Bernard Schottlander was born in Mainz, Germany in 1924 and came as a Jewish refugee to Leeds in 1939. During the war he worked in a factory as a welder, before taking a course in Sculpture at Leeds college of Art and subsequently – with the help of a bursary – at the Anglo-French art centre in St John’s Wood. He studied sculpture for a year in London, and his training as a welder influenced his work heavily. Bernard Schottlander described himself as a designer for interiors and a sculptor for exteriors.
He opened a studio in North London with his assistant George Nash, who had himself learned his craft in the Royal Air Force’s workshops. Their work at this stage was essentially artistic in nature, seeking to explore new forms and each piece was handmade in strictly limited editions.
In 1963 he decided to concentrate solely on sculpture and from 1965 he taught metalwork at St Martins School. In the same year he was part of the group show Six Artists at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London and in the following year (1966) had his first solo show at the Hamilton Galleries, London.