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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

 

Sources:

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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WILSON TROLLOPE SIZE CHART
Body measurements of Wilson Trollope sizes*
   Size    Bust (cm) Waist (cm) Hips (cm)
6 78 65 92
8 83 70 97
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12 93 80 107
14 98 85 112
16 103 90 117
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Comparison of Wilson Trollope sizes with international sizes
Wilson Trollope     6          8         10       12      14  
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EU 32 34 36 38 40
Japan 9 11 13 
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