STOKES, (Charles) Adrian Scott  [1854 - 1935]

His younger brother was knighted for designing an effective portable mortar extensively used in the First World War, but Adrian Stokes’ life was a stark contrast to his brother’s immersion in engineering as he gained prominence in the world of art.

Born Charles Adrian Scott Stokes on 23rd December 1854 at 77 Hoghton Street, Southport  the third of the five sons (four surviving) of Scott Nasmyth Stokes (1821–1891), the first Roman Catholic inspector of schools, and his wife, Emma Louisa (1820–1896), daughter of Benjamin Walsh, publisher, of Worcestershire.

After attending the Liverpool Institute, where he studied art he set out on a career as a cotton broker. However, his father’s promotion meant that the family moved to London in 1871 and thereafter his focus was increasingly upon his painting. After enrolling in the Royal Academy Schools in 1872 he travelled widely to develop his artistic abilities whilst at the same time securing his finances by accepting commissions for portraits and book illustrations.

In 1884 he married the Austrian painter Marianne Preindlesberger, who achieved some eminence under her married name. The couple travelled widely to embrace current artistic movements, including a spell at the Skagen artists’ colony in Northern Denmark. Returning to Britain they settled in Cornwall and joined the St Ives artists’ community.

Adrian Stokes was a landscape painter, concerned most with atmospheric effects, and later with decorative landscapes. . He became ARA in 1909 and RA in 1919, won medals at the Paris Exhibition and Chicago World Fair (1889), became first President of the St Ives Society of Arts (1890) and became Vice President of the Royal Watercolour Society (1932).

In 1924 four of his miniatures went on display in Queen Mary's dolls' house (designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens) at the British Empire Exhibition, several of them based upon his larger works, including In the Dunes (National Gallery of Canada) and Islands of the Adriatic (1906, Harris Art Gallery, Preston). Stokes followed this with the publication of Landscape Painting (1925), a generous teaching guide, reprinted in 1956 as Practical Landscape Painting.

Marianne Stokes died during 1927. Adrian Stokes died during 1935. Both were buried at Mortlake Roman Catholic Cemetery, London.

28 Huskisson Street L8

The Stokes family home at the time of Wilfrid's birth in 1860


There is a brief Wikipedia entry  There a detailed entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. A 2009 book entitled Utmost Fidelity: The Painting Lives of Marianne and Adrian Stokes [Sansom] provides an in-depth study of the couple's role in the artistic movements they embraced. Copies seem to be very expensive so I have not been able to consult it.