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Mary Kent Harrison NEAC RBA photographed in the 1940s. Credit: marykentharrison.com
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Mary Kent Harrison NEAC RBA (1915-1983)

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About

Mary Kent Harrison was a British artist born in 1915 painting landscapes, still life, portraits and interiors as well as sculpting. She studied at The Kingston School of Art, The Slade school of Art and The Royal Academy Schools in London and was elected a member of the New English Art Club in 1955. She was also a member of the Royal Society of British Artists

Mary was born in Richmond Upon Thames where she lived in the family home and attended the wonderfully named Twizzletwig Boarding School For Girls in Hindhead. After the Second World War, she moved with her husband to Cambridge where she gave birth to the first three of seven children.

Her training as an artist commenced at Kingston-On-Thames School of Art 1934 to 1935 where she gained a Board Of Education Diploma in Drawing And painting. She then attended The Slade School, London, during 1935 to 1937 where, in 1936 she won The Slade Prize. Finally, she attended The Royal Academy from 1937-1939. One of her teachers at the Royal College Of Art was Vivian Pitchforth RA and it is possible to detect echoes of his work in some of Mary’s landscapes. Vivian Pitchforth also painted in Yorkshire where Mary painted later in life.

Stanley Spencer is often mentioned as being similar in some of his work. It is possible to see some slight similarity in the depiction of the human figure in Mary's early work, but there is at present no first hand evidence that she admired his work. Their depiction of landscape seems very different, and Spencer's figurative compositions are based far more in the imagination, whereas in very nearly all examples, Mary painted what she saw - even if, for the purposes of painting, it was what she chose to see.

Mary died in 1983, with her funeral service taking place at the same church (St Matthias Church) in Richmond, conducted by the same minister who married her and her husband George.

Find out more about Mary Kent Harrison on the website created by her youngest son Stephen.