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Margaret Mellis: A life in Colour (two excerpts)

Sue Giovanni and Jules Hussey




Pt 1: Mellis describes coming to Cornwall at the outbreak of WW2



 Pt 2: Mellis in Suffolk describing her working methods



These are two excerpts from a 65 minute documentary, that will premiere at the Sainsbury Centre, UEA, Norwich, and travel to St Ives later in 2008.

DVD is available for sale at www.margaretmellis.com. Discounts are available if you say you saw it advertised on artcornwall.org!



Margaret Mellis was born of Scottish parents in China in 1914, and moved to Britain as a baby. She was educated at Edinburgh College of Art between 1929-33, after which she received a postgraduate award and scholarship which allowed her to travel to Paris. From 1935-7, Mellis held a fellowship at Edinburgh College of Art before studying at Euston Road School.

In 1939, with her first husband, writer and painter Adrian Stokes, she moved to St Ives, Cornwall where they both became central figures in the St Ives group of artists which included Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Naum Gabo. Mellis's career 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. Mellis was encouraged by Nicholson to move away from representational painting and to experiment with collage and relief, prompting her to 'think in a different way, not in colour which was natural to me'. In 1948, Mellis re-married to the artist Francis Davison and after a brief time in post-war France, she settled in Suffolk in 1950 where she has sinced lived and worked.

See artcornwall.org profiles for more info on Adrian Stokes and other St Ives modernists