signed 'Marianne Stokes' (lower left)
coloured chalks on buff paper
12 x 14 ¾ in. (30.5 x 37.5 cm.)
with Abbott & Holder, London, May 1984, where purchased for the present collection.

Brought to you by

Adrian Hume-Sayer
Adrian Hume-Sayer Director, Specialist

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Lot Essay

Marianne Stokes is renowned as a portrait painter of great originality. However, a close scrutiny of her work reveals her capabilities in the area of still life. As well as the delicate and decorative lillies that accompanied some of her religious works, she painted roses, (p.73 in Utmost Fidelity) rose briars, irises and hollyhocks for paintings in their own right. An apple appears in a portrait of a Dutch lady (ibid, p.97) while a small orange or clementine appears in the Madonna with Symbols from a Litany of 1905, while more prosaic mushrooms, cabbages, turnips, feature in her work of the 1890s. A comparison of the treatment of the rose leaves on page 73 of Utmost Fidelity demonstrates her skill in suggesting both sides of a leaf as gravity and decay pull it downwards.
The care she gives to the treatment of these quinces, artfully squeezed into a format that is only just rectangular enables one to appreciate her attention to naturalism. The fruit is very heavy, clearly about to drop. The small patch above her signature where the blue colour is missing in fact lends the composition to being deliberately a painting in its own right. Both Marianne and Adrian often upcycled frames from the many dealers they visited throughout Europe and the choice of this expensive Dutch frame shows that they clearly considered the painting finished. The subtly applied highlights of gold particularly on the top left-hand fruit demonstrate her sure but light touch.
One can imagine a sense of order in Marianne’s working environment: neat glass jars of tempera colour, cardboards sleeves of delicate pastels adjacent to a nature table in a tidy studio. Unlike her husband who painted outdoors throughout his whole career, her work was predominantly completed indoors.
A label on the back indicates that this work was exhibited but it has not been possible to confirm where or what date. It gives Marianne’s address as 7a Grantham Place. The Stokes’ did not move to their studio in a mews house in Mayfair until 1921. Adrian’s brother Sir Wilfrid Stokes and his wife Lady Irene (1875-1971, née Ionides) lived in the main house on Park Lane; she became a great gardener in later life. Their Mill house at Ockham near Ripley in Surrey was visited by horticulturalists from far and wide. While Marianne revelled in her summer travels to the warmer climates of the Mediterranean and the Carpathians, it is likely that this pastel is of a bough grown in England, possibly from the orchards at Ockham.
We are grateful to Magdalen Evans for her assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.

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