[Frances Hodgkins recollections].
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Recollections by friends and relatives of New Zealand's internationally acclaimed painter, Frances Hodgkins.
Mrs Murragh (formerly Elsie Royce, a childhood neighbour of the Hodgkins family) recalls her skill at drawing and painting as a child, and that she was rather overshadowed by her elder sister.
She went to England in 1901, at the age of 32. She had a painting accepted by The Royal Academy. Returned to New Zealand in 1903.
Mrs Lydia Pharazyn, (Frances’ Hodgkins niece) Recalls her mother, Frances’ sister Isobel, arranged an art show in France's studio in Wellington. She describes the studio and her aunt’s habit of making her surroundings colourful and interesting, wherever she went.
Geoffrey Field (Frances’ Hodgkins nephew) remembers hero-worshipping her as a child. She was clever and witty and the family admired her.
Isobel Preston-Thomas (niece and god-daughter) Recalls Hodgkins was particular about the way the children spoke and manners.
In 1906 she went to Europe for six years and supported herself by giving art classes.
Elizabeth Rhind spent a month at one of her classes in Brittany. She gives her impressions of Hodgkins as a teacher, her style of dress and her personality. She says she missed New Zealand very much. She recounts the impression she made when entering a room as her appearance was slightly comical.
Cora Wilding was also an art student who took lessons from her in Paris in 1912. She recalls Hodgkins love of colour and her advice on technique and studying modern artists as well as old masters. She was a good cook and recalls a meal at Hodgkins studio.
In 1912 she toured Australia and New Zealand with exhibition of her paintings, which was well-received.
Michael Hodgkins (a nephew) remembers meeting her during this tour. She was called ‘Aunt Fanny’ by everyone.
On 17 Oct 1913 left New Zealand for good and settled in St Ives, Cornwall.
Geoffrey Field visited her while on leave from the New Zealand Division in 1917. He recalls her taking him to meet her many friends in St Ives, and got the impression she was very popular with many friends. He wrote to her and says her letters were written diagonally across the page and hard to decipher.
In 1918 she became friends with a visiting New Zealander Miss Beatrice Wood, now Mrs Seddon. She describes meeting her in her studio and watching her paint a woman and her son, only to have the painting rejected. She describes her physical appearance.
Lydia Pharazyn stayed with her aunt in 1919. She recalls her large circle of friends, including many young people. She says her aunt never had any money.
Her attitude to New Zealand was ambiguous. Lydia Pharazyn comments on her aunt’s impatience with people who weren’t artistically minded.
In 1922 she moved to the village of Burford in the Cotswolds. A child of the village, who she often painted, was Mrs F.J. Cameron who remembers their interactions with the artist.
In 1925 she took a job as a designer in Manchester cotton factory, as she was short of money, but by 1929 she was associated with various London art galleries.
Miss Gwen Knight, a fellow artist, met her in St Tropez in 1929. She describes her appearance and sat for her twice. She describes Hodgkins’ method of work and seeing one of the portraits of her in a New Zealand gallery. She met up with her occasionally in London again and found her short of money after her gallery, St George’s, had closed down.
Mrs May Hardcastle, a New Zealand artist, met up with her in Ibiza in the early 1930s. She describes her work habits outdoors to avoid the brightest sunlight.
Elizabeth Rhind explains her reputation of not wanting to mingle with New Zealanders.
Mrs Hardcastle explains how she mixed with young people who never noticed her age. They formed Unit One, a group of young modern painters and sculptors including Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.
She says in 1939 Hodgkins held an exhibition, but friends of her own age found her modern work disappointing as they could not understand it. However, her reputation was established.
Peter Field (another nephew) arrived in England during the war while serving with the RAF. He visited her in Corfe. He was impressed with her alert mind. He recalls her interest in the book being published by Penguin on her work and she as enjoying her recognition at last.
In November 1946, a retrospective exhibition of her work was shown in London to general acclamation. She died in May 1947 aged 78.
Reference number 27552
Media type AUDIO
Collection Sound Collection
Documentary radio programs
Nonfiction radio programs
FIELDS, Peter, Interviewee
FIELDS, Jeff, Interviewee
RHIND, Elizabeth, Interviewee
Wilding, Cora, 1888-1982, Interviewee
HODGKINS, Michael, Interviewee
CAMERON, F. J., Interviewee
KNIGHT, Gwen, Interviewee
Date 19 Apr 1961