Penlee House Gallery & Museum, Penzance
The artistic heart of West Cornwall's history

Lantern Light

Oil on canvas, purchased with assistance from The Art Fund, The MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and the Friends of Penlee House

Marianne Stokes

1855 - 1927

Marianne Stokes (ne Preindlsberger) was considered one of the leading women artists in Britain of her time, along with her friend Elizabeth Forbes whose career has many parallels.



Marianne Stokes - 1855 - 1927

Considered one of the leading women artists in Britain of her time, Marianne Stokes was born in Austria.  She began her artistic career studying art in Munich, where Elizabeth Forbes also studied, and there are many parallels between the careers of these two painters. 

Marianne’s talent was recognised early and won her prize money that enabled her to study in France, where she met Finnish painter Helene Schjerfbeck, who was to become a close friend.  Together they sought out the right places for ‘plein air’ social realism and were attracted to the thriving art colony at Pont-Aven in Brittany.  It was here, in 1883, that Marianne met Adrian Stokes, whom she married the following year. 

In 1886, the couple came to Cornwall, where they became leading figures in the St Ives artists’ colony.  Adrian Stokes became the first President of the St Ives Art Club, and both he and Marianne showed at the seminal Whitechapel exhibition of Cornish art in 1902.

In the 1890s, Marianne changed her style completely and began painting in a Mediaevalist style, often using tempera.  Such works include ‘Madonna and Child’ in Wolverhampton City Art Gallery’s collection, which was the 2005 First Class Christmas stamp. 

In 1899, Marianne and Adrian Stokes moved away from Cornwall, basing themselves around London and travelling widely in continental Europe.  Marianne died in London in 1927, aged 72.