1921 - 2018

Bettina Shaw-Lawrence

Betty V. Shaw-Lawrence, was born at Wandsworth, London on 29 July 1921, a twin brother Patrick John died shortly after birth, daughter of Lawrence Ernest Shaw-Lawrence (1 June 1888-5 February 1984), a pilot, and his wife Muriel Alfreda née Saltmarshe (11 March 1898-1975), a commercial artist, who married at Kingston, Surrey in 1918 and in 1939 were living at 22 Grove Gardens, Twickenham, London, when Lawrence was a secretary and Muriel, a fashion artist. Betty left school at the age of 15 and in 1938 studied painting in Paris with Fernand Léger (1881-1955) and studied sculpture with Ossip Zadkine (1888-1967) for about a year. At the outbreak of the Second World War she returned to her parents home then at 30 The Green, Richmond-on-Thames where there was a studio awaiting her and where her parents welcomed many poets and artists, including Dylan and Caitlin Thomas. Bettina, as she was known, spent the summer of 1940 at Cedric Morris’s [q.v.] East Anglian School of Painting at Benton End, Hadleigh, Suffolk, during which time one of the students was Lucien Freud [q.v.] with whom she had a close relationship and where her portrait was painted by fellow East Anglian School artist David Kentish [q.v]. Bettina’s style, whatever she drew or painted, was totally original and recognisable at a glance. Her works, whether in pen and ink or oils, were compared to stage sets, each one a poetic world at once romantic and ominous. She exhibited in mixed exhibitions both at the Lefevre and Leger Galleries with her first solo show, after she had returned to Paris at the end of the war, was at the Leicester Galleries in 1947. She travelled extensively in Europe and lived in Madrid and in Rome 1959–1967 and has also exhibited in Paris, Rome and New York. She married in Paris 1946/1950, John M. Bryan, with whom she had a daughter Julia, the marriage ended in divorce in 1958 when she and her daughter moved to Rome. After a move back to London in the late 60s Bettina, as both Bettina Shaw-Lawrence, and as Betty V. Bryan, married secondly at Chelsea, London in 1967, William Robert Price, a psychologist, but that marriage also ended in divorce. In the 80s she settled back in Italy, where she lived in Trevignano, close to her daughter, until her death on 12 September 2018, aged 97. There is a painting of Bettina by her friend David Kentish [q.v.] which is included under his works.

Works by This Artist