I was invited to talk about a work she made in the 1940s. Without hesitation I chose Studio Interior (Red Stool) of 1945. She painted it on moving into 1 Porthmeor Studios in St Ives. It is an affectionate portrait of the space in which she established her reputation as a pioneer of British Abstraction. A blank canvas on an easel, beside a prepared palette, awaits her attention. Two further canvases are ready to be used nearby in an otherwise empty studio. It is an image full of potential, optimism and excitement.
After months of lockdown it was a delight to visit the Trust’s premises in Edinburgh and to see the painting in real life. It was displayed on one of the artist’s easels in the midst of her library.
You can watch the result of that visit and learn more about the painting here. I am even wearing a scarf based on Barns-Graham’s Red Painting of 1957, also in the Trust’s collection!
This is a feature about Barns-Graham’s studios and you might also enjoy this about her works in the collection of Pallant House Gallery, Chichester.