece of embroidered velvet kept in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Edward did many drawings of life in Bolton Gardens. He was particularly interested to draw people he saw through his window going about their everyday lives, such as people rushing to work or the elderly woman carrying her heavy shopping home. Some of these became the subjects of paintings, such as "Woman in Bolton Gardens", which was shown in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1955.
Other everyday scenes which he painted around this time were "Woman in Joe Lyons"(1954) and "Woman with Parasol"(1955). The latter was a woman with an impressive bright large umbrella walking through the rain in Bolton Gardens; this oil was the first of his umbrella series that eventually led to "The Red Umbrella"(1980) and "The Blue Parasol"(1984). In 1954 he also painted "Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner", which was exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition the following year and is now in a private collection in South Africa.
Edward and Celeste married in Kensington on 4th May 1956 and honeymooned in Norway, travelling all the way up to Spitzbergen above the Arctic Circle. Edward took many photographs of the desolate Norwegian landscape and fjords and did several paintings on the way, including a painting of the small coastal village "Kristiansund"(1956).
Edward encouraged Celeste to draw and gave her her first sketchbook in August 1956 - it survives to this day. She started painting in gouache and then in oil, specialising first in painting still-life subjects, particularly flowerpieces, and later painting room interiors with figures. This was a time when Edward was doing many paintings and drawings of her, starting with the small oil "Celeste", which was painted in January 1957. He also took several photographs of her sitting and sewing in the living room at home. This provided inspiration for paintings such as "Celeste at Bolton Gardens"(c.1958).
In 1957 Edward and Celeste visited South Africa and Edward was asked to lecture for six months at the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town as Senior Lecturer, while the incumbent, Eleanor Esmonde-White, was away on sabbatical. The Michaelis School of Fine Art was one of South Africa’s leading art schools and was run at that time by Professor Rupert Shephard. Edward also became involved with the Graphic Design Department and instituted various changes to the way that graphic design was taught at the University at that time to make the graduating students' skills more commercial and attractive to future employers in advertising; the need to make art students' skills marketable was one which had been taught to him during his early days at the Central School.
During his time at Cape Town University he helped organise the auction of drawings and paintings donated to support the Treason Trial Defence Fund, set up in support of Nelson Mandela and his comrades who faced charges of high treason. When he travelled to Cape Town he brought with him some of the paintings, drawings and lithographs donated to the auction by certain British and Dutch artists. The auction was held at The Cathedral Hall, Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town on 31st January and 1st February, 1958. Edward donated an etching, appropriately entitled "Dead Protea". Other artists donating works included Hugh Casson, Mary Fedden, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland and Eleanor Esmonde - White.
During the term of his lectureship, Edward made use of his spare time drawing and painting in the Cape Town area as well as visiting other parts of the country, in particular, Pretoria where Celeste’s parents lived. Of the drawings and paintings done by him during the six months in South Africa the lithograph "Storm over Table Mountain"(1957) and several pastels and drawings of Cape Town's Malay Quarter survive. Edward also took many photographs, particularly of Table Mountain and everyday life in the Malay Quarter.
When they returned to London in early 1958, Edward was commissioned to design several more covers for the BBC's magazine "The Listener". These included "The Listener" cover of 22 May 1958, which shows his wife reading in the living room at Bolton Gardens. In the same month he painted one of his favourite oils "Celeste sewing"(1958), which was shown in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1960, along with another oil painting "Celeste resting"(1957). He also designed the cover of the Christmas 1958 issue of "The Listener".
It was also in 1958 that Edward painted one of his favourite paintings "The Princes Theatre", a nocturne study of the eponymous London theatre. Like "Essoldo Cinema, Chelsea" and "Piccadilly Circus"(1959), it studies the effect of the reflection of the neon lights from the theatre on wet city streets. By mid-1958 the Treason Trials had not yet concluded in South Africa and in July 1958 Edward received a letter from the Treason Trial Defence Committee asking him to try to procure donations for a second art auction in support of the accused. Edward wrote to a wide range of fellow artists and eventually 32 works of art were donated. The second Treason Trial Defence Fund auction took place at the same venue on 21st and 22nd April 1959. English artists contributing works included Edward Halliday, Norman Hepple, Margaret Green and Lionel Bulmer. Edward donated an ink and crayon drawing entitled "Primula"(1959).
