From 1950 to 1976, Mellis and her second husband, fellow artist Francis Davison, lived and painted in relative isolation in rural Norfolk. This painting, depicting one blue and two white anemone flowers drooping in a vase, is more directly representative than many of her later, more abstract works. However, the composition retains strong geometric elements, and demonstrates the bold use of colour for which Mellis was known.
Date of work
Original: Oil paint on board 33 x 35 cm Tate. Purchased 1971 © The estate of Margaret Mellis
Margaret Mellis was one of the founding members of the St Ives group of artists that settled on the Cornish peninsula in the post-war period. She grew up in East Lothian and studied in Edinburgh and London before moving to Cornwall in 1939. She was inspired to create small scale abstractions by the artists Ben Nicholson and Naum Gabo, creating geometric collages and paintings that demonstrated remarkable handling of colour. After moving to Norfolk in the 1950s with her second husband, she pursued abstraction with renewed vigour, later turning to sculptural constructions from driftwood.