Born in Bedfordshire, Theresa Stannard perfected the art of watercolour at an early age. Her father and grandfather had both been members of the Royal British Academy and regularly exhibited watercolour paintings. As a result, Theresa consistently painted in watercolour and her proficiency in the medium is clearly apparent in her later works.
In 1909 Queen Alexandra bought one of Stannard’s watercolours, and in 1915 at the age of sixteen she became the youngest ever exhibitor at the Royal Academy. Later in 1923, Stannard and her father mounted a joint exhibition at the Brook Street Gallery where Queen Mary purchased one of her watercolour garden scenes.
Throughout the inter-war years, Stannard continued to enjoy a widespread reputation and members of the royal family continued to buy her works. In 1931 they purchased one of Stannard’s paintings that led the King to remark that it was a ‘delightful scheme of colour.’ Indeed a reviewer in the Birmingham Post (6 March 1928) had earlier stated that Stannard’s depictions of gardens were ‘fresh and clear, and in handling that are confident and capable…Miss Stannard is a devout and careful student of nature.‘
Throughout her long career, Stannard constantly focused on garden scenes, flowers and cottages. Her paintings possess a delicate lyricism, provided by the sketchy quality of her brush and her extensive palette. This is illustrated by the current painting where various species of flower are identifiable such as the lavender, nastursiams, climbing roses and hollyhocks. On close inspection however, it is clear that these plants are described through few strokes and are not mimetically copied. As a result, the painting is fresh, dynamic and vibrant yet still harmonious.
The watercolour paintings of Theresa Sylvester Stannard hold a long history of being coveted pieces of art and they continue to entice and inspire contemporary viewers on an international scale.