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Frances, Our Muse

June 16, 2021

Frances Hodgkins, New Zealand-born artist

Portrait of Frances Mary Hodgkins Painting at an Easel in her Studio in Bowen Street, The Complete Frances Hodgkins


New Zealand-born artist Frances Hodgkins is the inspiration for our current season, Seven & Five. We are so inspired by her heartedness and determination. Keep scrolling to read about the life of this empowering woman.


Born in Dunedin in 1869, Frances was ahead of her time from day one. Always with a pencil in hand, she was constantly drawing and honing her craft.


Although her family didn’t see her creative prowess right away, others around her did and from when Frances was very young, declared “someday that girl will be an artist”.


Frances Hodgkins Paintings, China Shoe and Evening

Evening, circa 1930 and China Shoe, 1942, Frances Hodgkins, The Complete Frances Hodgkins


Frances was determined to be out exploring the world. She knew early that it was her destiny, and at the age of 16 famously proclaimed: “I am slowly settling down to an oldmaidship, and I have only one prominent idea and that is that nothing will interfere between me and my work.”


Frances Hodgkins in her teens, 1888

Frances Hodgkins in her teens, circa 1888, The Complete Frances Hodgkins


Ready for adventure, she left for Europe in 1901. Entranced by the world beyond Aotearoa, what was originally intended to be a short trip, became a lifelong journey.


Her eyes gazing beyond Europe, she travelled further afield to Morocco. She relished in finding somewhere a little more untamed, a little more rougher round the edges compared to the orderly towns of France.


Frances Hodgkins painting a young model, Tangier, Morocco, 1903


From Tangier she wrote, “There is a decided piquancy about the manner of one’s arrival in Morocco which has its charm. One is practically hurled into Tangier & the passage of oneself and ones baggage thro’ the customs is more like the process of passing a sheet thro’ a mangle than anything i have ever seen — however once we came thro’ alright... we are in this wondrous land of delight — heavens! how beautiful it is!”  


The Orange Sellers, 1903, watercolour and gouache on paper, Te Papa Collection

The Orange Sellers, Frances Hodgkins 1905, watercolour and gouache on paper, Te Papa Collection


Although her life plan was to settle in New Zealand, when she returned home she found herself disenchanted and unhappy with her personal life. Intrinsically independent, she left this all behind and sailed once again for Europe, the place that fulfilled her wanderlust where she continued to build her life.


 Corner of Lambton Quay and Bowen St, about 1900

Corner of Lambton Quay and Bowen St, about 1900, Ascent of Frances Hodgkins by Leo Bensemann and Barbara Brooke


For over 40 years she travelled relentlessly through England and Europe, letting only wartime prevent her. From the late 20s onwards, she slowly became known among modern English artists. She exhibited her work in London galleries, and in 1929 she became one of the advanced ‘Seven and Five’ society.


France Hodgkins at her exhibition in London, 1920

 Frances at her exhibition in London, 1920, Ascent of Frances Hodgkins by Leo Bensemann and Barbara Brooke


Frances passed away after leading an incredible life on May 13th, 1947. She is regarded as one of Aotearoa’s superior artists. Hodgkins was a woman ahead of her time. She showed incredible bravery and grabbed the world with both hands, thereby paving the way for the women who followed.


Frances Hodgkins in her studio, 1945

Frances in her studio, Corfe Castle, 1945, Ascent of Frances Hodgkins by Leo Bensemann and Barbara Brooke


To shop the Seven & Five Collection click here



Finding Frances Hodgkins by Mary Kisler

Ascent of Frances Hodgkins edited by Leo Bensemann and Barbara Brooke 

The Complete Frances Hodgkins developed by Auckland Art Gallery

Te Papa Collection 

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Body measurements of Wilson Trollope sizes*
   Size    Bust (cm) Waist (cm) Hips (cm)
6 78 65 92
8 83 70 97
10 88 75 102
12 93 80 107
14 98 85 112
16 103 90 117
*To take your measurements, please see our instructions below
Comparison of Wilson Trollope sizes with international sizes
Wilson Trollope     6          8         10       12      14  
Australia/UK 6 8 10 12 14
USA 2 4 6 8 10
EU 32 34 36 38 40
Japan 9 11 13 

There are three body measurement points that you need to know to ensure a great fit – bust, waist, and hips.

When taking your body measurements, wear the undergarments you normally wear for the most accurate results. Use a flexible tape measure, or a piece of string and ruler, and hold it around each body point so it is comfortably snug.  If the tape is cutting into your flesh, it is too tight.

To ensure an accurate measurement around your body, keep the measuring tape as level as possible from front to back. We recommend measuring yourself in front of a mirror so you can check this from a side view. If you can, get a friend to help you to ensure the most accurate measurements.

Bust: Wrap the measuring tape around your back and where the tape meets across the fullest point of your bust is your bust measurement.  

Waist: Wrap the measuring tape around your natural waist, the slimmest part of your torso, pulling the ends to the front. Where they meet is your waist measurement.

Hips: Wrap the measuring tape around the widest part of your bottom – this is usually low down towards your thighs. As with your bust and waist measurements, where the tape meets is your hip measurement.

Length: To measure the length of individual garments against your body it is best to measure down the centre of your back. To do this, start the measuring tape at either the base of your neck for dresses and tops, or at your waist for skirts. Measure down your body to the measurement listed in the garment description. This will show you where the garment comes to on you. When you are measuring for length, remember to make sure you are standing completely upright – it is best to have someone help you with this. Alternatively, compare the measurement with the length of a garment you already have.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Annabelle –, she is here to help.