Mary Fedden

Mary Fedden

Now in her nineties, Mary Fedden remains a prolific and popular painter. Her long and distinguished career has taken many turns, but it is her bold still lifes that she is perhaps best known for, with their contrasts of disparate and at times quirky elements. Read more

Fedden was born in 1915 and studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London from 1932 to 1936. She went on to teach Painting at the Royal College of Art from 1958 to 1964, the first woman tutor to teach in the Painting School, and subsequently taught at the Yehudi Menuhin School from 1965 to 1970.

Fedden's lifelong preoccupation has been the still life with a view beyond. A staple of modern British painting, it is the motif of innumerable works by Ben Nicholson, Christopher Wood, Paul Nash, Winifred Nicholson, and John Piper, all of whom loved its juxtaposition of the near and the far, the interior and the landscape, and the object clearly observed and the distant view. There is less regard for the rules of perspective and more of a delight in pictorial choreography and in pure colour. In Fedden’s own words, it is "[m]ore a world of imagination than actual fact."

Fedden has also received several commissions for murals, notably for the Festival of Britain in 1951, the P&O Liner Canberra in 1961, Charing Cross Hospital in 1980 (along with her husband, the artist Julian Trevelyan), Colindale Hospital in 1985,and for schools in Bristol, Hertfordshire and London

President of the Royal West of England Academy from 1984 to 1988, Fedden went on to be elected as a Royal Academician in the Senior Order in 1992. In the 1990s , she received an OBE, as well as a Doctor of Literature honour from Bath University. She continues to work and live in London.