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Bryan Kneale

Epithet: Manx sculptor (b.1930)

Record type: Biographies

Biography: Bryan Kneale is the son of William Kneale who was editor of the Manx newspaper 'The Mona’s Herald'. Kneale displayed signs of artistic flair from an early age and studied at the Douglas School of Art in 1947.

He was awarded a scholarship to the Royal Academy from 1948 to 1952, winning the Rome Prize in Painting which took him to Italy. Whilst Kneale enjoyed a growing reputation as an artist throughout the 1950s, he wanted to explore abstract expressions of his art which he did through sculpture.

He taught at the Royal College of Art, London for almost thirty years (1963-1995) as Head of Sculpture and Professor of Drawing. He also held the position of Professor of Sculpture at the Royal Academy Schools in the 1980s. He became a member of the Royal Academy in 1974.

Bryan Kneale is an internationally renowned Manx sculptor with his work held in several public collections throughout the world. Several of his public sculptures are on the Isle of Man. These include the 'Three Legs of Man' at Ronaldsway Airport; the 'Hall Caine' monument in Strathallan Crescent, Douglas; the 'Backbone of Herring' or 'Deemster’s Oath' at the Courthouse Atrium, Douglas; and 'Yn Arreyder' or 'The Watcher' outside the Manx Museum, Douglas. Recently unveiled works are the statues of Manx Trafalgar hero 'Captain John Quilliam' in the Quarterdeck Area, Castletown, and that of the Manx patriot 'Illiam Dhone' or 'William Christian' in Malew Parish Church.

Kneale’s early paintings of the 1950s were considered to have a sculptural quality owing to his use of a palette knife. He went on to develop a reputation as a celebrity portrait painter.

On his return to the Isle of Man in 1959 he gave up painting and returned to the roots of his art – drawing. He also began experimenting with wood and plaster and took steel welding lessons which helped herald a transformation from artist to sculptor.

'I think all my work is about the problem of what one sees and what one knows and the attempt to fuse the two and in a special sense disrupt them.'

Occupation / profession: artist

Gender: Male

Date of birth: 1930

Place of birth: Douglas, Isle of Man

Name Variant: Kneale


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