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Mary Millar Watt 

(Dedham 1924-2023) 

Still Life of Flowers with a Shell, c.1947  *SOLD*

oil on canvas laid on panel

26 x 21 cm.

signed lower right with initials 'MW'

with a hand-written label, verso, with the artist's address at 8 Walton Street, Chelsea


From the Estate of Mary Millar Watt (1924-2023)

This diminutive still life of flowers and a shell has all the delicacy and appeal of a Dutch still life from the early 1600s. The bouquet of lilies, carnations, freesias, iris and mimosa would, rather decadently, have been sourced from Harrods Department Store, where Mary's artist mother, Amy Watt, had an account with the shop's florist to keep her in flowers all year round for her mainstay bread and butter work, painting floral still lifes. 

Mary Millar Watt was the daughter of artists, John Millar Watt and Amy Watt. She attended the St. Ives School of Art, but relocated to Bath during WWII where she worked for the Charts Department of the Admiralty.

After the War she moved to Chelsea to live with her parents, studying at the Royal Academy Schools between 1947-1952. It is likely that the present still life dates to that period, both stylistically, and also given the label to the reverse of the panel with her parents' Chelsea address. 

Mary would go on to earn a living mainly as a portraitist, and flower paintings were for her own pleasure. She was a member and exhibitor with the Society of Women Artists, and exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy. 

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