Miss Frances HODGKINS

Born on 28 April 1869, in Dunedin, New Zealand, she received her first instruction at the Dunedin School of Art. Hodgkins first visited Cornwall in 1902, from March to June, after attending Norman GARSTIN's summer sketching classes in France in 1901. It was through Garstin that she met the watercolourist Gertrude CROMPTON. The two women became close friends over the next twenty years.

Hodgkins' first sale at NAG was in April, 1902 of the painting A Busy Corner, Arles. These sketching tours she would attend again in 1902 and 1906, both in France, between her travelling widely to paint and exhibit. She had the distinction of being the first woman teacher at the Atelier Colarossi in Paris in 1910.

Her final visit to her native land of New Zealand was in 1912-13, following which she made St Ives in Cornwall her home from 1914 through to 1920.  During these years her practice and style changed dramatically, moving from mainly Impressionistic watercolour paintings to large-scale oils with figurative content. Far less conservative an artist than those around her in the older Newlyn school, she was nevertheless friendly and easy in their company. Later, she produced strong work within the fields of still-life and portraiture, and was bracketed with the Neo-Romantics such as Nash, Sutherland, Moore and Piper. She was an original member of the Seven and Five Society, along with her friends Cedric MORRIS, Ben NICHOLSON and Winifred NICHOLSON, but resigned after 1924 when it renamed itself the Seven&Five Abstract Group.

Her many exhibitions and shows took her around Europe and Britain, travelling and joining up with friends in far-flung places, returning to Cornwall for two months in 1931-2, and another month in 1934.

Amongst her closest friends were Garstin (whom she adored, as did her friend Dorothy RICHMOND, also from New Zealand) and Moffat LINDNER in particular, and her admiration of the work of Elizabeth FORBES was especially strong. It was from a letter written home to her mother about Forbes's paintings hanging at NAG that the title of Elizabeth's biography, Singing from the Walls, was chosen. Later, much after Elizabeth's demise, Frances stayed again in Newlyn at the home of a friend Cedric MORRIS.

An extraordinary artist by any judgement, and highly regarded as amongst New Zealand's finest, she died at Herrison House (a psychiatric hospital) near Dorchester, Dorset in England on 13 May 1947. A good photo likeness of her in older age, when she lived in Dorset, is to be found in the frontpiece of the Exhibition catalogue for  Frances Hodgkins: Leitmotif a show at Auckland Art Gallery which ran from 2005-2006.



works and access

Works include: Maori Girl with Baby (1899); Cornish Road (1903); Summer (1912); Mr and Mrs Moffat Lindner and Hope (1916);Portrait of Beatrice Wood, St Ives (1918); Still Life in Landscape (1929); Landscape, Ibiza (1933); Harbour, Ibiza (1933); Still Life Red Jug; Enchanted Garden (a Cornish garden)

Access to work: Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tamaki Collection), New Zealand; Aberdeen; Brighton; Leeds; Whitworth Gallery, Manchester; Norwich; Preston; Southampton; TateBritain, London

The largest of Hodgkins' surviving works, and perhaps the best documented, is her portrait of Mr and Mrs Moffat Lindner and Hope (1916) which can be seen in the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, New Zealand 


NAG April 1902 (first gallery sale); 

Plymouth Art Gallery November 1917

St Ives March and Spring exhibition May 1919

Lefevre Gallery Frances Hodgkins Retrospective Exhibition 1946

Auckland Art Gallery Frances Hodgkins: Leitmotif  2005-2006

New Zealand Portrait Gallery, Wellington: Frances Hodgkins People Nov 2017-Feb 2018


Seven and Five Society 1919-24


Personal bibliography 

Auckland Art Gallery (2005-6) Frances Hodgkins leitmotif (Exhibition catalogue)

Buchanan, Eastmond & Dunn (1995) Frances Hodgkins, Paintings and Drawings

Gill, Editor (1993) Letters of Frances Hodgkins (University of Auckland Press)

Heron (1955) ‘Frances Hodgkins’ in The Changing Forms of Art (pp 244-6)


General references

 Cook & Hardie (2000) Singing from the Walls, The Life & Art of Elizabeth Forbes

Hardie (1995) 100 Years in Newlyn: Diary of a Gallery

Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall

Hoyle, H (Sept 2010 Women Artists in Cornwall Review of 'Sea Change' exhibition, Penlee House)

Hoyle, H (July 2011 Women Artists in Cornwall 'Edith Collier - New Zealand's Forgotten Artist'

Piper, John (1942) British Romantic Artists, Britain in Pictures series, p41: col pl: Farmyard Scene

Platt's listing

Tovey (2009) St Ives: Social History

Tovey, David (2021) Polperro - Cornwall's Forgotten Art Centre - Volume Two - Post-1920, Wilson Books

Whybrow (2013) St Ives: The Story of Porthmeor Studios 

St Ives Times 9 Nov 1917, 14 Mar 1919, 23 May 1919