Margaret Rose Preston, (1875-1963), Floral Still Life with Roses in a Silver Bowl, Oil on canvas
Margaret Rose Preston (1875-1963)
Floral Still Life with Roses in a Silver Bowl Oil on canvas
Gifted from the artist to Bessie Davidson
Gifted to David Davidson by the above, thence by descent
Bessie Davidson was the vendor's great great aunt
Margaret Preston studied in Melbourne 1896-97 under Bernard Hall, living in Adelaide as a 26 year old artist & teacher in the period approx. 1897-1901, she exhibited Still Life works which illustrated hers perception of the 19th Century naturalism & tonal rendering of the Dutch-Flemish 17th Century painters such as Willem Kalf, Pieter Claesz & Jan de Heem, which brought the relationships of domestic objects & space to the forefront of her art, paintings which were inspired by reproductions as the artist had not yet travelled to Europe. Still Life studies were formally incorporated into the syllabus of the National Gallery Painting School & as a student Preston made a key decision to become a still life/flower painter, which allowed her artistic control of her subject, which the landscape or sitter did not.
She met Bessie Davidson around 1899 when she became a pupil of Preston's. They subsequently lived, travelled & worked together for nearly a decade & the relationship became the most important of Preston's early life. Davidson facilitated the development of Preston's career, probably providing financial support to travel overseas, & in turn Preston's teaching facilitated the rapid development of Davidson's art. The relationship granted to each a measure of social & economic independence. Davidson having been wholly converted to French artistic traditions on her first trip to Europe, she subsequently settled permanently in Paris. Theirs was ultimately not simply a personal parting but a philosophical one. While Davidson became immersed in School of Paris painting, Preston established a career in Sydney, aiming to create the foundations of a distinctly Australian school of art. Edwards, D., Peel, Rose., Mimmocchi, D. Margaret Preston, AGNSW 2005, pp15-22