Cobbold & Judd

Modern & Contemporary Art

Margaret Mellis



In the early 1940s Margaret Mellis had been part of the development of British abstraction in St Ives, Cornwall. She had worked with Naum Gabo and Ben Nicholson, but after leaving Cornwall in 1946, her contribution was quickly forgotten. From 1950 Mellis was based in North Suffolk, where her work moved between abstraction and the figurative, collage, painting and construction. In the late 1970s Mellis began to form constructions out of driftwood, works that synthesised the various strands of her artistic practice.

The four works in this exhibition are from the artist’s estate. They illustrate her innate interest in colour, and the movement between figuration and abstraction throughout her career, from the early Orchid and Tulips c.1937, to Red Green and White I from 1985.

Margaret Mellis’ works were exhibited widely in her lifetime and are represented in major national collections. In 2008 Margaret Mellis: A Life in Colour opened at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich. The exhibition Margaret Mellis: Modernist Constructs ran at the Towner Gallery, Eastbourne from 2021-22.