Edward and Celeste's son, Robert Charles Bishop, named after Edward's brother killed in the Blitz, was born on 27th February 1959.
To find himself in his mid 50s with a young wife and new baby invigorated Edward both personally and in his painting. Later that year they moved to a flat at 6 East Heath Road, Hampstead, NW3, directly opposite Hampstead Heath.
They furnished the new flat with furniture and certain antiques purchased at salerooms and auctions and Edward set up a studio in one of the large upstairs rooms. He took particular pleasure in a fine pair of Boulle cabinets, a Victorian lamp, a chaise longue and various clocks. Several of these were to feature in many drawings and several paintings done in the 1970s and 1980s.
In 1960 Edward became a member of the New English Art Club. In this year he took a series of photographs of some of his favourite City churches, which he had first photographed during the Blitz, and these photographs show that many parts of the City were still being slowly rebuilt, albeit fifteen years after the War.
By 1960 Celeste was combining looking after a young son with painting regularly; she had developed her own distinctive style in the so-called "Primitive" or "Naive" school. Below is a photograph of Celeste painting at her easel which was taken by Edward around 1970 with his favourite Leica camera.
In 1960 Celeste exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition for the first time; her paintings exhibited that year were the first of over forty paintings she exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions between 1960 and her death in 1994.
By 1962 the expansion of his freelance consultancy business meant that Edward needed more space than his studio at East Heath Road could provide and in early 1962 he took on a studio in Chelsea at 1 Knights House Studios, Hortensia Road, SW10.
This studio was on the top floor of the block and a combination of the excellent natural light, very high ceiling and large space gave him ample room to work on several paintings and also design advertising campaigns and layouts at the same time.
He was undertaking design and advertising consultancies for a range of clients. His advertising and design business was called Creative Advertising Panel and its major clients were in advertising and industry. He built a darkroom to develop his many photographs using Leica and Gnome enlargers.
"In the Chelsea Studio" was painted in his studio between May 1962 and August 1966. The studio was near to the Chelsea Arts Club and Edward would regularly lunch there after his mornings work. Prominent Chelsea Arts Club members at that time included Hugh Casson, Charles Halliday and Charles Wheeler. Some members recollect how Edward would encourage younger artists to draw and sketch whenever they could and to experiment widely. He soon became more active in Chelsea Arts Club affairs.
In the early 1960's the family's regular routine at the weekends was to shop in Soho on Saturday mornings, followed by a walk by the Serpentine and sometimes a picnic in Hyde Park. Sundays invariably included a walk on Hampstead Heath. Edward would have his sketchbook at hand and observed many interesting subjects for paintings during this enjoyable weekend routine.
Edward's daily car drive to his studio took him through Camden Town and he became increasingly interested in how that area was changing. He had previously painted "Camden Town, Canal Bridge"(1961), which was in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1961. On his way home from the studio in the evening he would often stop to draw a particular building or street for a later painting. His surviving sketch books from the early 1960's are full of drawings of Camden Town streets , buildings and people. He painted "Camden Road, Camden Town"(1962), "Malden Road, Camden Town"(1963) and "Castlehaven Road, Camden Town"(1964), all of which were exhibited in Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions, in 1962, 1963 and 1964 respectively.
He was particularly interested in doing a painting of a particular building or street whilst it was in the process of being demolished or renovated. In some cases his paintings of the Camden Town area remain the sole or one of a few records of what a particular building or street was like before it was demolished. For instance in the case of one of Edward’s painting of Camden Street done in 1961, he later observed and noted on the back of the canvas that the building in question, 134 Camden Street, had been demolished in 1965.
Like "Camden Town, Canal Bridge", "Night train to Camden" is a nocturne; it was painted in 1965 and combines Edward’s interest in the Camden area with his fondness for painting the effects of neon and street lighting on a city area at night. In all Edward had five paintings of various streets and buildings in Camden Town in Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions between 1961 and 1964. He nearly always wrote the date of a painting on the back of the canvas as soon as he had finished the work and hence he fixed in time many of the changes and developments in the Camden Town area in the 1960s and early 1970s; they remain a permanent and enduring record.
