Ethel M. Mallinson, J.B.Kitson on Bike, Elmet Hall, Leeds - 1918 watercolour

An original 1918 watercolour painting, Ethel M. Mallinson J.B.Kitson on Bike, Elmet Hall, Leeds.

A beautifully executed painting in watercolour and ink 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.

The painting depicts the artist's close friend Jessie Beatrice Kitson, cycling away from her family home, Elmet Hall in Roundhay, Leeds. J.B. Kitson, of the immensely wealthy Kitson engineering family, was sister of artist Robert Hawthorn Kitson. She went on to become first female Lord Mayor of Leeds.

Mallinson and Kitson travelled together extensively, Mallinson sketching to record their travels. The painting bears an aphoristic quotation from the poem 'If' by Rudyard Kipling. Mallinson includes such inspirational inscriptions on many of her pictures, lending her work an intellectual dimension: variously poetic, philosophical or feminist.

Initialled and dated lower right.
Some minor age toning. Please see photos for detail. There are paper and glue remnants on the back of the sheet, from historically being laid down.
24.6cm x 16cm.

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.

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Product code: JN-419

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