Brian Shields was a British artist, born in Liverpool in 1951 and is best known for his scenes of northern Britain. His paintings are based on childhood memories of Liverpool and he would frequently paint himself into his works as a boy in a striped jumper and wellies. Shields acquired his nickname ‘Braaq’ at school due to his early artistic talent and was the result of a misspelling of the French artist and father of Cubism, Georges Braque.
The fourth child of twelve, Brian’s father Dennis Shields was an established artist and one of his brothers, also Dennis, is a sculptor and painter. In the late 1970s, Brian’s sister Ann died aged 20 and in memory of her his subsequent paintings were signed with his signature followed by Ann.
After initially training as a chef in Harrogate, the majority of Brian’s working life spent there. He was discovered when his murals in the hotel he was working in caused a stir in the community and for weeks afterward there was a search in the local papers to find the identity of the artist. From this point on his artistic career flourished with his first exhibition in 1974. In 1977 Brian was invited to hold four exhibitions in London and was described by The Times as “one of the six most successful artists in England”.