Around this time he was also drawing and painting streets and buildings in nearby Kings Cross, such as "Kings Cross Railway Arches" (1961) and in and around Chalk Farm and Mornington Crescent.
In 1965 Edward was elected the Chairman of the Chelsea Arts Club, following on from Sir Henry Carr. He was re-elected for a second term as Chairman the subsequent year.
Members around this time included F.Donald Blake, Dennis Stevens, Freddie Deane, Robert Buhler and Ley Kenyon, who succeeded Edward as Chairman in 1967. The mid-sixties was a time when the Chelsea Arts Club was experiencing some financial difficulties before it opened its membership more widely; Edward lobbied fervently for women to be admitted as members and, in October 1966, the members duly voted to allow this. Edward helped to organise gala evenings in honour of distinguished women such as Dame Eva Turner, Joyce Grenfell and Elisabeth Frink. Edward, Dennis Stevens and F. Donald Blake also organised an auction of members' work in aid of the Chelsea Arts Club's "Lease Redemption Fund". In September 1965 he painted two small oils at the Club, both entitled "Club Dining Room".
Around this time Edward did a series of paintings of large tables, draped with formal cloths and sometimes combined with a deliberately modest still life subject and sometimes a bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling. These included "Table with cloth, No.4"(1967), "Table with cloth and leaves, No.6"(1967) and "Table with cloth, No.5"(1968). These paintings represent another exploration of loneliness. "The Victorian Lamp"(1967) was exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1967. He studied and pressed leaves from Hampstead Heath to perfect his understanding of their structure for his paintings.
Celeste had her first exhibition at The Grosvenor Gallery in 1968; her paintings ranged from still-life subjects, particularly flowerpieces in antique vases bursting with colour, to room interiors with figures.
In 1969 Edward painted "Charmed Magic Casements", which was inspired by the poem "Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats, and a painting with a simailar theme and pallette entitled "One Summer Night".
It was also in 1969 that Sir Henry Carr’s portrait of Celeste was exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.
Most of Edward’s self-portraits are small outline images picturing him reflected in a mirror as part of a wider painting, for instance the café theme, but "Self-Portrait"(1970) was his first surviving major self-portrait since 1948. Meanwhile Celeste was enjoying success with her own painting.
In 1971 Edward returned to the theme of painting large tables, draped with formal cloths, which he had previously explored in 1967. The 1971 series of paintings on this theme included "The Silent Room" and "Table with Lamp, No.3". This series tended to feature more elaborate still-life subjects, as well as the Victorian oil lamp and chair from East Heath Road and some of Edward's paintings on the walls. Another painting in this series was "Table with Lamp"(1972), which was shown at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1972 and reproduced in the Illustrated Catalogue.
In 1971 Kenneth Adams writing in the Financial Times described... Edward Bishop as "...a romantic Impressionist painter who had had a thirty year love affair with London.". He valued that description and the recognition that London itself and its ever-changing nature had been his principal subject and love as an artist.
In addition to his advertising and design business Creative Advertising Panel, he established Calligraphy Partners with his brother William. Edward continued to experiment with new ideas; he had long admired the art of book illustration, in particular Ernest Shephard’s illustrations for "Wind in the Willows" and John Tenniel’s illustrations in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", and around 1970 he wrote and illustrated a book for children, although he was ultimately he was unable to find a publisher willing to bear the expense of publication.
He continued to do woodcuts and linocuts and always did a festive linocut for the family's annual Christmas card. It was also in 1971 that he started learning Italian at evening class.
The annual Royal Academy Summer Exhibition was one of the highlights of the year. Edward and Celeste would ponder at length over which three paintings they would submit each year, always hoping that the Selection Committee would find favour with at least one of their paintings. On many occasions all three of his entries were accepted and hung but there were times when he was left out and this caused great disappointment. Both Edward and Celeste loved attending the annual Varnishing Day for exhibitors at the Summer Exhibition; in addition to admiring the works on show, Varnishing Day was an opportunity to meet friends and fellow artists such as Bernard Dunstan, Diana Armfield, Margaret Green and Lionel Bulmer.
