Remembering Bernard Dunstan (1920-2017)

We have received the sad news that Bernard Dunstan NEAC RA RWA PS Hon died on Sunday 20 August at the age of 97.

Born in 1920 in Teddington, Bernard initially studied at Byam Shaw School of Art and then at the Slade School of Fine Art, London from 1939 to 1941. An influential teacher and writer on painting, he taught at Camberwell and Byam Shaw and wrote many books including 'Learning to Paint' and 'Painting Methods of the Impressionists'. He also prepared a wonderful annotated version of Ruskin’s 'Elements of Drawing'.


He exhibited regularly with Roland, Browse and Delbanco, London from 1952 to 1970, and with Agnews, London, since 1972. He also exhibited annually in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, with the New English Art Club, and his work is held in many private collections.


Bernard was elected to the New English Art Club in 1947, became a Royal Academician in 1968, becoming its longest serving member. He was President of the Royal West of England Academy from 1979 to 1984.


He married the painter Diana Armfield in 1949 and they lived and worked in Kew, Surrey.


As news of Bernard’s death became known, many of our New English painters have been in touch with their recollections and thoughts:


What an inspiration he was. I think I can honestly say that he opened my eyes to the true poetry of paint. I discovered his little Studio Vista book on still life about 45 years ago in our tiny library in Ascot. The page fell open to reveal the most sublime still life - my heart missed a beat. I was so moved by the beautiful close tones, the touch and beauty of the paint.Salliann Putman


When I was teaching I used 'Paintings in Progress' and his annotated Ruskin more than any other books. A wonderful painter and British art will be a much poorer place without him.” Paul Handley


"His paintings are a direct link to the world of Bonnard and Sickert" James Bland


For myself, I think Bernard’s own motto which heads his page on our website says a great deal:


Paint what you love, love what you paint


Richard Pikesley 22 August 2017

August 22, 2017