Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bradley, William
BRADLEY, WILLIAM (1801–1857), portrait painter, was born at Manchester on 16 Jan. 1801. He was left an orphan when three years old, and commenced life as an errand-boy; but having a natural talent for art, he at the age of sixteen advertised himself as a 'portrait, miniature, and animal painter, and teacher of drawing,' and drew portraits at a shilling apiece. Having received some lessons from Mather Brown, who was then living at Manchester, he came to London when about twenty-one, and, obtaining an introduction to Sir Thomas Lawrence, established himself in the metropolis, where he enjoyed some practice as a portrait painter. Between 1823 and 1846 he exhibited thirteen portraits at the Royal Academy, twenty-one at the Free Society of Artists, and eight at the British Institution. He returned in 1847 to his native city, broken down in health, and he died in poverty on 4 July 1857. Bradley's portraits were successful as likenesses, and well drawn. Among his sitters were Lords Beresford, Sandon, Bagot, and Ellesmere, Sheridan Knowles, W. C. Macready, and the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone. His portrait of the last-mentioned has been engraved in mezzotinto by W. Walker.
[Redgrave's Dictionary of Artists of the English School, Painters, &c., London, 1878, 8vo; MS. notes in the British Museum.]