Nell Bradshaw

1904 - 1997


Bradshaw had a strong affinity and appreciation of Haida culture. She made several trips to the Queen Charlotte Islands in the 1970s in order to study and better understand the history, techniques and stories behind totem carvings. Her totem paintings became world renowned and have garnered praise from British Columbia provincial anthropologist Wilson Duff, who has considered her totem works to be of the "highest calibre."

In a 1964 article of Victoria Times, Humphrey Davy said of her totem paintings that, "she draws them as they are today; weather beaten, decaying and ready to topple over....but what lifts her paintings above the ordinary, is the feeling and mood she gives to her pictures. Sometimes the mood is almost tragic because it brings to the fore the passing of a glorious age of native culture."

Though Bradshaw is primarily self taught her works have drawn influence from A.Y. Jackson, Tom Thomson, Paul Klee, Van Gogh, Jack Shadbolt, and West Coast First Nations carvers. In 1997 Nell Bradshaw passed away at the age of 93.