Mary Adshead (1904 - 1995)

The First Bow And Arrow, circa 1928

SKU: 5812

Signed and titled with various notes to the printer

Pen and ink, watercolour on card
9 x 10 1/2 in. (23 x 26.5 cm)


Height – 23cm x Width – 26.5cm


The Artist’s Estate

Provenance: The Artist’s Estate

Mary Adshead was one of the most prolific mural painters of her generation. At The Slade she she won joint first prize with Rex Whistler in 1924 and both went on to produce murals at the Highways boys club in Shadwell. Many important mural commissions followed. She also designed UK postage stamps, illustrated books and exhibited easel pictures in at The New English Art Club and Royal Academy. Her paintings are in many public gallery collections including The Tate, The Graves Art gallery Sheffield, The Imperial War Museum, Manchester City Art Gallery The London Transport Museum and The University Art gallery Liverpool. There are also several surviving mural paintings. An exhibition of her work was held at The University of Liverpool Art Gallery 21 Jan-29 Apr 2005, Graves Art Gallery Sheffield 25 Jun-17 Sept 2005 and Kingston -upon-Thames Art Gallery 1 Oct – 19 Nov 2005.

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Mary Adshead
1904 - 1995

Mary Adshead studied at the Slade School of Fine Art (1920’24)
under Henry Tonks (1862’1937), who in 1924 selected her for a
mural commission at Highways boys’ club in Shadwell, working
with Rex Whistler (1905’1944). 

She became a prominent muralist, creating decorations for
both public and private spaces, including the British Pavilion at
the 1937 Paris International Exhibition. She also illustrated several
books, such as The Little Boy and His House by Stephen Bone
(1904’1958) (whom she married in 1929), and made designs for
London Transport and the Post Office. 

As a noteworthy female artist, Adshead exhibited frequently
at the WIAC from the mid ‘1930s, before serving on their
committee in 1951. Working at a time when expectations of
women were still largely confined to issues of domesticity, her
prodigious professional output was noteworthy. Her approach to
mural painting ‘ especially in her choice of subjects and her colourful
palette ‘ challenged the perceived divisions which determined that
public and private spaces should necessarily be treated differently. She
was the subject of a retrospective at Liverpool Art Gallery in 2005.


SKU: 11841

Mary Adshead (1904 - 1995)

Cae Nest Farm Llanbedr


SKU: 9434

Mary Adshead (1904 - 1995)

An Unpleasant Surprise


SKU: 9433

Mary Adshead (1904 - 1995)

A Good Answer


SKU: 9429

Mary Adshead (1904 - 1995)

John’s House
SKU: 9430

Mary Adshead (1904 - 1995)

Lucky Day


SKU: 9425

Mary Adshead (1904 - 1995)

Evening Primroses in a London Garden


SKU: 9139

Mary Adshead (1904 - 1995)

Livestock Market, (recto) Picking Tealeaves (verso), circa 1930


SKU: 9140

Mary Adshead (1904 - 1995)

The Little Boy and His House, 1936


SKU: 8348

Mary Adshead (1904 - 1995)

Finnial decorations


SKU: 7759

Mary Adshead (1904 - 1995)

Gladstone & Venus, 1931


SKU: 7303

Mary Adshead (1904 - 1995)

St Tropez, c. 1931


SKU: 6969

Mary Adshead (1904 - 1995)

Have a Happy Christmas 1983


SKU: 5978

Mary Adshead (1904 - 1995)

Lunette design for a school mural, 1930’s


SKU: 5501

Mary Adshead (1904 - 1995)

Garison Lane Nursery Training School, circa 1930


SKU: 5282

Mary Adshead (1904 - 1995)

Farmers ploughing, Study for The World’s Food mural, c. 1942