Adrian Stokes

Still Life: Last Eleven (No. 10)


Not on display

Adrian Stokes 1902–1972
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 559 × 759 mm
frame: 613 × 813 × 59 mm
Purchased 1983

Catalogue entry


Oil on canvas, 561 x 762 mm (22 1/8 x 30 in)
Inscribed by the artist on top canvas surplus in paint ‘9/12 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 (126, repr. as Still Life: Last Eleven)
The Hard Won Image: Traditional Method and Subject in Recent British Art, Tate Gallery, London, July-Sept. 1984 (132)

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 Gallery and this is the eighth of these and the penultimate of the series. 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).

This work, Still Life: Last Eleven (No.10), is the only one dated by the artist. Another two (No.6 and No.11, Tate T03580, T03581) were dated incorrectly by his widow Ann Stokes Angus. She proposed an order for the eleven paintings in the series for an earlier Tate catalogue.[1] Ann Stokes Angus also told the Tate that, though most of this series was painted in Stokes’s attic studio, the last three (possibly four) were executed in her pottery downstairs. She estimated that it was in late November that his decreasing physical powers had forced him to work in closer proximity to her.[2]

In common with all but one of the nine works owned by the Tate, this painting, No.10, was painted on a prepared canvas (Winsor & Newton). 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. On several works turps appears to have been poured to create a dribbling effect and this can be seen along the top of No.10. The colouring of the paintings is continuous with Stokes’s earlier work, though the lighter palette of a number of them is distinctive.

Chris Stephens
July 1998

[1] Tate Gallery Acquisitions 1982-4, London 1986, pp.330-6.
[2] Ann Stokes Angus, letter to Tate, 2 April 1986, Tate catalogue files.

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