Bernard Fleetwood Walker PRBSA


Dr Marie Considine, Gallery Director of the RBSA Gallery, has completed her PhD at the University of Birmingham (graduated 2012) entitled: ‘The Social, Political and Economic Determinants of a Modern Portrait Artist: Bernard Fleetwood-Walker (1893-1965)’.

As the first major study of this portrait artist, her thesis locates Fleetwood-Walker in his social, political and economic context, arguing that his portraiture can be seen as an exemplar of modernity. The portraits are shown to be responses to modern life, revealed not in formally avant-garde depictions, but in the subject-matter. Industrial growth, the increasing population, expanding suburbs, and a renewed interest in the outdoor life and popular entertainment are reflected in Fleetwood-Walker’s artistic output. The role played by exhibition culture in the creation of the portraits is analysed: developing retail theory affected gallery design and exhibition layout and in turn impacted on the size, subject matter and style of Fleetwood-Walker’s portraits.  Emerging, and soon dominant, tabloid newspapers shaped content and language to attract readers, influencing the articulation of the reception of the artist’s work.  This thesis also makes a contribution to the regional perspective, demonstrating the temporary co-existence of multiple, heterogeneous, modern art worlds. Throughout the thesis the relevance of economic factors is emphasised, reappraising the Marxist theory of modern art and concluding that a more complex economic description is required to provide a sensitive and insightful analysis of art history.

To read Marie's thesis in full, please go to the University of Birmingham's eTheses repository.

To be directed to the University of Birmingham's Department of Art History, Film and Visual Studies, please click here.

Key Dates

  • PhD

    Marie Considine, Gallery Director of the RBSA Gallery, has completed her PhD thesis on Bernard Fleetwood Walker (1893-1965).