Sylvia Forster (1903-1993)

Still Life with Mandolin, Vase, and Sheet Music

SKU: 11701

Height – 61cm
Width – 45.75cm


The Artist’s Family; Private Collection

Sylvia Forster’s painting was ultimately a private matter and could be described as a personal discourse with herself. She said of her own practice ‘I find satisfaction in assembling a variety of items into a whole. My paintings are not meant to be symbolical in any way. I find that objects with elements of design in them i.e., spots and stripes, and in the case of stringed instruments curves as well, making an interesting beginning to build on. I play about with the material, to the form and colour until I feel satisfied with the whole – occasionally, one seems to evoke sound in the painting’.

In spite of the private nature of her work, Forster did exhibit her paintings at the Royal Academy in 1963, 1964, and 1965.

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Born in Woodhead of Mayhull, Liverpool, Forster was educated at Garnets School and Berkhamsted School. Upon leaving she took up painting, her life-long interest fired up by her excitement and interest in the Paris Avant-Garde. She studied painting at Liverpool College of Art, where she developed a special interest in Cubism and particularly the painting of George Braque. During this time she exhibited at Liverpool Academy, the Cumbrian Academy, RBA, ROI and the Walker Art Gallery, later she exhibited four times at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London.

Upon leaving Liverpool College of Art she met and married Ralph Forster in 1929 and moved to Heswall, in the Wirral where she lived for the next 55 years. During this time she travelled regularly through France, Italy and Spain to paint and visit galleries and artists. Her time living in Heswall lead her to a life long involvement and stewardship of Heswall Artist’s Associating to which in addition to her early membership she was Vice Chair in 1969, Chair from 1970 to 1975, Vice President from 1976 to 1979, President from 1980 to 1982 and a full member until 1987, even after her move from Heswall to Romford in Essex in 1983 to live with her son.

In addition to Heswall Artist’s Associating, she was a member of Sandon Studio Society, Wirral Society of Arts and The Deeside Art Group.