Averil Mary Burleigh (1883 - 1949)

Rest by the Way

SKU: 11581
Tempera on panel, Signed

Height – 37cm
Width – 42cm


Veronica Burleigh, the artists daughter
The Annual Autumn Exhibition, Walker Galleries, Liverpool, 1933; Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; The Fine Art Society, March 1934

Averil Burleigh was a long-standing member of the Society of Painters in Tempera. Between 1930 and 1935 she had 17 exhibits at the RA and all are listed as tempera. Burleigh specialised in tempera painting and her work is characterised by a bright palette underpinned with a bold sense of graphic design. Her compositions are usually dominated by female figures In the summer of 1933, Burleigh exhibited three painting at the Royal Academy, hung in galleries specifically set aside for displaying watercolours and temperas. The 1933 exhibition was a family affair with both her husband Charles and daughter Veronica exhibiting works.

The term tempera refers to any painting medium consisting of coloured pigments mixed with a water-soluble binder. Egg tempera, the most common form, consists of pigments bound by egg yolk. On account of its binder, tempera tends to have a matt surface, and, unlike oil, is usually not varnished when finished. Typically painted on a panel prepared with gesso (rather than a canvas), tempera paintings often have sharper defined contours and smoother surfaces. Unlike oil, tempera does not afford areas of impasto (textured paint). Tempera dries fast and therefore colours cannot be blended. Modelling is achieved by laying down in numerable individual brushstrokes of graduated colour adjacent to each other. Many artists working in tempera felt attracted to the labour intensive idea of preparing their own colours, grinding raw pigments with a mortar and pestle.

Although Tempera had been out of favour since the end of the Renaissance, when it was gradually replaced by oil paint, British artists such as William Blake (1757-1827) and the Pre-Raphaelites were passionate advocates of the medium.

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Averil Mary Burleigh
Averil Mary
1883 - 1949

Averil Burleigh studied at Brighton School of Art and married fellow painter Charles Burleigh (1870’1956) ‘ together they spent much of their lives in Hove and Sussex.

She specialised in tempera painting and her work is characterised by a bright palette underpinned with a bold sense of graphic design. She often painted decorative renaissance subjects whilst adding a touch of modernity, through the inclusion of contemporary clothing. Her compositions are usually dominated by female figures ‘ often in various states of revelry. She frequently used her daughter, the artist Veronica Burleigh (1909’1999), as the central model. She also illustrated many books, including Thistledown by Leolyn Louise Everett, published in 1927.

She exhibited extensively throughout her career, including at the RA, the RSA, the NEAC, with the SWA, the ROI, Walker Art Gallery and the Paris Salon. She was also a member of the SMDPT and was elected a member of the RI in 1936 and an associate of the RWS in 1939.


Averil Mary Burleigh (1883 - 1949)
The Troubadour, 1928
Averil Mary Burleigh (1883 - 1949)
Self-portrait, 1928
Averil Mary Burleigh (1883 - 1949)
The Still Room, 1928