Monday, September 7, 2009

Francis Marshall (1901-1980)

TI list member Roger O'Reilly sent the scans you see below. Roger writes, "I've been a fan of [Francis Marshall's] work since I came across a postage stamp sized reproduction of one of his illustrations in a "how to" book many years ago. It wasn't until the arrival of secondhand book sites on the internet that I got the chance to start collecting his work. The pieces come from his publications ; "An Englishman in New York" (Stork and 21 clubs), "Magazine Illustration", "Sketching the Ballet" and " The London Book". Hope they're of interest to you and you can find some time to feature him on the blog sometime in the future."

Many thanks, Roger -- the work of Francis Marshall is very much of interest to me and I'm sure most of this blog's readers feel the same way.


Roger enclosed a page that provided a bit of biographical information about the artist. Marshall studied at The Slade School (the same school Robert Fawcett attended) and subsequently began a career drawing advertising illustrations. In 1928 he began a ten year relationship with Condé Nast, working for Vogue magazine in London and Paris.


A quote from a publication called "The Sketch":

"Francis Marshall is a terrific worker and when away from his studio seldom travels without a sketch book; draws everything everywhere - 'An Englishman in New York' being the result of a visit to America."


Marshall enjoyed sketching at the ballet at Covent Garden Opera House. "He can work under the greatest difficulties," writes the anonymous author, "he has been seen almost in darkness in a badly placed box sketching the elaborate trappings and mystical figure of Ram Gopal."


"Wherever he is, men and women of all types on their social workaday occasions, all are seen with a quick eye, rapidly sketched and added to his collection for future use."


"Best of all," continues the author, "Francis Marshall likes drawing beautiful women and with the advent of more paper for the press, his weekly fashion feature has returned to the Daily Mail. He has a flair for dress and his women are always gowned in the best style."


"Drawing clothes so that people wearing them really look as though they have an intelligent appreciation of dress, is a natural gift for him. There is little doubt that future generations will turn to his drawings to see what we wore and how we looked at this point in history."


"England has produced some grand black-and-white artists... that in Marshall we have an artist in pen and ink equal to the best of them is not yet fully realised."


"There is the same close observation of the human race and the ability to get down on paper in black and white, the human characteristics of living people."

Many thanks to Roger O'Reilly for providing the art and information for this introduction to the work of Francis Marshall!

*My Francis Marshall Flickr set.

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