Margaret Mellis

Margaret Mellis (1914 – 2009)

Margaret Mellis was born of Scottish parents in China in 1914, moving to Britain as a baby. She studied at the Edinburgh College of Art between 1929-33, after which she received a postgraduate award and scholarship which allowed her to travel to Paris. Mellis later returned to Scotland in 1935, where she held a fellowship at Edinburgh College of Art before studying at the Euston Road School.

In 1939, Mellis moved to St Ives, Cornwall with her husband, writer and painter Adrian Stokes, where they both became central figures in the St Ives group of artists which included Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Naum Gabo. From this point onwards in her career Mellis was heavily influenced by her experiences in St Ives.

From 1939, Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth, along with their family, lived with Mellis and Stokes and was encouraged by Nicholson to experiment with collage and relief, prompting her to ‘think in a different way, not in colour which was natural to me’.

Margaret Mellis moved to Suffolk after re-marrying the artist Francis Davison in the 1950s later moving to Southwold where she settled. She received numerous exhibitions galleries including the Tate, Whitechapel Art Gallery and the V&A to name a few.



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