Ethel M. Mallinson, Children Playing Ring a Ring o' Roses -1908 charcoal drawing


£38.00



An original early 20th-century charcoal drawing, Ethel M. Mallinson Children Playing Ring a Ring o' Roses.

A charming and beautifully executed drawing by Ethel M. Mallinson (fl.c.1892-1940). Mallinson was a very interesting figure in the Leeds art scene in the early 20th century and a leading member of the prestigious Leeds Fine Arts Club. She exhibited pictures at the RSA and RSW between 1917 and 1940.

This drawing is one of a series of works in charcoal by Mallinson depicting local children at play. Mallinson was close friends with Jessie Beatrice Kitson, of the influential local Kitson family, who was well-known locally for her charitable work, as a Magistrate and Poor Law Guardian. The pair had shared humanitarian interests and would often take groups of city children out to Ilkley or Bolton Abbey. This charming observational drawing was likely executed during such work.

Laid down on backing paper.

Unsigned.
There is slight buckling to the paper and some minor foxing and toning as shown. The lower edge of the sheet has been extended with an additional strip of paper. Please see photos for detail.
15.3cm x 22.3cm.
Unframed.

This is one of a remarkable collection of works by Ethel M. Mallinson (1878-1970) that we have for sale, which showcase her particular illustrative style. Her works combine mastery of the watercolour medium with elements of social commentary and liberal, progressive politics.

Our collection spans the first four decades of the twentieth century, from 1900 to 1938. The pictures are a fascinating record of a gifted woman in the Suffragette era. In 1927, critic Herbert Thompson wrote that her work ‘unites the freedom of a sketch with the carefully planned design of a considered composition; everything in it is absolutely right, yet it has the sense of spontaneity that is one of the greatest charms in watercolour.’ And, Mallinson’s ‘brilliantly clever drawings’ show an ‘inborn sense of form which makes her hastiest draughtsmanship expressive’. Her subjects range from the humorous, to the political, to the inspirational, and works include: a view at Jessie Beatrice Kitson’s birth home, Elmet Hall in Roundhay; local travels by bicycle or further afield in Scotland, Belgium, Italy and North Africa; and moments of political and social significance, such as the 1918 Armistice and election of radically liberal Leeds MP Richard Denman in 1931.

Mallinson’s leading role in the prestigious Leeds Fine Arts Society (as secretary 1908-48) made a significant contribution to the intellectual life of the city, and through the Club she associated with artists such as Ina Kitson Clark and Jacob Kramer. But it is her close friendship with Jessie Beatrice Kitson, of the immensely wealthy Kitson engineering family, that had most influence on her watercolours in style and subject. Jessie Beatrice’s brother was watercolour artist Robert Hawthorn Kitson (1873-1947), who lived a flamboyant life in Sicily, and who was an old friend and patron of Frank Brangwyn. And through the wider Kitson family there are further interesting artistic connections, such as Sydney Decimus Kitson (1871-1937), who was an avid collector and scholar of John Sell Cotman. Most of all, Ethel’s affection for her friend Jessie Beatrice can be seen in her work.

Text copyright © 2019 Somerset & Wood Fine Art Ltd. All rights reserved.

Product code: JN-412


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