Bryan Kneale b. 1930

Born in the Isle of Man, Bryan Kneale originally studied painting at Douglas School of Art in 1947 and then at the Royal Academy Schools, London from 1948 to 1952 where he received a Rome Scholarship in Painting.


While travelling Italy extensively he was greatly affected and influenced by his visits to Paestum and Pompeii, as well as by the contemporary work of the futurists and metaphysical painters. Upon his return to London Kneale began using a palette knife as a tool for painting, constructing the work; his paintings gained a strong following and he painted the portraits of Richard Attenborough and Normal Parkinson to name but a few. However, painting in this manner soon ceased to interest Kneale and in 1959, his thoughts still on sculpture, he learnt to forge and weld.


His method of working in metal is instant, it is a direct way of making sculpture and the artist can become involved in the actual making of the piece the same second as he has the idea; designing in the process of making. For Kneale making sculpture is a process of self-discovery. His innate fear of repetition means that once a form becomes familiar it is immediately discarded. What has been previously made will inform future new sculpture and will change the development of his work but that form as it stands will not continue.


Most of his teaching career was spent at the Royal College of Art, London, where he started in 1952 and became Tutor (1963-1980), Senior Tutor (1980-85), Head of Sculpture (1985-90) and Professor of Drawing (1990-95). He was also Head of Sculpture at Hornsey College of Art (1968) and Professor of Sculpture at the Royal Academy Schools from (1980-87).

Kneale's first solo show with paintings was in 1954 with the Redfern Gallery, London. He continued to exhibit there regularly until 1986. Other solo shows include a retrospective of his work at the Whitechapel Art Gallery (1966), the Serpentine Gallery, London (1978), and further retrospectives at the Henry Moore Gallery, Royal College of Art, London (1986), Royal West of England Academy (1995), and a drawing retrospective at the Natural History Museum (1991). Kneale has participated in many group shows, both in the UK and Europe. These include 'Sculpture International', Battersea Park, London (1963-1966), 'British Sculpture in the 60s', Tate Gallery, London (1966), 'New Art', Hayward Gallery 1975 and 'Chelsea Harbour Sculpture Show' (1993). Kneale also curated and exhibited in British Sculptors, Royal Academy of Arts (1972) and Jubilee Exhibition of British Sculpture, Battersea Park (1977).

Kneale won the Leverhulme Prize in 1952, the Daily Express Young Painters' Prize in 1955 and received an Arts Council Purchase Award in 1969. He was elected Royal Academician in 1974 (ARA 1970), the first abstract sculptor to join, and is a Trustee of the Royal Academy of Arts and a Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art.