Maxwell Armfield (1881 - 1972)

Still Life, 1914

SKU: 11182

Height – 13.2cm
Width – 11.7cm


A gift from the Artist’s executor A.A. Ballard; Michael Upsall, Wiltshire


Ever since their marriage in January, 1909, Maxwell and Constance Armfield worked in close collaboration with one another. Shortly after this work was created, the International Studio magazine featured a three page article on the embroidered work that the Armfield’s had exhibited with the National Society of Craftsmen; this was held at the New York Arts Club on Gramercy Park, where they had a studio apartment and re-established their Greenleaf Theatre during much of the First World War. It is likely that this picture featured in this 1916 exhibition, which was rapturously reviewed in the press. That December, Armfield was recorded by his wife as covering the bare rooms of their apartment with flowers, while she made samplers and cushions and gave a course of eight lectures on English embroidery, and he painted murals, canvases, tempera panels and made wall-hangings and embroideries. She particularly noted some “wonderful embroidered flowers on black silk – a jewelled blaze of colour”, which appeared on the cover of the December 1916 issue of the fashionably progressive American Ladies Home Journal. The following year, they began making embroidered hangings on a larger scale, as screens and wall and table covers.

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Maxwell Armfield
1881 - 1972

Painter and decorative artist, especially in tempera, and writer. Born in Ringwood, Hampshire, Armfield was educated at Birmingham School of Art – there is a Birminfham Arts and Crafts flavour in his pictures – then in Paris and Italy. Exhibited extensively, including RA, Fine Art Society, for long a noted dealer in his work, NEAC, Leicester Galleries and abroad. His work is held by the British Museum, provincial and overseas galleries. He illustrated about 20 books and wrote A Manual of Tempera Painting, Tempera Painting Today, An Artist in America and An Artist in Italy. During World War I, with his writer wife Constance Smedley, Armfield attempted to set up a high-flown peoples’ Greenleaf Theatre in his studio, an abortive venture amusingly recalled by Margaret Gardiner in her book A Scatter of Memories. Armfield was a painter of landscape and still life well crafted and full of detail. Lived in Bath, Somerset.


Maxwell Armfield (1881 - 1972)
Still Life, 1914
Maxwell Armfield (1881 - 1972)
Profile portrait of a Navaho Indian, circa 1918