Helen Chalmers was Frank Bramley’s niece and, in this Edwardian study, is clearly the centre of attention. The painting shows the naturalism of the Newlyn School to which Bramley belonged and whose members had a common desire ‘to study humanity in relation to its surroundings’. The School was also known for the impressionistic bravura of brush technique.
When this painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1908 it was ‘hung on the line’, that is, it was placed at eye-level, which was a sign of Academic acceptance and approval.
Bramley was born in Lincolnshire and began his studies at Lincoln School of Art. In 1879 he left for Verlat’s Academy in Antwerp. After further travel in Europe he returned to England c.1884 and later became a member of the Newlyn School. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1884 and was elected to the Royal Academy in 1911.