Mary Adshead, An English Holiday – The Puncture, 1928 (detail)
The English mural painter and designer Mary Adshead trained at Putney High School, Lycée Victor Duruy (Paris) and then The Slade. A student of Henry Tonks, (near) contemporaries included Colin Gill, Winifred Knights, Thomas Monnington and Rex Whistler with whom she won joint first prize in 1924. She and Whistler went on to work on their own murals at the Highways Boys Club in Shadwell. Many important mural commissions followed throughout her long life, including A Tropical Fantasy (1925), An English Holiday (1928), a mural for the Tea-room, Luton Hoo House, Luton (1949-50) and To the End of Time, Saint Francis Church, Luton. She also designed UK postage stamps, illustrated books and exhibited easel pictures in at The New English Art Club and Royal Academy.
Her paintings are in many public gallery collections including The Tate, The Graves Art gallery Sheffield, The Imperial War Museum, Manchester City Art Gallery The London Transport Museum and The University Art gallery Liverpool. There are also several surviving mural paintings. In 2005 exhibitions of her work were held at The University of Liverpool Art Gallery, Graves Art Gallery Sheffield and Kingston-upon-Thames Art Gallery. This exhibition was accompanied by a catalogue entitled Earthly Delights, edited by Matthew H Clough and Ann Compton.
Mary Adshead painting a mural in her studio