Born in Southport, Merseyside, WORMLEIGHTON writes of him as one of the 'painters of light' in his admirable study, Morning Tide. His obituary noted especially his interesting family connections, one cousin marrying into the publishing Faber family, and another who became the mother of 'Charles Reade, the novelist, one of whose stories Stokes illustrated as almost his first commission.' One brother, Sir Wilfred Scott Stokes, was the inventor of the Stokes gun, and another, Leonard Stokes, an architect, designed Chelsea Town Hall, among many ecclesiastical and public buildings. The artist and writer on Cornish subjects, Folliott STOKES was his cousin.
Adrian studied at the RA Schools(1872-75) and in Paris. In Pont Aven Stokes met (1883) and a year later married in Graz (1884) the Austrian artist Marianne PREINDLSBERGER. With her he travelled in Denmark working with the art colony at Skagen, and then returned to Paris to work with Dagnan Bouveret in 1885. He made many painting trips to France pre-1900 working in the plein air manner and developing a naturalistic style.
The couple moved to Cornwall at the suggestion of Stanhope FORBES (1886), who had made friends with him in France. First they lived at Lelant, then St Ives. In 1891, they were staying as visitors with John and Alice WESTLAKE at Tregerthen Cottage, Zennor. Being one of the first generation of St Ives painters to arrive, he achieved recognition quickly when the Chantrey Bequest purchased his Uplands and Sky in 1888, a landscape painted near St Ives. The following year he exhibited a view of St Ives harbour at the RA. The couple departed St Ives in 1898 and worked first from 6 Edwards Square Studios, Kensington in London and later other addresses, while they travelled widely, painting in France, Spain, Austria and Italy and exhibiting steadily, returning to Cornwall on occasion and for summer months.
In 1903, the Chantrey Bequest purchased a second painting, entitled Autumn in the Mountains, a landscape in the Austrian Tyrol. His book about the techniques of landscape painting, including an analysis of earlier landscape artists, Landscape Painting, was published in 1925.
Stokes was an all-round personality, and interested in fishing, hunting, sports of many kinds - he distinguished himself on the St Ives cricket team - and the couple, he and Marianne had a wide circle of friends both in Cornwall and internationally. Amongst their closest friends were those of the John Singer SARGENT circle in Europe.
Landscape, portrait and genre painter in oils and watercolour
works and access
Access to work: The Arts Club, Dover St, London; Government Art Collection; RA; RWS; Sloane Club, London; V&A Museum
Birkenhead ( Williamson); Canterbury Mus & AG, Kent; Cheltenham AG; Guildhall (London); Harris AG (2); Leamington Spa; Leeds City; Liverpool (University col, Walker AG); MC (2); Oldham, Preston; QMDH Windsor Castle; Southampton; Southport (Atkinson); Tate Britain
Adelaide (AG of South Australia); Christchurch; Dunedin; Nelson; Ottawa - Natl Gallery; Skagen Mus, Denmark; Sydney
B (15); Dowdeswell (5); Notts Castle (2); Whitechapel (6); Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh (1912), RA (125) 1889, St Ives harbour; ROI (20); NEAC; RWS (47); St Ives 1889, August, Lanhams; STISA & others widely
NEAC(1887); ROI (1988); STIAC (First President 1890, 1891 and 1896); ARA (1910); RA (1919); RWS (1926, VP in 1933); STISA (1928-35)
misc further info
Personal bibliography: M Evans (2009) Utmost Fidelity: The Painting Lives of Marianne and Adrian Stokes, col pls, bibl, chron; Obituary: The Times 2 Dec 1935; The Artist, Feb 1936
General bibliography: Census records; Cornishman, 1 Aug 1889; St Ives Times, 31 May 1912
Chantrey Bequest list - Tate Online
Dowdeswell Exh Cat; Notts Exh Cat; Whitechapel Exh Cat [all repr in Hardie 2009, as 'Defining Exhibitions, pp51-4]
Hardie (2009) Artists/Newlyn & West Cornwall 1880-1940 pp273-4 col pl: The harvester's rest, bibl
Johnson & Greutzner
Newton et al Painting at the Edge
RA Exh Cat: The Edwardians and After
Tovey Creating a Splash; (2000) George F Bradshaw & STISA (List of Principal members of STISA 1927-60 p238); (2009) St Ives/Social History
Whybrow (1994) St Ives, (2003) with M Dell, Remembering St Ives
Wormleighton Morning Tide
The Year's Art