Maxwell Ashby Armfield (1881 - 1972)

Three Feathers

Tempera on board.
Signed with the artist’s monogram and numbered OP / 253 at the upper right.
253 x 305 mm. (10 x 12 in.)


The present work is numbered by the artist as Opus 253, which would suggest an approximate date of 19481; it was first exhibited the following year. Writing a few years later, Armfield described the particular appeal of tempera, noting that ‘only in this apparently most material and restricted medium could I learn to express in this age, those fundamental things which could not at the present time find acceptance in a direct or ostensible way.’ In another publication, Armfield wrote, ‘Tempera because of the exigencies of material is specially suitable for smallish pictures, gay and rich in colour…the peculiarities of the medium itself render it most suitable for the presentation of flowers, fruit, and the small beasts naturally associated with them: for sky, pebbles, and generally, the smaller details of nature...’

The present painting belonged to the artist’s friend Mrs. Gladys Lilian Grant, who formed a collection made up largely of paintings by Armfield, as well as several works by Eliot Hodgkin.

Kensington Art Gallery, London, in 1949
Purchased from them by Mrs. Carrow, London
Gladys Lilian Grant and by descent until 2006
Anonymous sale, London, Christie’s South Kensington, 12 July 2006, lot 143.


Three Feathers


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