Artwork Description / Detail
Still-life landscape with fruit c. 1935
Frances Hodgkins’s drawings express her assuredness in her own skill and reveal an element of experimentation in terms of both subject matter and form. Hodgkins intended her drawings to not be just picturesque examples of the local landscape and people, but to be autonomous artworks that would also serve as inspiration for larger paintings. They were undoubtedly popular and the present drawing, Still-life in a landscape, bares a strikingly close resemblance to her later work,
Writing to her mother Rachel on the 4th of February 1921 to say that she was
‘…sending off my Cassis set of drawings to Mr Frank Rutter to see if he can arrange
to show them in London…’
Her drawings are executed with a paucity of line that underscores Hodgkins’s masterful draughtsmanship The use of bold patches of shading works to accentuate the central motif of the fruit while Hodgkins’s ability to indicate spatial recession by hinting at the layering of the foliage in the background is testament to her skill and understanding of the fundamentals of the drawing practice.
Hodgkins’s preoccupation with conveying movement through line in her drawings originated in the early stages of her career. Her fixation with the still life genre continued on into the 1930’s where she was able to combine a series of separate still life objects as well as their surroundings in an effortless and graceful manner. Hodgkins’s later works proclaim her confidence and the apparent ease with which she was able to wield her pencil – charging
it with the same interest that had fuelled her earlier explorations into colour.
The curving lines that sweep across Hodgkins’s drawings invoke a sense of space and freedom, while also appearing to capture fleeting moments in time. In some instances, Hodgkins brought heterogeneous objects together, weaving a composition from items taken from her immediate environment instead of seeing them in abstract terms as she came to do in her later paintings.
(Edward) Eardley Knollys (1902-1991) was an art dealer, a member of the Bloomsbury School of artists, art critic and collector, active from the 1920s to 1950s. He was known as a “minor legend in British art”.
Born in Alresford, Hampshire to Cyprian Robert Knollys, a land agent descended from a junior branch of the family of the Earl of Banbury and his wife Audrey (née Hill), he was educated at Winchester and Christ Church, Oxford. Knollys owned 18 Frances Hodgkins paintings in his collection. He was a director of The Storran Gallery at 106 Brompton Road, who exhibited Hodgkins works on many occasions in the 1930’s.