Frances Hodgkins

Wings over Water


In Tate Liverpool

Frances Hodgkins 1869–1947
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 711 × 914 mm
Presented by Geoffrey, Peter and Richard Gorer in memory of Rèe Alice Gorer 1954

Display caption

Frances Hodgkins was born in New Zealand and first came to Europe in 1901. She taught in Paris between 1910 and 1912 and settled in England in 1914. She was a close friend of Cedric Morris and Lett Haines, the former proposing her membership of the Seven and Five in 1929. 'Wings over Water' is typical of Seven and Five artists in its depiction of a table-top still life set before a window. It was painted in the artist's studio in Hampstead, an area of North London much favoured by avant-garde British artists at the time, and evokes memories of Cornwall where she had settled in 1914.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

Inscr. ‘Frances Hodgkins’ b.r.
Canvas, 28×36 (71×91).
Presented in memory of Rée Alice Gorer, 1873–1954, by her sons Geoffrey, Peter and Richard 1954.
Coll: Purchased by Mrs R. A. Gorer from the artist.
Exh: British Council, Selection for the XXI Venice Biennale, Hertford House, 1940 (109), as ‘In Cornwall’; Arts Council, Ethel Walker, Frances Hodgkins, Gwen John, Tate Gallery, May–June 1952 (165).

Painted in the late autumn of 1930, when the artist was living at 12 Primrose Hill Road, N.W.3. It is one of several canvases of the same motif, the bird and the shell (the air and the sea) - a memory of Cornwall. Another picture of the same theme at Temple Newsam, Leeds, is repr. in Myfanwy Evans, Frances Hodgkins, 1948, pl.11, as ‘Wings on Water’. Geoffrey Gorer wrote (24 February 1955): ‘The version we got was one of the very few pictures with which she expressed herself completely satisfied shortly after completing it - she was usually full of criticism of the failure of her work to achieve what she wanted.’

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I

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