Gerald Gardiner was chiefly a landscape painter in oil. He was born in London on 17 January 1902 and studied at Beckenham School of Art from 1919-1923 and also at the Royal College of Art from 1923-1927. Gerald Gardiner exhibited at the Royal Academy, Royal Scottish Academy, New English Art Club and in the provinces. He was elected ARWA (Associate of the Royal West of England Academy) in 1949. His principal works include The Station, The Tunnel Mouth, The Tenor Bell and Snow in Spring. He lived in Cheltenham and later near Stroud in Gloucestershire.
Gerald Gardiner moved from Farnborough, Kent, to Gloucestershire in 1927 and lived first at Up Hatherley, near Cheltenham, and from 1934 at Lower Nash End, Bisley, Stroud. Employed as second master at Cheltenham School of Art, in charge of the drawing and painting department, he later became Painting Master, a position he retained until his death During the Second World War, Gardiner served in the Home Guard, but continued to paint, completing three large murals for the Cheltenham Services Club in 1943. After the war he made several painting expeditions to Argyll, Scotland. He was elected to the associate membership of the Royal West of England Academy in 1949, becoming a full academician five years later.
Following his death in 1959, the Cheltenham Group of Artists mounted a memorial exhibition in March 1960 at Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum, his work being shown alongside that of Edith Payne (1875-1959).
As an illustrator Gerald Gardiner may be compared to Rowland Hilder and Charles Tunnicliffe. Even when working in pen and ink or scraperboard, all three produced images with the appearance of a wood engraving, and thus suggestive of a particular ethos, that in which artistic values of tradition and craftsmanship are considered a metaphor for a national way of life. For instance Gerald Gardiner’s illustrations to Jesse and His Friends support a text rooted in an unchanging rural present. Each element, including areas of light and shadow, is precise and clear yet knits with the others into a harmonious entity.
Gerald Gardiner’s landscapes are notable for their translucent colour, he delighted in applying thick impasto, often in pure colours, and had a remarkable ability to capture, both natural and artificial light, and the play of reflected light and shadows.