Bernard Fleetwood-Walker RA (1893 - 1965)
RA Collection: People and Organisations
Bernard Fleetwood-Walker was a talented and dedicated artist who spent many years as an influential teacher of painting.
Born and raised in Birmingham, Fleetwood-Walker began his artistic training studying silver- and goldsmithing before taking up painting at the Birmingham School of Arts and Crafts.
During the First World War, Fleetwood-Walker served as a sniper in France while continuing to make drawings. He even painted mural decorations in an abandoned warehouse that was being used as a mess room for Christmas in 1918.
After the War, Fleetwood-Walker returned to Birmingham and in 1920 married Marjorie White, with whom he had two sons. He established a reputation as a thorough and demanding – and highly respected – teacher at schools and art colleges in the city. Simultaneously, Fleetwood-Walker was honing his skills as a portraitist and painter of groups of figures. He received numerous portrait commissions, including of prominent figures local to the Birmingham area.
Fleetwood-Walker exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1925 and was elected an Associate Royal Academician in 1946 before becoming a full RA in 1956. In total, he showed 147 works at the Summer Exhibition. His reputation as a painter and educator led to a string of society memberships including the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, the New English Art Club, the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists. A lifelong affiliation with his West Midlands hometown made him proud to be the only RA from Birmingham who still lived and worked in the city.
Following the death of his wife Marjorie, Fleetwood-Walker remarried and continued to work in Birmingham until 1956. In this year he moved to Chelsea to be close to the RA so he could focus on teaching the students at the RA Schools. He was active as a painter and teacher until his death in 1965.
Born: 22 March 1893 in Birmingham, West Midlands, England, United Kingdom
Died: 30 January 1965
Elected ARA: 26 April 1946
Elected RA: 21 February 1956
Preferred media: Painting