Artwork Description / Detail
The Katherine Mansfield Paintings is a collection of oil paintings originally commissioned by UK publisher The Folio Society to illustrate their millennium book of short stories by Katherine Mansfield.
London based New Zealand artist Susan Wilson accepted the commission because of the strong affinity she felt with her fellow expatriate Katherine Mansfield.
One of Wilson’s favourite Mansfield stories is ‘The Voyage.’ She used her own memories of a dramatic Cook Strait crossing at the age of twelve for inspiration in this painting which became the frontispiece in the book. More in-depth research was required to illustrate the pre-WW1 German postman’s outfit from ‘Frau Brechenmacher Attends a Wedding’ and the New Zealand morepork from ‘Her First Ball’.
Susan Wilson was born in Dunedin and grew up in Southland and North Canterbury before moving to Auckland with her family at the age of twelve. She began training as a nurse in the early 1970s but a move to England in 1976 inspired a change in career. After settling in London, Wilson studied painting at the Camberwell School of Art and Craft from 1979 to 1982. She soon gained a significant reputation as a painter of landscape, still life and portraiture and went on to study at the Royal Academy. Wilson has built a career in art education since graduating, she has worked at many of the top art schools in London and was most recently involved in the Lucian Freud exhibition at the Tate Gallery. Wilson’s work is included in the private collection of HRH Prince of Wales and Julie Christie.
This collection of paintings was originally exhibited at Browse and Darby Gallery in London during 2000 to celebrate the publication of the Folio Society’s Katherine Mansfield Short Stories. Jonathan Grant Galleries then brought the paintings to New Zealand for a touring exhibition that included The Millennium Public Art Gallery in Blenheim, Pataka Porirua Museum of Arts & Cultures in Wellington and The Aigantighe Art Museum in Timaru, and the collection was finally offered for sale at Jonathan Grant Galleries in Parnell.