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Marion Grace Hocken

(Zennor, Cornwall 1923-1987 Carbis Bay, Cornwall)

Porch, Reading, 1953

tempera on panel, laid on board, in original artist-made frame

signed lower left ‘HOCKEN/1953’

with artist's label verso, ‘Porch Reading, OIL/ Marion G. Hocken/ Meadow Way Hse Studio/ ST IVES Cwll/ £30’ and a James Bourlet & Sons Ltd. label

panel: 23.5 x 18 cm.

framed: 34.5 x 29.5 cm.

Hocken studied with Arthur Hambly at Redruth School of Art in her teens. After WWII she showed at Downing’s Bookshop in St Ives with Peter Lanyon, Brian Wynter, Isobel Heath and other luminaries. She was a founder-member of Penwith Society of Arts in 1949 alongside Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson. As well as showing at the Royal Academy and ROI, of which she was a member, she was fascinated by botanical drawing and natural history painters. Her flower studies were acclaimed at the Paris Salon.

However, Hocken’s fame mainly rests on a large 1955 satirical painting, ‘The Hollow Men’, based on the T S Eliot poem, which when it was exhibited in 1957 sent shock-waves through the local artistic community, on account of its excoriating depiction of modern St Ives life. In that respect, her treatment was not dissimilar to that of outsider artist Sven Berlin in 1962, when he published his novel ‘The Dark Monarch’, a thinly-disguised and irreverent portrait of St Ives and the artists and others who lived and worked there, including Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Bernard Leach, Peter Lanyon, and Patrick Heron.

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