Mary Fedden

OBE, RA, RWA Born: 1915
Died: 2012

Mary Fedden was born in Bristol. She left school at sixteen to study atthe Slade School of Art in London. After leaving the college she madea living teaching, painting portraits and producing stage designs forSadlers Wells and the Arts Theatre.At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Fedden enlisted inthe Land Army and the Woman’s Voluntary Service where she wascommissioned to produce murals for the war effort. In 1944 she wassent abroad as a driver for the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes.After the war, Fedden returned to easel painting and developed herindividual style of still life painting. In an article in The Artist magazine,Fedden wrote:‘I really float from influence to influence. I found the early BenNicholson’s fascinating as were the paintings of his wife Winifred.I also admire the Scottish artist Anne Redpath and the French painterHenri Hayden’.In 1951 Mary Fedden married the artist Julian Trevelyan whom shehad met before the outbreak of war. They bought a studio togetheron the River Thames at Chiswick, where she lived and worked for therest of her life. From 1958-1964 she taught at the Royal College ofArt and was appointed the first female tutor in the Painting School.Her pupils included David Hockney, Allen Jones and Victoria Crowe.Subsequently, Fedden taught at the Yehudi Menuhin School and waselected Royal Academician. From 1984 to 1988 she was President ofthe Royal West of England Academy. She was awarded an honorarydoctorate from the University of Bath and an O.B.E. for her work in2009. She died at her home in Chiswick in 2012.


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