BORN in Tradeston, Glasgow, 10th May, 1839, Mr. Brydall
during his early years was employed in a lithographer and engraver's office, and
for some time was in business as a lithographer and engraver on his own account.
He attended the Government School of art under Charles Heath Wilson, by whom he
was employed as assistant teacher; and he afterwards for many years acted as
second master with the late Robert Greenlees. During this time the classes under
his charge were attended by some who have taken very high positions in the art
world, such as David Murray, R.A., John Lavery, K.S.A., Alexander Roche, A.R.S.A.,
James Paterson, A.R.S.A., E. A. Walton, A.R.S.A., etc. He left the School of Art
in 1881, and started the St. George's Art School in St. George's Road,
subsequently removed to Newton Terrace.
He devoted considerable study to heraldry, in connection with which for several years he was largely employed by the late Sir William Stirling Maxwell, Bart., of Keir, assisting among other work in his "Ornamental Heraldry of the Sixteenth Century," and executing a volume of heraldic monograms, illuminated on vellum, which was presented by Sir William to Her Majesty, then Alexandra, Princess of Wales.
Mr. Brydall seldom exhibited pictures outside of Glasgow, but was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Glasgow Institute from its foundation, only missing one year. His pictures were landscapes, with occasionally a figure subject, and latterly scenes in Venice.
He became a member of the Glasgow Art Club in 1876; of the Glasgow Archaeological Society in 1890; and a Fellow of tie: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 1894. To the Transactions of the last two societies he contributed several papers on Scottish Archaeology, the most important being a long and elaborate article on the "Monumental Effigies of Scotland from the Thirteenth to the Fifteenth Century," a previously neglected subject, with drawings from monuments in nearly every part of Scotland, accompanied by notes on their history, heraldry, and costume. In 1889 he published his principal work, "History of Art in Scotland," the only book dealing with the subject. It was most favourably reviewed in Britain, France, Germany, and elsewhere. It was characterised by the London Quarterly Review as "one of the best and most interesting histories of art ever written." Mr. Brydall died in London, April 6, 1907, and is buried in Glasgow Necropolis.
Index of Glasgow Men (1909)