Born on 27 October 1902, London, the artist read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Magdalen College, Oxford, 1920-3. He studied art at the Euston Road School, starting in 1936 with Victor PASMORE and mixed with Ben NICHOLSON, Barbara HEPWORTH, and Naum GABO, all of whom he later invited to Cornwall to escape the war.
His first wife was Margaret MELLIS whom he married in 1938 after meeting her painting in France. The couple moved to Carbis Bay, where they painted and ran a market garden for the war effort. After the break-up of their marriage, he married her sister Ann Mellis.
Stokes is better known as a writer on art, also a poet, and because of sharing a name with a distinguished previous artist of the St Ives Colony, is most often referred to as 'Stokes, the writer' even though both artists published books about art.
Their home at Carbis Bay, near St Ives was Little Parc Owles, 1939-46, which was sold to Peter LANYON.
Titles of paintings include Landscape, West Penwith Moor (1937) and primarily were topographical and impressionistic.
Among his published books are The Thread of Ariadne 1925, The Stones of Rimini 1934, Colour and Form 1937, Cézanne 1947, Michelangelo 1956, Greek Culture and the Ego 1961, and Painting and the Inner World 1963.