Oil on canvas, 508 x 407 mm (20 x 16 in)
Inscribed by the artist on top canvas surplus in paint ‘ADS ’72’
Purchased from Mrs Ann Stokes Angus, the artist’s widow (Grant-in-Aid) 1983
The Last Paintings of Adrian Stokes, Tate Gallery, London, Feb.-March 1973 (no catalogue)
Adrian Stokes, Arts Council tour, Serpentine Gallery, London, June-July 1982, Huddersfield Art Gallery, July-Aug., City Museum and Art Gallery, Gloucester, Sept.-Oct. 1982 (117 as Still Life: Last Eleven)
The Hard Won Image: Traditional Method and Subject in Recent British Art, Tate Gallery, London, July-Sept. 1984 (130)
Richard Wollheim, ‘Adrian Stokes’, Listener, 28 Dec. 1972, p.900
John Russell, ‘Review’, Sunday Times, 25 Feb. 1973
Nigel Gosling, ‘Review’, Observer, 25 Feb. 1973
Lawrence Gowing, ‘True to Form’, New Statesman, 2 March 1973, p.316
Michael McNay, ‘Adrian Stokes’, Guardian, 3 March 1973
Marina Vaizey, ‘Adrian Stokes, John Hubbard’, Financial Times, 5 March 1973
Christopher Fox, ‘Review’, Studio International, vol.185, no.954, April 1973, p.153
Keith Roberts, ‘Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions’, Burlington Magazine, vol.115, no.841, April 1973, p.263
Richard Wollheim, ‘Adrian Stokes, Critic, Painter, Poet’, 4th William Townsend lecture, Slade School of Art, 1978, extended version published Times Literary Supplement, 17 Feb. 1978, p.207, reprinted in Stephen Bann (ed.), ‘Adrian Stokes 1902-72’, supplement, PN Review, 15, vol.7 no.1, 1980, p.37
Richard Wollheim, ‘On Adrian Stokes’s Paintings 1972’, Adrian Stokes, exh. cat., Serpentine Gallery, London 1982, p.18
Richard Wollheim, ‘An Artist Who Practiced What he Preached’, Times Higher Educational Supplement, 18 June 1982, pp.12-13
Robert Melville, ‘The Last Eleven’, London Review of Books, 15 July-4 Aug. 1982, p.18
Tate Gallery Acquisitions 1982-4, London 1986, pp.330-6, repr.
Ann Buchanan Crosby, ‘Souvenir de Adrian Stokes’, Cahiers du Musée national d’art moderne, no.25, autumn 1988, pp.9-12
Adrian Stokes painted eleven still lifes between early September 1972, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, and his death on 15 December. Of the series of eleven works, nine belong to the Tate and this is the sixth of these. A fuller account of the series, details of its circumstances and problems in dating may be found in the catalogue entry of Still Life: Last Eleven (No.3) (Tate T03587).
Though only one, No.10 (Tate T03585), was dated by the artist, the artist’s widow, Ann Stokes Angus, has proposed an order for the eleven paintings in the series. As the eighth, this work was probably made in her pottery, in the basement of their Hampstead home. She explained that, though most of the series was painted in Stokes’s attic studio, from late November his declining physical condition forced him to work in closer proximity to her and the last three, or possibly four, were executed downstairs.
In common with all but one of the nine works owned by the Tate, this painting, No.8, was painted on a prepared canvas. As in the others, the density of the oil paint varies from very thin washes to isolated areas of impasto, a few of which are unusually thick for Stokes, and there are areas of bare ground. A high thinner content gave the paint a largely matt finish and made runs and dribbles a feature of the technique. The colouring of the paintings is continuous with Stokes’s earlier work, though the lighter palette of a number of them is distinctive.