Emily Beatrice Bland, NEAC (1864-1951), sometimes known as Beatrice Bland
Emily Beatrice Bland was a prolific painter in oils who specialised in fresh, light-toned landscapes and floral still lifes, in the tradition of English Impressionism. Emily Beatrice Bland was born in Coleby, Lincolnshire, on 11 May 1864, the only daughter and second child of George Bland, a gentleman farmer and land agent, and his wife, Mary (née Hinchliff). Little is known about her early life, but the family lived for a time in Coleby Hall, a Jacobean Manor house in the Lincolnshire village where her father employed 16 men and 10 boys.
Bland attended Lincoln School of Art before moving to London to study at the Slade School of Fine Art between 1892 and 1894 under the formidable Henry Tonks and Frederick Brown. It seems likely that she had moved to London earlier, as she exhibited her first painting, Chrysanthemums at the Royal Academy in 1890, when she was listed as living at 27 Harewood Square, NW.
Bland’s success as an artist is reflected in her prolific exhibiting career. She showed work at the Royal Academy of Arts annually between 1906 and 1950, as well as in 1890 and 1898, by which time she was living at Glebe Place, Chelsea, a street which has since become synonymous with its artistic residents. She first exhibited at the New English Art Club in 1897 and was elected a member in 1926.
Though her preferred subject appears to have been floral still life, Bland is also remembered for her wide-ranging landscape painting inspired by her travels on the south coasts of England and France, and across Europe.
Bland moved in literary as well as artistic circles.
She became a friend and neighbour of the novelist, Compton Mackenzie, and his wife, Faith, and through them met D H Lawrence in Taormina in the winter of 1920-21. She and Lawrence developed a brief correspondence and, in one letter, he praised the work that she had produced in Sicily (see James T Boulton and Andrew Robertson (eds), The Letters of D H Lawrence. Vol III: October 1916-June 1921, Cambridge University Press, 1984, Page 671).
In 1922, Bland held her first solo show at the Leicester Galleries, and may have held another solo show there in 1925. She had solo shows at Redfern Gallery and Arthur Tooth & Son, and her independence is demonstrated in her listing herself in numerous censuses as ‘artist’ of ‘own account’ and as a ‘landscape painter’. Throughout her lifetime, she also exhibited at the New English Art Club, the Fine Art Society, Burlington House, the Goupil Gallery and the Ridley Art Club. In 1940, a landscape painting entitled The Orchard was purchased by Queen Elizabeth, consort to King George VI. The Chantry Bequest bought two works for the Tate collection: Striped Camellias (1927), when the painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1929, and Yachts at Lymington (circa 1938) when it was exhibited at the same venue in 1938.
Emily Beatrice Bland remained independent throughout her life, living alone at 6 Milton Chambers, 128 Cheyne Walk, from 1906 until her death on 20 January 1951.
She was recognised in her obituary in The Times as ‘the most popular of the group of talented women artists of about the same age who trained at the Slade School under Professor Fred Brown’.
Her work is represented in numerous public collections including Tate; and Manchester Art Gallery and the Walker Art Gallery (Liverpool).
Further reading: ‘Miss Beatrice Bland’ [obituary], The Times, 24 January 1951, Page 8