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Edward Bird trained as a japanning artist in Wolverhampton, decorating laquered tinplate domestic items, particularly trays. He moved to Bristol in about 1794 and continued japanning to make a living while he established himself as a 'Portrait, Landscape and Historical Painter' and opened an 'evening Drawing Academy' for young gentlemen. He befriended Edward Villiers Rippingille and began the sketching meetings where the Bristol School artists met and worked together. Bird is best known for his genre painting such as 'The Reading of the Will Concluded'. They often include portraits of friends, for which he was compared to the Scottish artist, David Wilkie. It was Bird's influence which stimulated the flourishing of Bristol genre painting, particularly in the work of Rippingille, Samuel Colman and Rolinda Sharples.
oil on mahogany panel
H 34.2 x W 26.1 cm
purchased with the assistance of the Art Fund, the Friends of Bristol Art Gallery and the Resource/Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund, 2002