Edward turned seventy in November 1972. He continued to combine his consultancy business with his painting and drawing. Around this time his clients included Baring Brothers. Christmas was always a special and happy time for the family and usually comprised Kathleen Haacke’s annual party in Hampstead on Christmas Eve, followed by Christmas Day at home. Edward would fondly recall the efforts of his mother to ensure that he and his brothers and sisters enjoyed their Christmases as children, notwithstanding the poverty of the family.
In the early-mid 1970s Edward, Celeste and Robert would regularly spend a week or two of their summer holidays visiting Ken and Mabs Ballard at their home in the small village of Aylsham in Norfolk. They would also visit Aldeburgh, Walberswick and Southwold, where Edward would make further sketches of the beaches, landscape and scenery.
During the family holiday in Norfolk and Suffolk in 1971 the family drove past a remote and spooky-looking farmhouse set back from the road on the way to Dungeness; it was the last farmhouse on that stretch of road. This inspired Edward to do the first in his series of paintings entitled "The Lonely Farmhouse near Dungeness". The series included paintings of "The Lonely Farmhouse" on a fine summer day and also at night, with only one small light visible from an upstairs window. Whereas the paintings of "The Lonely Farmhouse" during a summer day and surrounded by flowers captures the warmth of a country setting, the night studies convey a particularly eerie feeling emanating from the loneliness, darkness and space of such a remote country setting. In many ways "The Lonely Farmhouse" series again echo the loneliness of Edward's "My window is my World" paintings first painted in 1953. One early painting in the series entitled "Farmhouse near Dungeness"(c.1971) was exhibited in Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition in 1972.
He did two further paintings of Camden Town, both entitled "Camden Street, Camden Town" in 1972 and 1974. Also in early 1974 Edward did several paintings of Regents Park, including "Early Spring, Regents Park", which was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition of that year.
Sadly in June of 1974 both of Celeste’s parents died of old age in South Africa within the space of a month and Edward painted for her the emotive "Farewell"(1974).
Edward gave up the studio in Chelsea in 1975, continuing to paint and conduct his consultancy business from his studio in East Heath Road. Around this time he designed and woodcut an Ex Libris for his son. In 1977 his lineblock "Girl darning" was depicted on the Invitation for the New English Art Club's November Exhibition.
In the mid and late-1970's the family continued to spend annual summer holidays in Norfolk and Edward was inspired by much of the landscape and surroundings near Southwold and Walberswick. In 1977 he painted "Lone fisherman at Dunwich, Suffolk" and "Fisherman on a windy beach", both based on sketches done on Dunwich beach during the family holiday there; the former painting features unusually thick paint on the canvas. In the following years he continued the Suffolk paintings with "End of the summer - Southwold"(1978) and "Bathing huts, Southwold (end of season)"(1980).
In the late 1970's Edward would visit the City of London to view his favourite City churches. He sometimes drove into the City with his son Robert on sunday morning when the City was quiet. He was particularly fond of those City Churches he had photographed during the Blitz.
In 1977 Edward's painting "Building the motor tunnels behind the Mermaid (with St.Benets Church)"(c.1976) won the Lord Mayor of London's Art Award. The photograph below shows Edward discussing this painting with the Lord Mayor of London at the awards ceremony.
It was in 1978 that Edward won First Prize in the Greater London Council's "Spirit of London" competition with his painting "The River Thames (opposite the Temple Station)"(1978). Edward was particularly fond of this painting which was he felt was one of his best of the River Thames, along with the "Star and Garter" series and "Westminster from Blackfriars"(circa 1982). Whenever Edward was painting a London scene he was keen to paint it as it was rather than try to make it look more attractive or appealing; in this regard the murky grey of the Thames as well as the cranes and warehouses on the banks of the river were an accurate record of the Thames in the late 1970's. When interviewed after winning the "Spirit of London" competition, Edward commented "...To me the Thames at dusk captures the true essence of London. I spent several weeks just walking along the banks of the Thames looking for the right composition. When I found it I did a number of sketches in the early evening, from which I painted the actual picture".
