The first exhibition of the New English in 1886 immediately
established the NEAC as a strong voice. During the entire
20th Century, in spite of waves of movements that pulled
the art world in many directions, the club’s artists held to
their commitment to figurative art.
Margaret Thomas is a lyrical painter essentially
in the English tradition. In her work, as in
her life, there is a down-to-earth poetry and
a complete rejection of all pretentiousness.
Her key influences are Braque and Philip Wilson
Steer and the creative tension produced between
these two giants has led to what she terms as
'a long tug-o-war' in her studio. The happy
result, over seven decades now, has been a flow
of evocative pictures which are underpinned
by robust draughtsmanship and deft, almost abstract
Working solely in oils, and always indoors,
Margaret Thomas paints commonplace subjects
(flowers, interiors, water-dominated landscapes)
which are rendered extraordinary by her singular
vision. Somehow she never repeats herself, but
always finds a fresh angle and a new light.
Returning most frequently to the motif of a
dying flower, she draws endless inspiration
from these spiky, spectral and sculptural presence's.
She says:"Fading, dried, left to themselves,
flowers begin to die from the beginning. When
picked they must be left alone to fulfil their
destinies, to orientate to the light, to sort
out their relative strengths, to stabilise and
to mature. They cannot be arranged. All this
I seek to show in my paintings." But rather
than appearing elegiac, each Thomas flower piece
attests to the strength and the beauty of nature.
More than anything else perhaps, Thomas pictures
communicate an enthusiasm for living.
Biographical Details - Margaret
Born September 26, London
Studied at Sidcup School
Scholarship to the Slade
School of Fine Art
Studied at the Royal Academy
Schools under Thomas Monnington and Ernest Jackson
Worked on a dairy farm,
then in an apiary in Wiltshire
First work - Still Life
of Norfolk Ham - exhibited at the Royal Academy.
Later showed in the Summer Exhibition for 46 consecutive
Elected a member of the
Royal Society of British Artists
First solo exhibition
at the Leicester Galleries, London (second show
Elected a member of The
New English Art Club and has shown with the group
annually ever since.
First solo exhibition
at Aitken Dotts, later the Scottish Gallery, in
Edinburgh (further shows 1955, 1966, 1982).
Bought a studio in Edinburgh
overlooking The Mound
Edinburgh Festival exhibition
at the Outlook Tower. Exhibition at the Canaletto
Exhibition at Howard Roberts
Exhibition at The Minories,
Exhibition at Queen's
University Belfast (second Belfast show, at the
Octagon Gallery, 1973).
Awarded the De Lazlo Medal
by the Royal Society of British Artists (and again
Bought the Watch House
on the quay at Orford as her first studio in East
Anglia. Exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London.
Exhibition at the Gallery
Winner of the Hunting
Group Award for the Oil Painting of the Year
Exhibition at Snape Maltings
Concert Hall Gallery, Suffolk
Moved to a converted watermill
First exhibition with
Sally Hunter Fine Art, London (further shows 1991,
1995 and 1998).
Exhibition at the Royal
West of England Academy, Bristol.
Settled fully in Norfolk.
Exhibition at Messum's Fine Art, London
- Margaret Thomas
The Royal Collection
National Library of Wales
Government Art Collection
Exeter College, Oxford
City Art Gallery, Carlisle
Ferens Art Gallery, Hull
Wakefield Art Gallery
Paisley Art Gallery
County Education authorities across England