Mary Dawson Elwell (1874-1952)

Artist Name Mary Dawson Elwell (1874-1952)
Title The Green Bedroom
Description This superb British 1920's interior oil painting is by noted female interior artist Mary Dawson Elwell. It was painted in 1928 and exhibited the same year at the Royal Academy no. 296 and entitled The Green Bedroom. The Elwells moved to Bar House on North Bar Within in Beverley in 1910. Her first husband Alfred Holmes died three years later and Elwell married her second husband, long standing friend and art mentor Fred Elwell in 1914. It was a large house with several bedrooms and Elwell has painted several of them as well as landings, hallways, sitting rooms and studies. Indeed, in The Yellow Interior, painted in 1934, one can see the green bedroom across the hallway and through an open door. Some of her interiors have figures in them going about their lives, some not.  At least a couple, the Landing in Summer painted in 1930 and The Front Door painted in 1940 have a beloved dog. The figure in The Green Bedroom and several other interior paintings of the house is probably Mary Elwell herself. She is sat on the green chaise lounge in the foreground and leaning forward to adjust her shoe. A pair of silk stocking lie discarded behind her. There is a four-poster bed dressed with floral material to match the curtains and several other pieces of furniture. An upright mirror reflects the washing stand that we can’t actually see. Paintings naturally adorn the walls including a Chinese work. It is a very intimate scene with the figure of Elwell far more central than in many of her works. The vibrant green carpet, blind and chaise lounge give the painting it's title. The light from the window beautifully catches Elwell's back and bare shoulders and the furniture gleams. The detail and delicacy of the painting is superb. Elwell is a master of interior paintings and clearly loved her home and all its rooms. This is an excellent example of her work and as much a self portrait as an interior which makes it all the more special.

Signed and dated 1928 lower right.
Provenance Mackay Gallery, Fulham Road; Private collection, UK.                                   
Exhibited London, Royal Academy, 1928, no. 296 entitled The Green Bedroom.
Medium Oil on Canvas
Size 30 x 25 inches
Frame Housed in a gilded oak Watts frame 37 inches by 32 inches and in good condition.
Condition Good condition.
Biography Mary Dawson Elwell (1874-1952). Painter, notably of interiors, also landscapes, born in Liverpool, daughter of a shipping merchant. She married Hull oil broker George Alfred Holmes, twice her age, who died in 1913. She then married the painter Fred Elwell, long standing family friend and with whom she studied, in 1914. His portrait of his wife is held by the Borough Council in Beverley, Yorkshire, where they settled. Her money enabled the Elwells to travel extensively on the continent. She exhibited extensively at the RA, also at SWA, RSA, Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and elsewhere, although a stroke in 1945 incapacitated her. There was a retrospective of the work of the two Elwells in 1953 at Beverley Art Gallery and Ferens Art Gallery, Hull. 
Price £7500
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