A painting by this artist, entitled Fishing Boats, forms part of the collection at Penlee House, Penzance.
Mabel Oliver was born in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, becoming in later years Mrs Mabel Parker.
She was an accomplished artist, having trained at the Slade School, London (1888-1890). There are a number of oil paintings from that period held by members of the Parker family, including powerful studies of male models, and some family portraits. There are also some very effective portraits in pastel. Later in life her painting was mainly in watercolour, the subject matter including evocative scenes from the Breckland with their gnarled Scots pines; lake and coastal scenery; village and country subjects, often including mills, giving her the opportunity to show her skills at depicting reflections in water. Mabel also became very skilled at etching on copper plates, a process involving the handling of concentrated acid, for which she had special sinks installed wherever she lived. Her etchings covered a wide range of subjects, including village and rural scenes, but the bulk of her output was of schools and the colleges at Oxford and Cambridge. Although she signed her paintings ‘M. Parker’, she used a pseudonym ‘M. Oliver Rae’ on her etchings. This appears to have been a deliberate ploy to hide the fact she was a woman, which might otherwise have reduced her status in her dealings with the agents through whom she sold her etchings, especially in Oxford and Cambridge.
Drawings and illustrations for books on topography appear to have been a specialty, as two etchings purchased at a local Penzance bookshop for the Hypatia Collection of Women's Art show topographical scenes in the Fowey area. One of her grandsons has now provided us with personal information and reprints of other scenes in Cornwall, which include etchings of St Ives, Polperro, and Lynton. Though Mabel never lived in Cornwall, she travelled extensively in the county and has left many etchings from her visits here. Two of her great grandchildren working today are recognised and talented painters/exhibitors elsewhere.
Wife and two daughters, Hazel and Pansie, were with the artist in St Ives. St Ives association before 1900.
Peter Rainsford was born in Tavistock, Devon in 1921 and lives in Bath. He studied at Chelsea School of Art, 1950-4, under Robert Medley and Raymond Coxon. From 1967 he became an antiquarian bookseller, but continued to paint and draw.
Peter was a member of Penwith Society in St Ives, showing at Newlyn Art Gallery, John Whibley and Comedy Galleries and with Cornish Painters at Plymouth in 1960. He had solo shows at Newlyn Art Gallery in 1960, at St Martin’s Gallery in 1962, and at Penwith Galleries, St Ives, 1979. He is currently showing at the Katharine House Gallery in Marlborough.
Fowey Museum owns an oil painting by this artist, Bodinnick Ferry (1876). Nothing further is currently known.
According to the St Ives Marriage Register, on 20 Aug 1894 by Banns, Frederick Winthrop Ramsdell (27), bachelor Artist, of Tregenna Terrace (Father, Thomas Jefferson Ramsdell, Builder) married Edyth John (22), spinster, of Albert Place (Father, Thomas Trewhella John); Witnesses Trewhella John and Mary John. No further information at this time.
The artist was born in Sheffield, and studied at the Royal College of Art. He exhibited silver works from the first craft show at NAG in December 1924 to 1937, and was elected to membership of the Newlyn Society of Artists (NSA) in 1935.
At NAG in 1926 he exhibited hand-wrought silver, and in the summer show of 1929 he showed a replica of a claret jug and a beaten silver 'Pilgrimage Girdle'.