What I like – Freya Mitton

This small example of Mary Fedden’s (RA,1915-2012) early work, Pink Rose 2, is signed and dated 1971. It appeals to me because it is a very manageable size and an intimate piece that can easily be placed within a mature collection as it does not depend on a large wall space. It can be propped on a bookcase or desk and will attract the eye in a gentle way.

I rather like Fedden’s early work. These pieces tend to be more painterly, and you get a greater sense of the brushstrokes, with a clever use of impasto. You can see this here in the roundness of the petals and the shading of the flower. The colour is very pleasing, too.

This is a very considered composition; the pink rose could have been a cliché if not handled well, but the way it is balanced with the bottle means that has not happened. The contrasting shape, form and colour of the two objects sit very well together well.

Perhaps best of all is the lovely provenance: a couple bought it from the Oxford Gallery as a wedding present to themselves while on honeymoon just after it was painted in 1971. It was in their family for over half a century before I bought it, so it is totally fresh to the market.

I have reframed it to appeal to a modern audience. Fedden always painted right to the edge of the work, so some of the detail can be covered by the frame. Here I have had it framed with space around the work so the whole can be appreciated.

The market for Fedden ebbs and flows, but her gouaches tend to attract more demand than her oils because they are pitched at a lower price range, so it is less of a commitment for the interested buyer. This 14 x 18cm oil on canvas is available for £8,800 plus 4% ARR.


Freya Mitton is at 6 Masons Yard, St James’s, London SW1Y 6BU