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Mary Fedden


Cat on a Cornish Beach, 1996

H:20.5cm W:26cm
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Mary Fedden

Born: 1915
Died: 2012

Mary Fedden was born in Bristol. She left school at sixteen to study at the Slade School of Art in London. After leaving the college she made a living teaching, painting portraits and producing stage designs for Sadlers Wells and the Arts Theatre. At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Fedden enlisted in the Land Army and the Woman’s Voluntary Service where she was commissioned to produce murals for the war effort. In 1944 she was sent abroad as a driver for the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes. After the war, Fedden returned to easel painting and developed her individual 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 Ben Nicholson’s fascinating as were the paintings of his wife Winifred. I also admire the Scottish artist Anne Redpath and the French painter Henri Hayden’. In 1951 Mary Fedden married the artist Julian Trevelyan whom she had met before the outbreak of war. They bought a studio together on the River Thames at Chiswick, where she lived and worked for the rest of her life. From 1958-1964 she taught at the Royal College of Art 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 was elected Royal Academician. From 1984 to 1988 she was President of the Royal West of England Academy. She was awarded an honorary doctorate 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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