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Margaret Felkin, whose dates of activity were 1911 to 1937.
Margaret Felkin was an English water colour artist who travelled in South East Asia, Malaya, Singapore and China. She also lived, worked and exhibited in Singapore in the 1920’s and 1930’s and was amongst a group of European artists who influenced migrant Chinese artists such as Lim Cheng Hoe and Chen Chong Swee.
Under the influence of Richard Walker, who was in charge of Colonial Art Education in Singapore, painting in water colours, became the key medium in art classes in the colonial system of teaching. This style of painting in landscape water colours was executed in “a free flowing, bold” manner with “strong strokes” and “striking colours”. Margaret Felkin was also typical of these pre-World War Two artists who used a broad handling of the paint brush, wide colouring and textured paper, imitating canvas weave.
In 1917 a water colour painting by Margaret Felkin was published in the publication, The Studio: The Illustrated Magazine of Fine Art and Applied Art. In 1919 Margaret Felkin exhibited at The Royal Academy with a watercolour entitled, Lotus Lillies, Singapore. (Catalogue number 810).
In 1925 Margaret Felkin produced a portfolio of twelve paintings of her best water colour paintings entitled Malayan Sketches. This work was critically praised with her water colours being described as “… admirably executed …. in which the artist has achieved some striking effects”. The portfolio was subsequently reproduced and published as 12 mounted plates depicting the following:
Penang Hill: –Chinese Junks 1924
Chinese Lanterns 1925
Singapore - Chinese Temple 1925
Chinese Temple interior 1925
Penang - Malay House 19Morning Mists
Singapore – Pottery Shop 1922
Singapore River – 1911
In 1932 Margaret Felkin exhibited a second water colour painting at The Royal Academy entitled A Summer Bunch.
Submitted by Andrew Gilson
Joseph McNally: Singapore Art: Past and Present, in 25 Years of Arts in Singapore. National Day Art Exhibition Catalogue, 1984.
Kwok Kian Chow, Richard Walker, Colonial Art Education and visiting European artists before World War II.
The Studio: The Illustrated Magazine of Fine and Applied Art. September 14, 1917. Volume 71. Number 294. Published 44 Leicester Square, London WC.
Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertisier. Friday 11TH. September 1925, page 4. Article entitled “Mrs Felkin’s Malayan Sketches”.
Margaret Felkin. Malayan Sketches. In Database WorldCat.
Subjects: Malaya in art, Singapore in Art and Malaya in Pictorial Works
Royal Academy. Royal Academy Library. Collection’s Department.
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