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Born in Newcastle on Tyne, England, Marjorie Arnfield earned a reputation as an industrial landscape artist, who also painted Mediterranean scenes and gardens. painting in oil, acrylic and watercolour. Her landscapes, particularly her paintings of Provence, France and of Spain, are defined by vivid colours and an impressionist style.
She attended Sunderland Church High School and obtained her National Diploma in Design at Sunderland College of Art and her Art Teacher's Diploma at Kings College Newcastle, part of University of Durham. Her tutors included British artists Lawrence Gowing, Harry Thurbron, Quentin Bell, and Victor Passmore.
From the 1970s until the late 1990s, she was a part time tutor in Fine Art for the Department of Adult Education at Nottingham University. She pioneered courses combining practical painting sessions with the study of painters’ work but instead of adopting traditional art historical approaches (ie by school) the works were studied on the basis of themes (ie landscape, still life etc) relevant to the practical work.
Her work may be divided into five categories:
1.French and Spanish landscapes
2.Seascapes - boats and harbours.
3.Mountain landscapes, particularly the English Lake District.
4.Plants, gardens, natural forms.
5.Industrial landscapes - particularly (since 1994) the British mining industry.
Following the British Coal-sponsored "Tribute to Coal Mining in Nottinghamshire" exhibition of Marjorie’s mining paintings in 1994 at Nottingham University Art Centre, a further 20 exhibitions of her mining art subsequently took place at museums in England, Scotland and Wales. The scope of her mining art included historical mining methods, social aspects of mining communities and the demolition of the British coal mine pits. 150 mining works were purchased by private collections, museums and art galleries.
She received an award from the Queen of England in 2000 – the MBE (member of the British empire) medal – for her services to British art, most notably her paintings of British coal mines.
During her lifetime, Marjorie held solo exhibitions across the UK, including Mowbray Gallery, Sunderland; University of Durham; Wordsworth House, Cockermouth; Chesterfield Museum & Art Gallery; University of Strathclyde; and six exhibitions at University of Nottingham.
Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield; Middlesborough Art Gallery; National Mining Museum of England; Rotherham Museums' Service; Sunderland Art Gallery; Woodhorn Colliery Museum; Sir Reresby & Lady Sitwell; and numerous private collectors.
The Artists of Northumbria, Marshall Hall, Art Dictionaries, Bristol, England, 2005.
Marjorie Arnfield, A Celebration of her Life and Work, Djanogly Art Gallery, Nottingham University, 2001.
A Colourful Life, The Nottingham University Newsletter, #225, June 25, 2001
Nottingham University Press-Up Bulletin, 2002
St Ives Journey, Artists & Illustrators, September 2000
In Conversation, Marjorie Arnfield, The Artist magazine, March 1999
Testament To Coal, Artists & Illustrators, October 1998
Marjorie Arnfield, National Coal Mining Museum for England, May 1998
Marjorie Arnfield, Artist's Statement, written by the artist about her personal reasons for her mining art, and published for an exhibition at Bishop Auckland Town Hall, 1999.
An Artist's Retreat, Woman and Home Magazine, February 1995
Sunderland Empire, Alistair Robinson, TUPS Books, 2000,
Submitted by the artist's son Robin Arnfield