Artist(s): Mary Newcomb
Author(s): Tessa Newcomb & William Packer
Year published: 3rd September 2018
Publisher: Lund Humphries
Publisher Location: London
Total Pages: 144
Illustrations: 100 colour illustrations, 89 B&W illustrations
On New Year’s Day 1986, encouraged by her dealer Andras Kalman, artist Mary Newcomb, then aged 64, began to keep a diary. She wrote in its opening pages: ‘I wanted … to remind ourselvesthat – in our haste – in this century – we may not give time to pause and look- and may pass on our way unheeding’.
This beautiful new book, compiled by the artist’s daughter and grandson, reveals Mary Newcomb as an acute observer of her surroundings, reproducing her copious sketches alongside more finished paintings and short diary extracts to draw out the many themes which preoccupied her throughout her career as an artist. Mary Newcomb’s world was rural East Anglia, where she managed a small mixed farm with her husband Godfrey Newcomb. The working life of the countryside engrossed her quite as much as the cycle of Nature: she noticed and relished everything, with as keen an eye for the colour of the bridesmaids’ dresses at awedding as for the yellowand brown of a dragonfly’s body.
Mary’s daughter Tessa Newcomb, also an artist, introduces the key themes of the book with short texts which provide fascinating insight into her mother’s world. A reflective introductory essay by art critic William Packer considers Mary Newcomb’s written diary observations alongside the poetic language of her art.