Margaret Thomas 1916–2016
Autumn Evening, Chelsea c.1951
Oil on board 18 × 30 inches (45.8 x 76.2 cm)
The Leicester Galleries, Artists of Fame and Promise: Part II, 1952 (no. 92).
Although painters were increasingly priced out of Chelsea in the twentieth century (both Turner and Whistler had died at their Cheyne Walk residences), the area continued to be a popular painting ground, Chelsea Embankment in particular. The Embankment was chiefly created to drive and hide Joseph Bazalgette’s nineteenth-century sewage system. It also housed newly-cut underground lines. On top of these, a major road was constructed which separated much of London from its river, and in particular ruined Chelsea’s riparian character. Margaret Thomas, who died six months before her hundredth birthday, was a stalwart of London’s art scene (exhibiting landscapes, still lifes, and portraits in the mainstream English tradition). After studying at the Slade and Royal Academy Schools, she exhibited at the Royal Academy in 46 consecutive years from 1943, and at many exhibiting societies in London and the provinces. Solo shows were at Leicester Galleries; Minories, Colchester; Octagon Gallery, Belfast; Sally Hunter Fine Art; Scottish Gallery, and Messum’s.