`An Italian Hill Town` 
May Louise Greville Cooksey 1911
A watercolour depicting an Italian street scene by well known Victorian artist May L. Greville Cooksey. Cooksey was a fascinating artist. A devout Catholic, her religious subjects are usually interpreted in a delicate sensual way typical of the Pre- Raphaelites who were a major influence. Her most well known image is `Maria Virgo` (1917) which can easily be found on the web. In 1901 she received a Liverpool City Travelling Scholarship which meant she could travel to Italy and paint, and afterwards she returned to Italy a number of times - I would imagine the combination of religion and beautiful surroundings would have greatly appealed. On her various travels she often painted the locality and although not titled I think this is probably a scene in Orvieto, which she visited in 1911, or perhaps Assisi or one of the other Italian hill towns. In this scene she has captured the shady streets and sunlit rooftops beautifully, and the somewhat bemused expressions of the two residents in the foreground. I wonder what they thought of this Lady artist! The painting is in excellent unfaded condition and is housed in its original gilt frame, which has only a couple of minor faults, and gilt slip, with Liverpool framers label verso. Signed lower left and dated in typical Cooksey fashion.

May Louise Greville Cooksey (1878-1943) was an ecclesiastical artist as well as a landscape & figure painter and etcher. She was born in Birmingham but spent most of her life in Liverpool. She studied at Leamington and Liverpool School of Art where she was awarded several silver and gold medals. In 1899, at the age of 20, May converted to the Catholic faith, being baptised at St Francis Xaviers in Liverpool. In 1901 she received a Liverpool City Travelling Scholarship which meant she could travel to Italy and paint. For some time she was also the Art Mistress at South Kensington. She became a member of the Liverpool Academy of Arts, living out the rest of her life at 1 Bold Place, St Luke's Chambers, Liverpool, then moving to Crosby in Lancashire, where she died in 1943.

May Cooksey exhibited in many of the top galleries, including the Royal Academy and the Glasgow Institute of Fine Art but mostly at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. In Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in Seaforth near Liverpool are five large painted panels by her, which were illustrated in The Studio vol 45 p 145, when it reviewed her solo exhibition in 1909.

Mediumwatercolour  Conditionexcellent
 Image size9.5 x 6.5 inches   Provenancesigned lower left, dated, framers label verso
 Overall size14 x 11 inches  
Age1911 Price SOLD AUGUST 2016