East London Group

Brynhild Parker: 10/02/1907 to 28/05/1987

Brynhild or Bryn as she was more commonly known was born in Letchworth in Hertfordshire, the eldest of three sisters. Her family background was reasonably “comfortable” and her Father’s artistic associations meant that she was exposed to a creative environment whilst growing up. Harold Gillman lived in the house next door and fellow Camden Town Group member William Ratcliffe was a friend of Stanley Parker, Bryn’s father and he also lived in Letchworth, on and off, for forty years.

On completion of her schooling in Letchworth Bryn then attended The Slade School of Fine Art in 1925 where she gained a series of prizes before achieving her diploma in 1928. She did not attend the evening classes with John Cooper but she was invited to exhibit in the Group’s touring exhibition at Mere Hall, Bolton in 1930 having previously exhibited alongside Group members at the Young Painters’ Society show earlier that year. She exhibited at the second Group show at Alex. Reid and Lefevre in December 1930 and would contribute to all Group shows thereafter up until 1936. In 1935 and again in 1938 Lefevre hosted solo exhibitions for her: the former showing 22 pictures and the latter 40. Her work sold well and she moved in social and artistic circles that were unfamiliar to many of her ELG colleagues

Throughout her career she seems to have had a great affection for France as she depicted several French subjects in her work that was exhibited at the Group shows. After a period of teaching art at Letchworth Grammar School during the forties and following the death of both her mother and aunt in 1949 Bryn took the plunge and moved to France, settling in Antibes where she met Pierre Gastaud. The pair became members of the vibrant art scene on the Côte d’Azur centred around Pablo Picasso and she exhibited in many shows alongside him. Through her uncle, Barry Parker, Bryn had connections to Helford in Cornwall where he had built a house. She would paint there whilst on holiday in England and often saw her fellow Group member and life-long friend, Ruth Collet (nee Salaman): the pair maintained in correspondence until very shortly before Bryn died in 1987.