An early work, probably undertaken when Marion Adnams was at Derby School of Art, there is no record that this nautical mural, which was clearly a site-specific decoration (space is left for a doorway on the second sheet), was probably never realised. Maritime subjects inspired Adnams throughout her career; titles from her studio book typically refer to Fishing Gear, Sark, Drying the Nets etc.
From her earliest work, Adnams played with discrepancies of scale and the creation of unlikely narratives in a surrealist way. She recorded that When I first went to see René Magritte at the Tate I saw him for the first time and I nearly passed out. So often the same thought had been with me.
In 1930, Adnams started attending life classes at Derby School of Art. She was gratified to find her natural ability to draw recognised, though perhaps less so in the terms her talent was acknowledged, with one teacher remarking, she drew like a man, direct, with no rubbing out’. The ornamental dogs featured in the pencil drawing Study of two Staffordshire Dogs were from Adnams’ own collection of Staffordshire pottery. The addition of a piece of paper to the left-hand side, suggests that having at first intended to draw only one of the pair, Adnams felt a compulsion to unite it with its companion.