It was also in 1978 that the Government Art Collection purchased "Petrol Station, Chalk Farm Road"(c. early-mid 1960's) from the Royal Society of British Artists Exhibition. It currently hangs in the British diplomatic residence in Strasbourg, France. He was continuing to produce linocuts and made one linocut of Celeste pulling the curtains in the living room at East Heath Road, which was done around this time.
He also won an award in the Hunting Group Open Competitions.
In 1979 Edward painted "Kings Cross Station Hotel (before the fire)", which incorporated several of his favourite themes, namely night illumination, London railway stations and the effect of light reflected on wet streets and pavements. It was his second painting of Kings Cross Station, following "Kings Cross Railway Arches"(1961). After the terrible fire at Kings Cross Station in 1987, Edward changed the title of this painting to reflect the time when it was painted. Like many of his Camden Town and other London paintings, "Kings Cross Station Hotel( before the fire)" is a permanent and enduring record.
It was also in 1979 that "Nude in the Cottage" was exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and reproduced in the Illustrated Catalogue of that show.
The 1980's was one of the most productive decades of Edward's life in terms of the quality and number of paintings he produced. Indeed his output in the early-mid 1980's probably ranks alongside his work in the late 1940's-early 1950's and the Camden Town paintings of the early-mid 1960's as the most productive years of his life.
It was a particular feature of Edward's work that when he became intrigued by certain themes he liked to revisit the subject after the passage of time, sometimes decades, and undertake new paintings of the subject or theme. In this regard, nearly all his favourite lifetime subjects and themes are represented by major paintings done in the 1980's. These include paintings of the River Thames, Sloane Square, cafe interiors, London buildings, flower-pieces, the living room and summer balconies at East Heath Road, as well as Hampstead subjects and self-portraits. Many of the paintings completed in this decade were large works, a large number being 28 x 36 inches.
In 1980 he painted "The Red Umbrella" which is a fine example of the artist’s combined themes of café interior and self-portrait. "The Red Umbrella" is set in a café or restaurant and features a young woman waiting for her dinner partner to arrive. Before painting "The Red Umbrella", Edward undertook a series of pastel studies and smaller oil paintings on the subject to refine the idea to exactly what he wanted; examples of these are also shown inset below.
The following year Edward painted "Sloane Square, Christmas Time"(1981), which was to be his last major painting of the Sloane Square area. This painting also continues his tradition of painting major London landmarks at night and exploring the effects of urban neon light and illumination on the chosen buildings and streets, particularly after a rain-shower, a theme previously explored in "Essoldo Cinema, Chelsea"(1950), "The Princes Theatre"(1958) and "Piccadilly Circus"(1959). The rich colours of the Sloane Square Christmas illuminations emphasise both light and colour and evoke the atmosphere and enjoyment of the festive season in a winter setting.
"The Studio Club remembered"(1982) is a fond reminiscing of that Club were he spent so many pleasant evenings in the early 1950s and where he met Celeste. The atmosphere and rich crimson pallette of this painting has affinities with "The Red Umbrella" painted two years previously.
In the early 1980s Edward was continuing to produce lithographs and pen and ink drawings, particularly of flowers from Celeste’s garden at East Heath Road; "Fuchsia"(1982) was produced in a limited edition of fifty.
Edward's continuing love of painting the River Thames reached its height in this decade with "Westminster from Blackfriars"(c.1982) and two further "Star and Garter" paintings, namely "The Star and Garter, No.2"(1983), which was in the 1984 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, and "The Star and Garter revisited"(1985). "The Star and Garter, No2" makes interesting comparison with the first "Star and Garter" painting done over thirty years previously in 1952. Before painting "The Star and Garter, No.2" he undertook a series of small oils on the subject, some of which were separately exhibited and also survive to this day.
"The English Country Teahouse"(1983) shows a solitary woman taking tea in a country teahouse. Unusually for Edward a green palette dominates the painting. "The English Country Teahouse" was exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1995.
