Bradshaw was born in Bolton, Lancashire, England, in 1923. He went to the Bolton School of Art and Manchester Regional College of Art. After World War II demobilization in 1948, Bradshaw won a Royal Scholarship to the Royal College of Art, London. In 1951, his final year, he won the Silver Medal for work of special distinction, the Engraving and Architecture prizes and was awarded an Associateship of the College (First Class). In the same year, he was elected Associate of the Royal Society of Painter-etchers and Engravers (A.R.E). He then won the Prix de Rome and spent a further two years based at the British Academy in Rome, travelling and working in Greece, Spain, France and Germany.
When he returned to England in 1953, Bradshaw produced work for an exhibition of paintings in Manchester, while residing in a cottage in the Welsh Mountains near Snowdon. While working in England at industrial and moorland landscapes and in Wales at mountain and seascapes, Bradshaw won numerous art awards including British and Welsh Art Council prizes and was awarded Associateships and Honorary Memberships of various U.K. Academies. The first of his solo exhibitions was held at Salford City Art Gallery in 1953. Since then he has held numerous one-man exhibitions in the U.K, U.S.A., South Africa, Australia and Zimbabwe, including four retrospectives.
In 1955 Bradshaw was appointed Vice Chairman of the British Parliamentary Committee on Art Education and continued in this post until 1960 when he was invited to South Africa to take the Chair of Fine Arts at Rhodes University. His influence on the work of his students was remarkable and a new style of painting emerged from the Eastern Cape. In 1964 he formed the Grahamstown Groupexhibiting in their own gallery in Grahamstown and throughout South Africa and Rhodesia. He resigned from Rhodes University and the Directorship of the National Galleries of Rhodesia in 1978 and returned for a while to the U.K. Many of his former students are now well known South African artists, heads of art departments, university professors and directors of galleries.
Bradshaw now commutes between the north of England and South Africa exhibiting in both places. He is mostly concerned with the expression of indigenous the energetic and mineral patterns that emanate from the African bush and desert.
Illustrations, Articles and Books Published: Illustrations for Harpers Bazaar Magazine.
His writings include art criticisms for Tillotsons Newspapers, U.K. and The Bulawayo Chronicle.
"The Culture Plan" and articles for art and anthropological magazines.
"Art and Totality", published at Rhodes University and in the U.S.A.
"Bolton Bred", Richardson Press, U.K.
Theatre Design: Designs for theatre productions at the Spanish Theatre, Rome and the Mermaid