Lesson Demonstration


To Dorothy Selby, 26 April 1923. Studio, St.Lawrence’s Street, Burford, Oxon. 

‘I shall be most pleased to give you some coaching in the summer, or as soon after May 14th as you like. My Season starts then. My terms are 4 guineas a month a course of 12 demonstration lessons, or I can give you the course in a shorter time if desirable . . .’

Frances Hodgkins’ principal teaching method in her art classes were 'lesson demonstrations'. Today, these demonstrations serve as unique records of her teaching technique and style, and illustrate both the confident fluidity of her brushwork and her keen eye for the nuances of light and colour.

Executed rapidly, pencil marks in Lesson Demonstration, Burford are still visible beneath the washes of colour. Hodgkins evidently sketched the significant landmarks in front of her with pencil and then applied swathes of loose, thin paint, which were allowed to bleed and merge in many areas. In transcribing the vista, all attention is given over to capturing the bare essential forms of the landscape and the chromatic variances of the scene so that the work consequently assumes an abstract quality.

Lesson Demonstration, Burford c.1923   Private Collection   Read More →

Lesson Demonstration, Burford c.1923
Private Collection

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The same view present day

The same view present day

REFERENCE | Linda Gill (ed.), Letters of Frances Hodgkins, Auckland University Press, 1993

Burford High Street



To Rachel Hodgkins, 27 December 1921. London.

.... I have at last fixed on Burford, a small town about 20 mile from Oxford & 2 hours from London. You may remember I was there once before, or rather in the next village, Great Barrington, and liked it, & found the Cotswold country very paintable & the air splendidly bracing.

Burford High Street, Oxfordshire, painted by Hodgkins circa 1922, depicts the main thoroughfare of the town. During his trip to the Cotswolds in 2013, Jonathan stopped by the town of Burford making sure to capture the same view down High Street present day. Not much has changed!

A historic photograph of the street taken circa 1920 is illustrated top for further comparison and as an indication of what Frances would have seen as she painted.

Burford High Street, Oxfordshire c.1922   Private Collection, Auckland, NZ   Read More →

Burford High Street, Oxfordshire c.1922
Private Collection, Auckland, NZ

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Burford High Street 2013

Burford High Street 2013


To Rachel Hodgkins, 13 January 1922. Studio, St Lawrence’s St, Burford, Oxon.

…[The Studio] is a lovely old barn. I have bought 8 old chairs for 10/-… an old counter for a table, an iron bedstead & various adjuncts including a black kitten, young of Mrs. Plosh of Park Farm, Barrington. It takes plenty of nerve to climb my ladder – a handrail will be necessary if visitors are not to break the neck in the semi-darkness of a winter afternoon.

In 1922 Frances Hodgkins moved to the Cotswolds town of Burford about twenty miles from Oxford. There she rented a "lovely old barn", which was to serve as a studio and as her living quarters, and with unquenchable hope was planning for the future. She was determined to make the barn into a ‘Hodgkins centre’, where pupils could rally round and immerse themselves in art. At the same time she could not believe that she was settling down again in England after shaking its dust off her feet only a year before.

The Old Stone Barn & St John the Evangelist Church, Lawrence Lane 1920s


Lawrence Lane 2013

[ABOVE] The site of the old stone barn which, by the 1930s, had fallen into disrepair. Threatened with a corrugated iron roof, in 1937 it was demolished and replaced with a stone cottage designed by local architect Russell Cox.

To Rachel Hodgkins, 13 May 1922. Studio, St Lawrence’s St, Burford, Oxon.

I am sitting out in the sunshine - How long will it last? Spring is tardy in these parts. The winter nearly finished me but now I am pulling my exhausted self together & trying to forget all the little things of life that have annoyed me so much of late. At the moment my special affliction is church bells. The Oxford Bell Ringers are performing .... You would think all Burford is being married. I said to Mrs. Search my neighbour in the Lane "Why is this?" "Oh just an 'obby Miss" They started at 1/2 past 2 and now it is 5.30. It is about time they went back to Oxford.