Reginald Brill (British 1902-1974)


A neoclassical building with construction in the foreground

Signed l.r.: REGINALD BRILL, bodycolour and watercolour over traces of pencil on artist’s board, framed in a dark brown wooden moulding

44 x 27.5 cm; 17 1/4 x 10 2/4 inches

This appears to be an early work by Brill, of an as yet unidentified building.    

Brill worked in oil and watercolour and was a fine draughtsman of landscapes, figure studies and portraits. His work has a narrative theme and an interest in people in their environments and every day events. Born in Lancashire, he spent two years at Harrogate School of Art before moving to London in1917 where he attended evening classes at St Martin’s School of Art. He studied under Henry Tonks at the Slade School from 1921-1923. Brill won the Prix de Rome for painting and was at the British School in Rome 1927-9. He worked in Cairo in 1930. Brill exhibited at the RA, Leicester Galleries and in East Anglia, where he lived, at Lavenham. He was principal of Kingston School of Art from 1934 for 30 years. He was the author of‘Modern Painting’ and ‘Art as a Career’. Brill’s major series of work, known as ‘The Martyrdom of Man’, was carried on in parallel to his career as a teacher. These paintings reflect his care for his fellow man and depict people at work, with titles such as The Operation, The Jury, Linemen, Waiting Room and Rest. 

Kingston Polytechnic, the Royal Borough and the Phoenix Gallery organised a retrospective in Kingston in 1985, with another at the Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University, 1999.

I am grateful to Peyton Skipwith and Leo Duff for their comments on the present drawing.