In summer 1981 Edward painted a small oil "Celeste pulling the curtain". This painting inspired him to undertake his impressive series of five large paintings combining the themes of intimate room interior with a summer window showing a balcony of flowers in full bloom. The first two were "Summer Balcony"(1982) and "Last Summer at the Cottage"(1984), which were both exhibited at Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions, in 1982 and 1984 respectively, and also reproduced in the Illustrated Catalogues for those years.
"The Blue Parasol" is the third in this series and is based on the living room at East Heath Road and set in mid-summer with a balcony of flowers in full bloom. Like "The Red Umbrella" it also features a brightly coloured parasol. "Balcony in the Sun"(1984) is the fourth in the series and was bought by The British Petroleum Company p.l.c. from the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1985. This painting, and the second "Balcony in the Sun", which was painted three years later in 1987, are both of the second bedroom at East Heath Road, looking out on to the balcony in summertime; the warm sunlight in the room and on the balcony and abundance of bright flowers capture many of the simple joys and harmonies of summer.
Edward painted a series of large oils of summer flowers in the mid -1980s. Celeste would often bring in selected summer flowers from her garden and the still life would be set-up on a table in Edward’s studio. Both "Meadowsweet in a Victorian Jug"(c. mid-1980s) and "Vase with Flowers"(1985) were painted in the studio; in both cases furniture and possessions in his studio at that time can be clearly seen in the background. "Summer Flowers"(c.mid -1980s) was another painting in this series. He also painted many smaller oils of flower-pieces during these years.
Throughout the 1980s Edward produced further work in "The Lonely Farmhouse" series; "Farmhouse near Dungeness revisited" was exhibited in Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition in 1985. He also undertook a few final paintings on the Studio Club theme.
In the mid-late 1980s Edward did a series of further paintings on the self-portrait in a café theme; these included "Self portrait in a Café, No.2"(1986-1988) and "Man in a Café"(1987), which was sold at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1987 and reproduced in the Illustrated Catalogue of that year. He was continuing to record the changing nature of the Camden area and "Demolition of the Prince of Wales Crescent" was painted in 1986.
Another favoured subject revisited in the 1980’s was Edward's love of the Serpentine, which he had first painted over forty years previously. His final major Serpentine painting was "Evening by the Serpentine"(1987). It was also in 1987 that he painted his final Suffolk painting "Aldeburgh 1936", which was based on the sketches done during his first visit to the area in 1936. His lifelong friend Frank Hughes died in late 1987.
He continued to experiment with new themes and in January 1988 painted "Dancer resting".
In the 1980s he also made several more paintings of Regents Park, including "Regent's Park Bandstand in Winter"(1982) and "Regent's Park Kiosk"(1983). It was the same bandstand that was later blown up by a terrorist bomb. Edward had long admired the winter snow landscapes of Alfred Sisley and Camille Pissarro and in 1986 painted "Widford Church under snow".
By the mid-1980's Edward had been working in his studio at East Heath Road for nearly thirty years and it had evolved into a haven packed with many of his own paintings stacked in rows, sketches pinned up on the walls, work of other artists purchased over the decades, piles of art books and numerous other items of artists paraphernalia, including paintboxes, his two large easels, busts of notable people and antique clocks.
Edward continued to be active in New English Art Club affairs throughout the eighties. He became the NEAC's First Keeper in 1980. He particularly enjoyed being part of the Selection Committee selecting paintings for forthcoming NEAC exhibitions. Tom Coates' fine oil painting "Selection Committee", which was inspired by Sir William Orpen's 1909 painting "The Selecting Jury of the New English Art Club", perfectly captures the atmosphere of the NEAC's Selection Committee at that time. Members of the NEAC pictured in "Selection Committee" include Diana Armfield, Ken Howard, Bill Bowyer, Tom Coates , Edward Pullee, Mitzi McCall, Jacqui Rizvi, Bob Brown, Charlotte Halliday and Diana Calvert. Edward is pictured in the middle of the painting with his left hand raised.
Occasionally Edward would also do further work on a painting well after it was first painted; "The Blue Parasol" is an example of this as he did further work on this painting in November 1985.
During this time he continued to make his own picture frames and would always draw his wife a special card for her birthday each 1st November, a wedding anniversary card in May and produce a family Christmas card, usually a linocut.
