Bernard Meninsky

Bernard Meninsky (née Menushkin) was born in 1891 in Karotopin, Ukraine and came to England when he was six weeks old, settling with his family in Liverpool. In 1906, he entered the Liverpool School of Art, where he won a number of awards, including a travel scholarship enabling him to study for three months in Paris in 1911. The following year, a further scholarship enabled him to study at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, where he met and mixed with several 'Whitechapel Boys' including David Bomberg and Mark Gertler. In 1913, he briefly taught drawing in Italy, then returned to London to take up a teaching post at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, also joining the progressive exhibiting society, the London Group. During the First World War, Meninsky joined the Royal Fusiliers and fought in Palestine. In 1918, he was recruited as an official war artist and carried out several commissions, but after suffering a nervous breakdown, was discharged from service. He held his first solo exhibition in 1919.

Meninsky devoted much of his time to teaching drawing, but also painted portraits, figures and landscapes (the latter became dark and atmospheric in the 1920s and '30s). In 1946, his illustrations to Milton's poems were published, showing his favoured monumental, neoclassical style. Although he continued to exhibit, he suffered a series of mental breakdowns, and, eventually, took his own life in 1950 at the age of 58.