Sunday, September 20, 2009


I meet many authors, but rarely meet authors who paint. Recently I was introduced to Catherine Aitchison Hull who allowed me to read her biography of a pretty amazing artist - Frederick Lee Bridell. It was Bridell's beautiful painting 'The Coliseum by Moonlight' that Catherine fell in love with, when, as a young student, she visited Southampton Art Gallery. The magnificent work measuring 8 x 5 feet captures the moment when the Coliseum is backlit by the moon. Catherine, was overwhelmed by this impressive work of art and was intrigued with the artist who died in 1863. She set out to learn more about him and when she came to London to work, she began studying his life and times and his tragic early death. Eventually, she decided to collect the notes she had been accruing for years and write a book, feeling that the people of Southampton – and the world at large - should know more about Frederick Lee Bridell and his amazing work.

Catherine’s book – which is fascinating and beautifully illustrated – is now on sale, via the author whose website explains far more about her book. As she says, the main aim of this biography is to awaken an interest in the work of this artist and accord recognition for the achievement of his short life. From humble origins, he dedicated himself to art and produced works of great sensitivity and power. Arising from Catherine’s personal interest, her book reflects an interest in the social changes which occurred in the Victorian period and an appreciation of the movement within the wider world of art. I found the book fascinating.