Edward retained his love of poetry and would often quote his favourite poems and sayings he had memorised many years previously. He would sometimes quote the line "If only we were young and foolish again", which was a particular favourite.
In September 1988 Lintas hosted an Exhibition in London at Agnews, which was a retrospective of selected work of some of the artists who had worked at Lintas between 1930 and 1950. It was entitled "Beyond the Horizon" and included works by Ivor Cooper, John Passmore, Keith Vaughan and Reg Jenkins. Edward's five exhibits, included "The Dispossessed : Tramps in Shelter"(1942) and "Still Life with Lupins"(1938), as well as the small woodcut "So they took a studio in Chelsea"(1930).
In 1989 fellow artist and friend Bernard Dunstan R.A. did a series of pastels and paintings of Edward and Celeste in the living room at East Heath Road. One of these fine works was reproduced on the Invitation card for the New English Art Club’s Annual Exhibition in 1989.
Well into his late eighties Edward would take daily walks on Hampstead Heath near his home, particularly enjoying the stroll to the Vale of Health and the ponds; he had become a familiar and distinctive figure with his trademark beret and walking stick. These walks provided numerous subjects and themes for drawings and paintings [and Edward always had a pencil and some spare paper to quickly sketch a view or idea before it went]. His paintings of Hampstead Heath include "Lime Avenue", "Moonlight over Hampstead"(c.1978)(Plate), "Fisherman, Hampstead Ponds"(1983), "Kenwood House from Hampstead"(1986), "Moonrise over Hampstead"(1989), "Parliament Hill" and as well as several oils of The Vale of Health. Other paintings of Hampstead include "Whitestone Pond, Hampstead"(c.1982?), "Woodland Cottage"(1978), which is based on a house in Gainsborough Gardens and which was in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1979, "The Roebuck Pub, Hampstead"(1988) and several paintings entitled "Primrose Hill". Edward also produced an ink and watercolour work "St. Johns Church, Downshire Hill"(c.mid 1970's), a painting and a linocut of the spire of Christ Church, Hampstead as seen from his studio in East Heath Road entitled "Attic Room".
Edward stepped down as Keeper of the New English Art Club in early 1989.
After a major operation in September 1991 Edward did not find himself able to undertake large paintings, but would occasionally sketch and spend happy hours in his studio looking at his paintings, drawings, photographs and negatives. With the support and devotion of Celeste, he remained enthusiastic and positive about the wonders and joys of painting and drawing and was full of encouragement to others.
He did continued to exhibit, principally at the New English Art Club and in Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions and occasionally showed some of his Aldeburgh and Walberswick paintings at the Chappel Gallery in Essex. Another much later painting of the Princes Theatre done from the sketches made in the 1950's was "Theatre at Night" which was in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1992.
Celeste suffered a cruel and early death from cancer on 27th October 1994, at the age of 63. Edward was nearly 92 and was badly affected by her passing. Many people feared for his future but again he demonstrated his determination to continue and to enjoy his life as much as possible; continuing to think about painting was a major comfort and his last years were happy ones.
Although no longer painting, he loved to talk about, and look at photos of, his favourite paintings and think fondly of future exhibitions. In 1995 he was delighted when his painting "The English Country Teahouse"(1983) was exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.
Edward's last painting in an exhibition before his death was "Welsh Farmhouse Window", which was sold in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1997.
Edward died peacefully of old age on 7th June 1997, aged 94. Less than twenty-four hours before he died he had been talking with his son about some of his favourite paintings and about "Welsh Farmhouse Window".
Both the Royal Society of British Artists and the New English Art Club included some of Edward’s finest lifetime paintings in "In Memoriam" sections in their Annual Exhibitions at the end of 1997. His three paintings at the Royal Society of British Artists Exhibition were "Celeste at Bolton Gardens"(1958), "Girl with a Victorian Lamp"(circa 1980) and "Bandstand, Regents Park"(1982).
His five paintings at The New English Art Club's 150th Annual Exhibition between 6th-17th November 1997 were "Evening by the Serpentine, No.1"(1945), "Celeste sewing"(1958), "In the Chelsea Studio"(1962), "The English Country Teahouse"(1983) and "Summer Flowers"(c. mid-1980’s).
