Dancing Girl, a drawing for The Green Leaf Players

MAXWELL ASHBY ARMFIELD RWS (1882-1972) Biography

Dancing Girl, a drawing for The Green Leaf Players (England, 1915)

Pen and ink on paper
Signed with monogram and dated lower right


23.50cm high
14.50cm wide
(9.25 inches high)
(5.71 inches wide)
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Private collection, England

Exhibition History

Southampton Art Gallery, Maxwell Armfield, June 1978, number 25 (lent from private collection of A. Ballard)
The Fine Art Society, London, September 1983, number 15875

Description / Expertise

The Greenleaf Rhythmic Plays were begun in the Cotswolds by Maxwell and Constance Armfield, just before their departure to America. Between 1915 and 1925 Armfield worked on illustrations for Constance’s writing: The Curious Herbal, The Gilded Wreath, Red Ridinghood’s Wood, Belle and Beau and Nursery Classics, and wrote himself The Glassblade, A Chinese Fable, Lost Silver and The Minstrel. All were published by the Greenleaf Press in Duckworth. This ink drawing, Dancing Girl relates to Armfield’s ink designs for his own play, the Grass Blade which he worked on later in New York and California. Describing the period from 1914-15 just after he had given up his Cotswold house and was waiting in London to depart for America Maxwell Armfield explained:

During these months were interested in the new type of drama that was springing up, and I did many costume designs, whilst I began seriously to systematize my studies in syntax in a methodical way; synthesizing rhythm, word and colour in little one-act plays more or less based on the form of the Theocritan Idylls. These were tried out along with other similar material in our large studio in Glebe Place, Chelsea. One of our friends was Margaret Morris, the dancer, who was experimenting in the same kind of way. Another focus of inspiration was the Hester Sainsbury Group, formed to speak and act her amazingly vital rhythmic verse-plays. There is not doubt that the ardent enthusiasm of these and allied experiments had a definite influence on the subsequent trend of artistic drama, and indeed later gave Geoffrey Whitworth the idea of the British Drama League.(1)

1. Maxwell Armfield in My Approach To Art, an essay printed in Maxwell Armfield, Southampton Art Gallery, 1978