Marion Adnams
(1898 - 1995)

The Twins, 1955

SKU: 11240
Tempera on panel. Signed and dated 1955. Insribed on the reverse with Lewis Carroll’s Hunting of the Snark ‘In winter or summer, ’twas always the same‚ You could never meet either alone’.

Height – 43cm
Width – 53cm


Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, et al. Women Only Works on Paper. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p. 76.

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‚Äù.

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 twin.

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Adnams, Marion

1898 – 1995

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. In 2017 she was the subject of a retrospective at Derby Art Gallery.

She wrote extensively, including an unpublished Autobiography.


Marion Adnams (1898 - 1995)
Mount, Mount, My Soul
Marion Adnams (1898 - 1995)
A two part design for a Nautical Mural, 1930’s
Marion Adnams (1898 - 1995)
Study for The Twins, 1955
Marion Adnams (1898 - 1995)
Study of Lilies, 1930’s
Marion Adnams (1898 - 1995)
Study of a variagated croton leaf, early 1930’s
Marion Adnams (1898 - 1995)
Study of Morning Glory (Ipomoea species), circa 1930
Marion Adnams (1898 - 1995)
Fishing Gear, Sark, 1953
Marion Adnams (1898 - 1995)
Medusa Grown Old, 1947