Drawing of Jane Saunders by Frances Hodgkins
Drawing of Jane Saunders by Frances Hodgkins, (1869–1947)

Of the things that came in to the archive in 1984, I’ve chosen this drawing by Frances Hodgkins. Hodgkins was born in New Zealand in 1869, but left for Europe in 1901, spending most of the rest of her life in England and France. After many years of financial hardship, during which she taught and designed textiles as well as painting, she finally became recognised in the 1930s, when she was over 60, her work being championed by younger friends such as Cedric Morris and John and Myfanwy Piper (whose archives we also have). Despite all this, she’s still not as well known here as she is in her native New Zealand. This drawing gives us a simple domestic interior - a woman making a bed, or perhaps just resting on it. Written on it is “Jane’s caravan from Frances”, and this is what caught my eye. Jane Saunders was a teacher at Manchester High School for Girls, who together with a fellow-teacher, Hannah Ritchie, had been a pupil of Hodgkins in 1912 and again in 1922. The three women became close friends, and Frances visited them often and even moved to live in Manchester for a few years in the mid-1920s. They gave her a lot of support, both moral and financial, and even helped find her a job designing textiles. The drawing is not dated, but the inscription suggests it may have been made in the summer of 1939, when Frances Hodgkins is known to have visited her Jane Saunders at her cottage and caravan in Northumberland. I like the fact that during a holiday which must have included many sketches of the beauties of the Northumbrian landscape, Hodgkins also spend some time sitting in the little caravan, sketching her old friend and pupil. What sort of snapshots do you take when on holiday?

TGA 846



It's interesting. I have taken to always carry a little notebook, where I write down thoughts and ideas and sometimes also do very quick little drawings. It is often of something I see that I think I can later on integrate into a painting but at the same time: They are very often what is described here: Holiday snaps! I just never thouught of them like that before, maybe because I also do what everybody does: I take a lot of holiday photos... Your posts always makes me think! Thanks!

Stanley Clayman

I don't think Gauguin is a particularly good draughtsman or painter. He does not seem to know what his style is. My major criticsm , however, is the signage of the pictures. Why are the signs not by each picture instead of being at the end of a line? And why oh why is the printing so small that one needs to stand so close-not always possible? This is such a common fault of all exhibitions.

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