Bryan Kneale was born on the Isle of Man and attended Douglas School of Art (1946-47) and the Royal Academy Schools, London (1948-1949). Kneale was initially a figurative painter, but started making sculpture after attending a welding course in 1960.
One of the main characteristics of Kneale's sculpture is its emphasis on the way separate forms are joined together. Many of his works have a delicate, linear quality and the critic Hilary Spurling described them as 'line drawings in space.' (Spurling, p.4.) Kneale works directly with metal and in an unpublished Tate interview he described his sculpture as 'three-dimensional drawing.'
Since the mid-1980s Kneale's major source of inspiration has been the skeletons and joints of animals he studied and drew at the Natural History Museum in London. In an unpublished Tate interview he related his fascination to a sculptural interest in structure and form: 'I have always found in all my work it is the connections, the articulation of form which has been of particular importance to me, rather than the development of sculptural mass. The endless invention in nature of bony structures from minute tiny insects and animals to colossal forms of dinosaur bones … has always fascinated me…