Summary

Adshead included Morning after the Flood in her first solo show at the Goupil Gallery, London in 1930. It is typical of the style of 'decorative painting' that was taught at the Slade School of Art, which Adshead attended from 1921 to 1924 under Professor Henry Tonks. The Slade School tutors regularly set figure compositions for their students, in which the prescribed subject matter was taken from the Bible, and Adshead kept to that practice in this work. The painting depicts the day following the subsidence of the biblical Flood, when Noah's Ark came to rest on dry land. In the small catalogue which accompanied her 1986 show at Sally Hunter Fine Art, Noel Carrington wrote of Adshead's 'sense of design, wit and joie de vivre'. These qualities are evident in this work, particularly in the inclusion of the elephant, camel and kangaroo. Adshead's son Sylvester Bone called Morning after the Flood 'the most mysterious picture of [Adshead's] that I know' (letter to Tate Gallery, 30 June 1997).

Further reading:
Mary Adshead, exhibition catalogue, Sally Hunter & Patrick Seale Fine Art, London 1986
Katy Deepwell (ed.), Ten Decades: Careers of Ten Women Artists born 1897-1906, exhibition catalogue, Norwich Gallery, Norwich 1992

Terry Riggs
December 1997