Hardback144 PagesSize: 270 × 228 mm
100 colour illustrations and 89 B&W illustrations
ISBN: 9781848222953Publication: October 22, 2018

'This is a beautiful and subtle book about a beautiful and subtle artist which made me want to run to the nearest art shop, buy supplies and take up painting myself' - Emma Thompson


Mary Newcomb

Drawing from Observation

With an Introduction by William Packer and chapter texts by Tessa Newcomb



  • Reveals Mary Newcomb's exquisite sketchbook drawings for the first time
  • Publication coincided with the tenth anniversary of Mary Newcomb's death and a launch exhibition at her long-time gallery, Crane Kalman, in London 


On New Year's Day 1986, encouraged by her dealer Andras Kalman, artist Mary Newcomb, then aged 64, began to keep a diary. She wrote in its opening pages: 'I wanted … to remind ourselves that – in our haste – in this century – we may not give time to pause and look – and may pass on our way unheeding'. This beautiful new book, compiled by the artist's daughter and grandson, reveals Mary Newcomb as an acute observer of her surroundings, reproducing her copious sketches alongside more finished paintings and short diary extracts to draw out the many themes which preoccupied her throughout her career as an artist.

Mary Newcomb's world was rural East Anglia, where she managed a small mixed farm with her husband Godfrey Newcomb. The working life of the countryside engrossed her quite as much as the cycle of Nature: she noticed and relished everything, with as keen an eye for the colour of the bridesmaids' dresses at a wedding as for the yellow and brown of a dragonfly’s body.

Mary's daughter Tessa Newcomb, also an artist, introduces the key themes of the book with short texts which provide fascinating insight into her mother's world. A reflective introductory essay by art critic William Packer considers Mary Newcomb's written diary observations alongside the poetic language of her art.

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