Born on 27 October 1902, London, the artist read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Magdalen College, Oxford, 1920-3. He studied art at the Euston Road School, starting in 1936 with Victor PASMORE and mixed with Ben NICHOLSON, Barbara HEPWORTH, and Naum GABO, all of whom he later invited to Cornwall to escape the war.

His first wife was Norman GARSTIN whom he married in 1938 after meeting her painting in France. The couple moved to Carbis Bay, where they painted and ran a market garden for the war effort. After the break-up of their marriage, he married her sister Ann Mellis.

Stokes is better known as a writer on art, also a poet, and because of sharing a name with a distinguished previous artist of the St Ives Colony, is most often referred to as 'Stokes, the writer' even though both artists published books about art.

Their home at Carbis Bay, near St Ives was Little Parc Owles, 1939-46, which was sold to Peter LANYON.

Titles of paintings include Landscape, West Penwith Moor (1937) and primarily were topographical and impressionistic.

Among his published books are The Thread of Ariadne 1925, The Stones of Rimini 1934, Colour and Form 1937, Cézanne 1947, Michelangelo 1956, Greek Culture and the Ego 1961, and Painting and the Inner World 1963.


Writer & critic, poet and painter.

works and access

Works include: Landscape, West Penwith Moor (1937)

Access to Work: Manchester Art Gallery November in the Dolomites; oil on canvas, 1904; Arts Council; Tate Gallery


Group shows, various, local & at large

1951: One-man show, Leger Galleries, London

1973: Tate Gallery Memorial

1982: Retrospective, Serpentine Gallery

1992: Artists from Cornwall, RWE Bristol


Trustee of the Tate Gallery from 1961.

misc further info



M Bird (2008) St Ives Artists/Biography of Place & Time

Buckman (2006) Artists/Britain since 1945

P Davies (1994) St Ives Revisited - innovators and followers

Hardie (2009) Artists/Newlyn & West Cornwall p347

Hoyle, H (Dec 2010 Women Artists in Cornwall Review of BBC4 documentary 'Art of Cornwall'

Hoyle, H (Oct 2013 Women Artists in Cornwall 'Margaret Mellis and St Ives Modernism'

RWE (1992) Painters from Cornwall, Bristol: Sansom, p36; 

Tate (1985) St Ives 1939-64: 25 Years of Painting, Sculpture & Pottery, biog notes p142 photo with Margaret

Tate Online

Whybrow (1994) St Ives