Modern Art was made not just by pioneering individuals but also by a startling number of artists who were partners in both their personal and creative lives. There are many examples of artistic collaborations within twentieth century British Art, but perhaps none more symbiotic than Mary Adshead (1904 – 1995) and Stephen Bone (1904 – 1958), son of the famous War Artist Muirhead Bone (1876-1953). Having studied together at the Slade School of Fine Art between 1922 – 24, the pair married in 1929. They made a striking and handsome couple. In the early years of their marriage they travelled extensively through Europe, sketching and painting, and many of Bone’s panels in this exhibition attest to the places that they visited, from St.Tropez to Spakenburg to Stockholm.
In 1935-6, Adshead and Bone produced murals for Cunard’s Queen Mary liner (sadly the murals were not installed). They collaborated together upon three illustrated children’s books (The Little Boy and His House, 1936 / The Silly Snail and Other Stories, 1942 and The Little Boys and their Boats, 1953) and in 1949, they designed the first pictorial issues of stamps for the General Post Office. In 1950, they also undertook a commission of jungle scenes for one of the then largest murals in Britain, which decorated the fourth-floor restaurant of Selfridge’s store.