Margaret Stones 'Nell Gwynn'

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Margaret Stones is considered one of Australia’s most significant botanist artists. She came to the form while recovering from a long illness, drawing the flowers her friends sent her in commiseration. Her doctor remarked on her talent, connecting her with the University of Melbourne’s botany department and an illustrious career.

This work however, is not a botanical illustration. Coming from the private collection of noted writer and scholar Ursula Hoff, it is a sketch of Nell Gwynn, a celebrity figure of the Restoration period. On its verso, Stones writes to Hoff:
"This is one of those portraits Her Majesty is kindly lending to the Adelaide Festival... I thought it might be of some use for your lecture."

For distinction in her career, Stones was awarded a silver and gold Veitch Memorial Medal by the Royal Horticultural Society, an Order of the British Empire and had two plants named after her – Stonesia and Stonesiella, a Tasmanian flowering shrub. For Stones, the great vitality and challenge of her work lay in its duality – these works must be “acceptable to botanists and acceptable to the art community,” she reflected.

For collectors of art historical ephemera, this work is fascinating.

Margaret STONES (1920 - 2018)
'Nell Gwynn' 1963
pen and ink on paper
Image Size: 18 x 14 cm
Dimensions: 18 x 14 cm
Signed: Extensively inscribed, signed 'Margaret' and dated on the reverse
Comes with Letter of Provenance

While there are no tears to the paper, there are fold creases reflecting its primary life as a personal note. Tape residue on verso. Window mounted. 

Inscribed on verso: "Kew 31-8-1963 / Dear Ursula,
This is one of those portraits Her Majesty is kindly lending w [sic] the Adelaide Festival. Since it shows Nell S Gwynn in a hitherto unexhibited picture holding a basket of tulipa gesneriana. I thought it be of some use for your lecture - love, Margaret"

Condition: Very Good: Describes a work of art's image as Excellent, but may show some small signs of surrounding wear to paper or frame. There are no tears to paper margin or disruption to the paint surface.
© The Artist or Assignee