Edward Ridley, 1920s Portrait Of A Woman

Regular price £1,495.00
Unit price

Edward Ridley, 1920s Portrait Of A Woman

Regular price £1,495.00
Unit price
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This stylish 1920s portrait by English artist Edward Ridley (1883-1946) depicts a woman wearing a hat and coat with a fur collar. It’s a fascinating piece produced during Ridley’s time as Headmaster of the Dress Department at the Central School of Art in Birmingham.

Edward Ridley dedicated his life to developing the artistic skills and enthusiasm of others. This piece, from around 1925, serves as an important marker of his greatest accomplishment - the creation of Britain’s first dedicated School of Dress Design. In 1924, it began with a small group of girls, and this grew to over 100 enthusiastic students, many of which achieved gainful employment. A press interview with Ridley in 1933 explained:

‘Students who take the full course at the Birmingham School of Dress Design have to delve deep into the history of costume, and go back to the B.C. period… tracing the evolution of dress right through the ages until they come up to the modern times… Then they have to acquire a knowledge of modern materials - more than 70 of them, I am told!’

‘What happens, I asked Mr Ridley, if a girl comes to you who has a good dress sense and is expert with a needle but who cannot draw? Anyone who wishes can learn to draw, he replied. Painting is different however. A sense of colour cannot be taught.’

‘Some get jobs as dress designers, some as fashion artists, some as cutters, some as weavers or embroiderers, and some as teachers in other schools’.

This portrait of a highly fashionable lady dressed in the latest styles would’ve served as inspiration for budding designers. It encapsulates the glamour of the Jazz Age, such an interesting time to work in the industry.

Aside from his role in education, Ridley also exhibited paintings at the Royal Academy. The portrait was previously housed at his studio.

Signed, framed and glazed.

Learn more about Edward Ridley in our directory.

Medium: Watercolour on board
Overall size: 20” x 24½” / 51cm x 62cm
Year of creation: c. 1925
Condition: Artwork presents well.
Artist’s auction highlight: £3,800 achieved for a watercolour in 2022.

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