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Marjorie Frances ‘Midge’ Bruford

(Eastbourne 1902-1958 Exeter)

Still life of hydrangeas, lilies and St. John’s Wort in a jug by a window, a garden beyond, c. 1930

oil on canvas

signed lower right ‘BRUFORD’

58 x 48 cm.

Marjory (Midge) Frances Bruford was born in 1902, one of six children of an Eastbourne goldsmith and a Truro-born mother, Clara Bodilly. The Cradock family of Mousehole also formed part of her extended Cornish family. Midge’s Cornish links were further strengthened at Badminton School, Bristol, where she met the artist John Lamorna Birch’s daughters - Carol and Elizabeth, and formed a life-long friendship with Elizabeth (Mornie).

After Badminton, Midge headed to Newlyn for formal art training at the school of painting established there by Harold Harvey and Ernest Procter. She also modelled for her tutors and quickly established herself as a professional artist. Following a short spell in Paris, her talents were quickly recognised when her first Royal Academy painting Girl at the Dresserappeared at the 1924 summer exhibition. Over the next three decades, 31 of her paintings were shown at the Academy.

Midge Bruford’s art was set in West Cornwall. She worked from studios at Paul, Mousehole and Newlyn and she lived for a while at Bochym Manor near Mullion Cove with fellow artist Richard ‘Seal’ Weatherby. Around this time Midge and Weatherby became engaged to be married but the engagement didn’t last.

During her career Midge exhibited regularly with the Newlyn and St. Ives artists. She died in November 1958 at Poltimore Nursing Home, Exeter, following a lengthy illness which her family believed was contracted from a monkey which Midge had rescued from a travelling organ grinder...

Biography courtesy of Penlee House Gallery, Penzance

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