Brenda Bury's biography

Brenda Bury was born, educated, and trained in England. She took an Honours Degree in Fine Art at the University of Reading in order to study with Anthony Betts, himself a pupil and friend of Sargent, Whistler and Sickert. The influences of these painters are evident in her work. Brenda began her professional life by painting Lord and Lady St. Oswald at their estate, Nostell Priory in Yorkshire. Throughout their lives, these, her first sitters, were her friends and patrons. With their encouragement, she painted members of the Royal Family, the aristocracy and the British Government.

Brenda Bury took a studio in London's Chelsea, but before doing this, she went to Canada for just over a year, where she painted portraits, beginning with the then Prime Minister Mr. Diefenbaker. She left reluctantly, but felt that she could better improve her skills as a painter in England, a country with a strong tradition for portraiture. In 1964, she painted Lord Mountbatten of Burma at his house, Broadlands. He became an enthusiastic supporter of her work, and it was he who was able to arrange for her to paint the Queen. The Queen was amiable and friendly, as were her courtiers. Most important, the artist's mother lived long enough to tell absolutely everybody in their Yorkshire village that her daughter was at Buckingham Palace painting the Queen.

In the 1980s, Brenda Bury felt she was ready to return to Canada, and took a studio. She had hardly unpacked before she found herself back in England for a visit to number 10 Downing Street to paint a life-size group portrait of Prime Minister Thatcher and her advisors in the Falklands conflict. This led to other interesting commissions. She now works on both sides of the Atlantic from her base in Toronto where she lives with her husband, scientist John Polanyi.

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