In the Catalogue for this Exhibition, the Executive Committee of The New English said "...Edward Bishop worked tirelessly during his time with the New English to improve the Club and his efforts have been an inspiration to those who have succeeded him".
The selections of paintings in both those Exhibitions and also in the following colour plates in The Gallery display the style and variety of Edward Bishop's lifetime's work.
Balfour, Michael; "Propaganda in War 1939 - 1945" published in 1979 by Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd.
Bishop, Edward; photographs, diaries and newspaper and magazine articles and clippings 1919-1997.
Chelsea Arts Club; catalogues, posters, cards and ephemera.
Cross, Tom; "Artists and Bohemians - 100 Years with the Chelsea Arts Club" published in 1992.
Cuppleditch, David; "The London Sketch Club" published by Sutton Publishing in 1994.
Lintas Worldwide "Beyond the Horizon - a collection of paintings from artists who worked at the Lintas Advertising Agency 1930-1950" published in 1988 by Lintas Worldwide.
London Sketch Club (The); lists of members, posters, cards and ephemera.
McLaine, Ian; "Ministry of Morale - Home Front Morale and the Ministry of Information in World War Two" published in 1979 by George Allen & Unwin.
Ministry of Information Overseas Planning Committee "Propaganda Plans" in the archives at The Imperial War Museum, London.
New English Art Club (The); Exhibition catalogues, posters, cards and ephemera.
Royal Academy of Arts "Summer Exhibition Catalogues" 1941-1997 and "Illustrated Catalogues".
Selborne, Joanna; "The Wood Engraving Revival".
Studio Club (The); publications and ephemera.
Tames, Richard; "An illustrated life of William Morris" published by Shire Publications in 1996.
Treason Trial Defence Fund (South Africa); "Catalogue of an Auction of Paintings, Lithographs, Etchings, Sculpture, Autographed Books, Africana, Rarities and Objects d'Art in aid of The Treason Trial Defence Fund held at The Cathedral Hall, Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town on January 31st and February 1st, 1958".
Treason Trial Defence Fund (South Africa); "Catalogue of a Collection of Paintings, Drawings, Lithographs, Etchings, Sculpture, Africana, Rarities and Objects d'Art in aid of The Treason Trial Defence Fund held at The Cathedral Hall, Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town on April 21st and 22nd, 1959".
"Who's who in Art"(twenty-seventh edition) published by the Art Trade Press Ltd.
I would like to thank The Imperial War Museum, The Royal Academy of Arts Library and The London Sketch Club for access to their respective archives and also thank George Butler, Margaret Stavridi, Joanna Selborne, David Cuppleditch, Jacqueline Rizvi, Eleanor Esmonde-White, Cynthia Stirrup and Julie Bishop for their comments and assistance in the preparation of the book at different times between 1997 and 2017 and also thank Victor Jacobs and his team of Photoland, Sydney who, in 2017, digitized the transparencies commissioned by the author from Derek Askem in London in 1997-1998. Robert Bishop
Robert Bishop is the only child of Edward Bishop and his wife Celeste Radloff. He grew up in Hampstead, London and then read Law at Bristol University. He qualified as a Solicitor and now practices as a corporate financier in Sydney, Australia. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on phone (+61) 417 445 180.
Copyright text and paintings and images: Robert C.Bishop 2024. Robert C.Bishop has asserted his right to be identified as the author of this work in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and other domestic and international laws.
Pastel (19 x 24)
Oils on canvas (28 x 36)
Oils on canvas (28 x 36)
Oils on canvas (16 x 12)
Oils on canvas (24 x 30)
Oils on board (26 x 32)
Oils on board (28 x 36)
Oils on canvas (28 x 38)
Oils on canvas (28x36)
(July-August 1984 and November 1985)
Oils on board (28x36)
Oils on canvas
(August-September-November 1986 and January 1988)
Oils on board
Oils on board (36 x 28)
Copyright text and paintings and images: Robert C.Bishop .
Robert C.Bishop has asserted his right to be identified as the author of this work in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and other domestic and international laws.
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