Frances Hodgkins was born in Dunedin, New Zealand, and studied at the local art school. Between 1901, when she left New Zealand for England, and the outbreak of war in 1914, she became a frequent traveller in Europe. Much of her work at this time was what she freely called 'experimental'. It was not until the 1930s, when she was in her sixties and had settled permanently in England that she came into her own. Then she began to produce a series of bold and lyrical watercolours - mostly still lifes and landscapes - that earned her the reputation of one of the most remarkable women painters of her day. The supple handling of forms and liquid manipulation of the brush are characteristic of her graceful, spontaneous touch, done with an almost Chinese fluidity and confidence. She had always lived on the edge financially and in 1942 was awarded a small civil pension and was able to live without the sake of her paintings. She wrote at the time "One of my theories is that a good painting will out like MURDER. This faith has kept me from despair".

Further reading:
Myfanwy Evans, Frances Hodgkins, Penguin Books, London 1948
E H McCormick, Portrait of Frances Hodgkins, Auckland University Press & Oxford University Press, 1981