Monet in Mind – Mary C. Wilson

Posted: 17th May 2021

Humber Museums Partnership - Monet in Mind – Mary C. Wilson

Still Life with Roses c.1945
Oil on canvas
A little known artist, Mary C. Wilson captured everyday objects in paint.
Wilson created this Modernist still life from above a table cloth on a curved table top.
The composition captures a familiar domestic scene; a painted a glazed ceramic bowl and white vase with a single white rose and two books, one open and the other closed, with a rose lying on top.
Her muted colour palette creates a simple, relaxing composition.

Samuel Courtauld, the founder of The Courtauld, wrote poetry about the artworks in his collection. Following in his footsteps many years later, young people aged 16-25 from The Warren Youth Project in Hull, were inspired to compose their own creative writing.

“Roses – Still life (1945)”
The meaning behind this still life picture creates life.
Where all creation is kept.
The chance to start over again
Remembering to grow and develop
Helping build a new life as well as finding what makes you keep going
Find the passion beyond these thorns
Stick out to the world
Find the light inside
Bring all creation that is hiding within.
Finding the rose is a gift
It’s to never let go and keep on creating
Keep being brilliant and let the whole creation see the meaning behind who you really are. Be strong. Be a rose.

By Raeann Cawkwell

“Back to the drawing board”

She’s wiping dust off the desk, and grey flurries give way to simple white surface. She wishes this was simple. Like a uniform page, ordered rows of marching words. Like the bland cover of a book, masking its story from the casual eye. The flower seems simple; petals, stalk, leaf. Delicate simplicity, breaking off in hands and easily pieced together again. But the thorn can catch – it is not all soft strokes – and turn white into a moving life of pinks and reds. That is where she trembles now. The stillness before potential. She picks up the pen.

By Sarah Magaharan

“Writing With Roses Based on ‘Still Life with Roses’, 1945”

A rose is my pen,
A leaf is my pad.

The dew is my ink,
The sun is my lamp.

The bud is my brain,
The stem is my drive.

The soil is my chair,
The grass is my desk.

Petals fill my pages,
Thorns carve my prose.

Nature is my novel,
Life is my story.

Andrew Gooch

“Recollections (based on Still Life with Roses)”

Everything is set up just the way
it always is,
prepared for the day ahead.
Roses stand proud on the table,
and the books are carefully opened,
revealing the secrets stored inside.

What is there to be found?

Perhaps they hold letters
to or from a friend or partner,
recipes rewritten from a grandmother,
accounts of the first VE day,
a simple diary of the mundane;
but whatever the contents,
they still hold the fragments of this moment,
a brief preview of a life worth being told.

By Kelly Cartwright