Painted in 1973 this impressive portrait depicts Maggi Hambling’s neighbour at the time, Frances Rose, a widow in her eighties who had 'been in ‘service’ and still took in washing. She had severe arthritis in her hands, enjoyed drinking Guinness and sewed bells to the knees of long red knickers for the old people’s annual Christmas party. Frances Rose (2) was painted entirely from life. She loved sitting, never moved a muscle and would have sat constantly, without breaks' (Maggi Hambling, private correspondence)
From the age of fifteen Hambling studied under the painters Cedric Morris and Arthur Lett Haines, at their School at Benton End in Suffolk, which emphasised the importance of drawing and painting from life. This painting marks the beginning of the return to this process by Hambling. Another version of this subject matter, Portrait of Frances Rose, 1973 is in the Tate’s collection.
Hambling was the joint winner of the Jerwood Painting Prize in 1995 with Patrick Caulfield.
Born in Sudbury, Suffolk, Hambling studied at the East Anglian School of Art, under Cedric Morris and Arthur Lett-Haines (1960), and then at Ipswich School of Art (1962-64); Camberwell School of Art (1964-67); and the Slade (1967-69). On leaving the Slade she received a Boise Travel Award to New York. Hambling was the first Artist in Residence at the National Gallery (1980-81), during which time she painted a major series of portraits of the comedian, Max Wall.
Alongside her portrait painting, she has also focused on landscapes, depicting her native Suffolk. Hambling has also worked on public sculpture commissions including a shell-shaped memorial to Benjamin Britten, sited on Aldeburgh beach in 2003. Hambling’s first solo show was held in 1967 and she has continued to show regularly including, the Serpentine Gallery, London (1987), and a recent exhibition of paintings of the sea at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (2010). In 1995 Hambling was the joint winner of the Jerwood Painting Prize with Patrick Caulfield.