Bernard Cheese

Bernard Cheese was born in Sydenham (1925) and attended Beckenham School of Art. After an interlude in the army he took further training at the Royal College of Art (1947). There he studied under Edward Bawden (see Artists) and John Nash (see Artists), and also Edwin La Dell. La Dell, whose especial interest was in lithography, encouraging Cheese to turn his sketches of London – of public houses, markets and parks – into lithographic prints.

At the Royal Academy Cheese met fellow artist Sheila Robinson (see Artists). They married in 1951, and Chloe (now a celebrated artist herself) was born in 1952, and Benjamin, their son, in 1954. Both Cheese and Robinson worked with Bawden to produce murals for the Festival of Britain, but Bawden also influenced their move to Great Bardfield, a village in Essex where he lived, and where a number of other artists, including Michael Rothenstien, John Aldridge and Eric Ravilious (see Artists) also lived. Cheese and Robinson then commuted back to London to work, both to teach printmaking, Cheese at St. Martin’s School of Art, and Robinson at The Royal College of Art.

In 1958 Cheese and Robinson divorced, and Cheese married his former student Brenda Latham Brown. They had two daughters, Joanna and Sarah. Over the following two decades Cheese would consolidate in both subject matter and characteristic style: he had a fascination with landscape and the patterns imposed by man onto the land, and with the kind of architecture found in the working landscape: farmhouses, fisherman’s cottages. Later he would turn increasingly to still lives, but all of his work evinces an attractive whimsicality and sense of humour. The structure of the work is always sound, with good composition and fine draughtsmanship, but this light-hearted humour is a hallmark of many of Bernard Cheese’s prints.

Bernard Cheese

Cheese was appointed senior lecturer at Goldmith’s College (1970-78); he also taught part-time at Central School of Art and Design (1980-89). He and Brenda Latham Brown divorced in 1992, and Cheese moved to Nayland near Colchester where he continued to work. He was elected fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers in 1988.

Bernard Cheese died in 2013. His prints can be found in many public collections: The Victoria and Albert Museum; the Royal Collection, and in the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

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