Nommie Durrell (1905-89) was born Mary Louise Lasenby in Hampstead, London. She was a member of the family that owned the Liberty’s department store in London and thus had independent means to pursue a career as an artist. Although educated at Rodean, upon leaving she was encouraged by the great British Modernist painter, Wyndham Lewis to enrol at The Slade. After leaving the Slade she married the painter Harry Durell.
She exhibited widely in the late 20s and 30s, including importantly at the New English Art Club (NEAC). Shortly before the War, she and Durell began to pursue a life together in art education. Progressive in their teaching methods, while conscientious objectors, they joined the teaching staff such as Cecil Collins and William Soukop at Dartington Hall during the War and later at the progressive independent school Bedales. Nommie Durell’s work slipped into relative obscurity in the immediate post-war period, partially because she was out of the loop as she lived between London and spending her summers painting in France. Her work was re-discovered after her death by London based gallery owner Sally Hunter.
Durrell and her husband travelled through France extensively, and had a cottage in Menton, on the French Riviera. It was in France that the artist produced her most masterly landscapes, and this work shares some similarities with Paul Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire Seen from Bellevue, c. 1885, which is part of the collection of the Barnes Foundation, Pennsylvania.