Margaret Morris, or Meg as she was affectionately known, was the lifelong partner of the colourist J.D. Fergusson. They met in Paris in 1913 and she moved to the South of France with him. When war broke out they returned to London and to the life that Margaret had left behind.
Anita and Myself dates from this time and clearly relates to Fergusson's output of the same period. He was concerned with colour, volume and line, applying paint in sections of bold colour creating an almost two-dimensional perspective. Meg was already an accomplished artist when she met Fergusson, but although she had a fine sense of colour, form usually retained a delicate feminine treatment. This is not the case in Anita and Myself where Meg employs some of Fergusson's favourite devices such as conical lampshades, reflections in mirrors and sections of strong colour. However the overall design is far more elaborately patterned than Fergusson would ever have produced, creating an altogether more complex spatial tension which binds the composition together. The sitter's face appears aloof contrasting with Meg's downward focussed look, yet there is a delightful intimacy to the scene. Anita is thought to have been Margaret Morris's landlady.
Margaret Morris was a talented dancer, innovative choreographer, a designer, artist and author of several books including her autobiography. As a pioneer in health and fitness, becoming a qualified physiotherapist in 1930, she wrote books on exercises for maternity, skiing and tennis. Astonishingly, the British army adopted her exercises at their training school at Aldershot, but never publicly acknowledged her system.
In 1912 with financial help and encouragement from the author John Galsworthy, Margaret had opened a studio theatre in Chelsea, becoming London's youngest actor manager. By 1914 her little theatre and club was attracting some of the leading creative minds and talents in London. Among her dancing pupils were all three sisters, Hermione, Angela and Muriel Baddeley. Enthusiasts and contributors to Margaret's productions included Augustus John, Jacob Epstein, Edward Wadsworth, Wyndham Lewis and of course Fergusson; writers included Bernard Shaw, the Sitwells and Ezra Pound. In 1915 the architect and designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his artist wife Margaret Mackintosh settled in London and became close friends with Meg.
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