BRILL, Reginald Charles

1902 - 1974

Reginald Brill

Reginald Charles Brill, was born at Hither Green, Lewisham, London on 6 May 1902, son of Henry Brill (1852-1908), a general labourer. He spent some of his early childhood in Yorkshire and in 1915 studied at Harrogate School of Art, before returning to live in lodgings in London and, working in a city office, studied in the evenings at St Martinís School of Art, London and in 1920 awarded a scholarship at the Slade School, working under Henry Tonks (1862-1937) for three years. On leaving Slade he found patronage in Lincolnshire painting murals for Christopher Hatton-Turnor (1873-1940). By 1925 he was back in London and married at Fulham Registry Office on 12 October 1925, Ethel Rosie Clarke, Rosalie Brill and working freelance on 'Lansbury's Labour Weekly' and in 1929 painted George Lansbury's portrait. When Brill won a scholarship in Decorative Painting for his 'Expulsion from Eden' for the London Museum, he and Rosalie, as his wife was known, took up residence at the British School of Rome 1927-1929 where he was awarded the coveted Prix de Rome in Decorative Painting in 1927. After his return to England, he taught at Blackheath School of Art and in 1930 was invited by the Egyptian Government to spend six months in Cairo and Alexandria, returning to England via the Greek Islands and Italy and in 1931 he exhibited at the Royal Academy a tempera painting 'Young Women of Rome'. In January 1934, he took over as head at the Kingston School of Art where he remained until 1962 and they have the 'Brill Collection' of watercolours. Brill's early patrons included Col Thomas Gayer Gayer-Anderson who, with his twin brother, bequeathed their Tudor home The Little Hall, Lavenham, Suffolk to Surrey County Council, owners of Kingston School of Art, for use as a hostel for art students. Brill and his wife retired to Lavenham in 1962 and became wardens: today the house is the headquarters of the Suffolk Preservation Society. Brill had a studio in Lavenham Guildhall from where he travelled to Sudbury and Bury St Edmundís and as far away as Kingís Lynn, Norfolk, to draw livestock auctions, also drawing local scenes and views. During his career he published two books 'Modern Painting' (1946) and 'Art as a Career' (1962) and was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions and had a major retrospective exhibition at Phoenix Gallery, Lavenham just before his death at Lavenham on 14 June 1974.

Works by This Artist