MAXWELL ASHBY ARMFIELD RWS (1882-1972)
MODERN BRITISH (20th Century )
Mercury (England, c.1935)
Pencil, gouache and watercolour laid on paper
Title inscribed in margin Rug 3 x 6
Maxwell Armfield, An Artist in America, Methuen & Co. Ltd, London 1925, page 40
Raeburn Gallery, 1935
Southampton & Birmingham Art Galleries, 1978
Description / Expertise
Carpets were made to Armfield's designs by Crosby & Sons and Tomkinson Ltd. These designs are from a series produced by Armfield in the mid 1930's, the remainder of which are now in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and the Metropolitan Museum, New York.
Maxwell Armfield trained in the traditions of the Birmingham School of Art and was responsible for renewing an interest amongst British artists of the 20th century in the ancient and traditional technique of tempera painting.
In 1905, Henry Payne arranged for a group of students, together with the more established artists, to have demonstrations in the use of tempera given by Joseph Southall in his own house. Maxwell Armfield was an early and eager participant at these occasions, and said he probably learned more of the tempera technique on casual Sunday afternoon visits to Southall's studio than in any other way, and learnt from him `a great deal' of the rather complex technical manipulation that he (Southall) had worked out for himself.(1) Armfield and Southall became life long friends as a result of these informal classes.
Armfield himself wrote Tempera Painting Today in 1946, a modern thesis on the difficulties and advantages of the technique. His influence on modern British artists has been considerable, inspiring artists such as John Tunnard, John Armstrong, Eliot Hodgkin, Augustus Lunn, and many others.
1. See, Joseph Southall 1861-1944 Artist-Craftsman, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery Exhibition catalogue, 1980, page 7