Obituary | Christopher Wardman Bradbury, 1944–2022 - Museums Association

Obituary | Christopher Wardman Bradbury, 1944–2022

The artist and antiquarian whose iconic Natural History Museum poster captured the spirit of the swinging sixties
Obituary
Christine Evans
Share

The artist and former keeper of art and exhibitions for Winchester’s Guildhall Gallery and Westgate Museum armoury, Christopher Wardman Bradbury, died on 12 January.

A talented fine artist and illustrator, Christopher had two distinct careers. After a degree course in illustration at Manchester Art College, a postgraduate year at Hornsey College of Art quickly led to a successful freelance career in both painting and illustration.

His style paid homage to the Italian Renaissance, and the elegant curves of Art Nouveau, with a hint of the psychedelic – a perfect mix for the sixties.

His illustrations appeared regularly in The Sunday Times and other supplements, and graced many adult and children’s books, but his best-known work is his iconic poster, Iguanodon, Triceratops, Diplodocus . . . Natural History Museum at South Kensington, commissioned by London Transport in 1968 for the opening of the London Underground Victoria Line.

Iguanodon, Triceratops, Diplodocus... Natural History Museum at South Kensington, 1968 Copyright TfL, from London Transport Museum’s collection

Its subject is the Natural History Museum, and the poster is a tour-de-force of form and colour, in which fragments of fossils, animals, minerals, Gothic architecture and an ichthyosaur skeleton come together in a strong and cohesive image representing the museum’s rich collections.

Advertisement

A signed copy is held in the V&A Collections and the poster is still available to buy from the London Transport Museum.

In 1978, Christopher changed career, joining Winchester City Museum, as Keeper of Art And Exhibitions, acquiring works for the museum, and commissioning constantly changing art exhibitions for the city’s Guildhall Gallery.

With a lifelong love of arms and armour he also took responsibility for the museum’s collection, which he displayed in the city’s Westgate. After retirement he moved to Herefordshire, with his partner Christine and beloved labrador Titus, taking on a Georgian house in need of restoration, and for three years, the voluntary curatorship of Leominster Museum.

As an ardent lover of history, those who knew Christopher would agree with his belief that he was born in the wrong century. In his later years, able to devote himself fully to his eclectic and sometimes eccentric collection of art, antiques and quirky artefacts of all sorts, he was able to become a true “gentleman antiquary”.

He died unexpectedly at home in his library, where he loved to be.

Leave a comment

You must be signed in to post a comment.

Discover

Making waves

Eleanor Mills talks to Ian Goodyear, the managing director of the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther, about steering the venue into new waters
Advertisement