Marion Adnams initially trained as a modern languages teacher; however, woodcuts she made while travelling in Europe during the 1920s received significant praise when she exhibited them at Derby Art Gallery, prompting her to re- train at Derby School of Art during the 1930s. She qualified as an art teacher in 1938 and in 1946 she became Head of
Art at Derby Diocesan Training College. From the late 1930s onwards, Adnams became known for her distinctive Surrealist paintings, and exhibited in local galleries and in London, including at the British Art Centre and the Modern Art Gallery. Although she never formally joined any Surrealist societies, she made a significant contribution to the movement, particularly regarding female/male dichotomies within the group, which she explored extensively in her work.
Moonlit scenes feature throughout Adnams’ oeuvre, and this work recalls one of the artist’s most famous paintings, L’infante égarée, which is part of the Manchester Art Gallery collection. In one of Marion’s notebooks she relates that the idea for Harvest Moon was a man with flour sacks. Presumably deciding to mask the man’s features/scale of the body and turn him into a grotesque character, the goblin of the title. The painting was completed in November 1944. It was shown at the Derby Art Gallery in an exhibition in 1945. It was also exhibited at Salford Art Gallery in 1947.She retained the painting throughout her life.
We are grateful to Val Wood and Patricia Rooks for assistance