Words by Travis Blake
An accomplished landscape painter with a deep rooted understanding and passion for the Malvern Hills whose stunning artworks, handmade in Malvern, are collected worldwide!
It is something that has always fascinated me, given immense pleasure and created total confusion over the years, the world of visual art. As an art form it has also challenged my understanding as I often return to the recurring conundrum of how some people can create paintings and drawings, from masterpieces to doodles, seemingly effortlessly while others appear to struggle with one end of the pencil and paintbrush to the other!
If you haven’t already guessed I fall firmly into the latter category, but have been genuinely perplexed by this from my High School days, a good school friend was an excellent artist yet I struggled to portray the simplest of shapes, imagery and representations from eye onto page. Perhaps my expressive outlet is a different one, maybe words are my brush strokes and I’m painfully aware that we cannot be all things to all people!
Of course a love, a passion, the desire and determination plus good old fashioned practice, practice, practice for and of your craft will pay dividends to the ability bank and if you are lucky enough to combine your passion with your profession I’ve heard it beats working for a living! With that in mind I would like to introduce to you, although some of you may be aware of his phenomenal work already, Malvern based landscape painter and artist Antony Bridge.
Born in 1980 Antony grew up spending his formative years in the beautiful Worcestershire countryside in the spa town of Malvern, which happens to be in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Some of Antony’s early and fondest memories are of walking and cycling on the Malvern Hills and indeed the surrounding countryside. A fascination with and a passion for the area grew within him and this has enabled a deep bond of understanding and a knowledge of the topography that allows Antony to create the magnificent paintings that he does. Anyone who has been to these magnificent mid-country hills will instantly recognise Antony’s colourful and powerful representations of these bucolic scenes.
Antony’s eternal passion for Malvern and painting has allowed him to pursue what he loves and he has been selling paintings of the Malvern Hills for twenty two years to patrons, collectors and those with an eye for a fine work of art all over the Globe. Not only is his art commercially successful Antony also has an impressive C.V, he is currently featured on the Brooks England website, the famous leather cycle saddle maker and one of his paintings features on the label of bottles of World Cider Award winning, Malvern Gold. Currently Antony is the Artist in Residence at Croome Park a National Trust property with gardens by Capability Brown, a position to be proud of, he is also displaying paintings of the picturesque Elgar Route at the Firs (Edward Elgar’s birthplace) a sister National Trust property to Croome.
As an exponent of the art of Plein Air painting, Antony spends a vast amount of his professional time outdoors. Although people have always painted out in the open free from the confines of the studio and classroom, the term “en plein air” means a little more than simply outside and is often a descriptive term linked or associated with particular movements. The ability to work in natural light, shade and colour, was of high importance to the Impressionists of the nineteenth century such as Claude Monet and likewise the Newlyn School in England. Also, during the 19th Century the technology advanced to greater enable en plein air painting with paint being available contained in tubes rather than having to be mixed, plus the invention of the portable French box easel with retractable legs, and right up the present day painting by direct observation remains a popular pastime and indeed profession.
Antony is a fan of British products and for the tools of his trade Antony uses British made brushes and paints, his brushes are from the Yorkshire based manufacturer Rosemary & Co and he currently uses Michael Harding handmade paints. But these are not the only handmade British products that are in daily use to ply his trade, to transport himself and the kit required to create these fascinating artworks Antony uses both a Brompton and a Pashley bicycle, in fact, Antony is featured on the Traditional Cycle Shop website blog in their “Pashley People” section! The Pashley may be a tenuous link to the Morgan Motor Company (for those readers that may not know Pashley Cycles and Morgan have collaborated on a range of bicycles), but of course with Antony being a devotee of all things Handmade in Britain and a resident of Malvern he has a stronger connection to the brand than a shared bicycle.
When I spoke to Antony about MOG Magazine and this feature he told me, “When I was 18 years old I was asked by my father’s good friend that we called an uncle if I could go to the Morgan factory every week to take photos of his ordered car for him. I jumped at the chance and cycled down every few days, the staff were so inviting and showed me how his car was coming along and who was working on which part each week. Back then I rushed to the photo developers to get the photos printed and sent them in the post up to North Yorkshire for him to see. One of my favourite places to paint is on Castle Morton common and on so many occasions I’ve seen the Morgan team taking photos or filming their new models. It’s an honour for all people living in Malvern to have such a great car being made in our beautiful town”.
I’ve been a fan of Antony’s work for many years, our paths having first crossed commercially a long while ago through a mutual customer’s business and I have followed his progress on and off during that time. As yet I do not own an Antony Bridge original, although I hope that it is just a matter of time until I do and as with all good art it will no doubt be worth the wait.
Antony has a range of paintings on sale and these can be viewed at his studio in Malvern and there are photos of the works on his website, details below. These artworks start in price from £295 for a 6”x 8” oil on board, and are available a range of sizes from a stunning 20”x 24” oil on canvas and up to a magnificent 30”x 40” oil on canvas, some these works have been available to view at the National Trust Croome Court property. Of course, it is also possible to commission a painting if you are after something totally unique and you can visit Antony at his studio by appointment.
Don’t take my word for it see for yourself and checkout the magnificent work of fine British landscape artist, it could be just what you’re looking for!