Marcus Adams Artist

Marcus Adams (1875-1959) was born in Reading and attended Reading Art College where he began to develop his skills as a draftsman and designer. In 1892 he was apprenticed at his father’s photography studio, first preparing negatives and then proofing and retouching.

Marcus is well known for his portraits of the Royal Family, many of which were reproduced all over the world. They include several images of the young Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, capturing the closeness of the family. A very large number of these are now held by the National Portrait Gallery.

In 1919 Marcus joined up with Bertram Park (1883-1972) and his wife Yvonne Gregory (1889-1970) to form the 'Three Photographers' who shared use of printing, retouching and darkroom staff whilst maintaining their own style. He also established a reputation as a leading child photographer, a specialism he developed in order to compete with his new business partners. This endeavour proved to be a hugely successful niche in the interwar period and his young sitters included the children of the writers A.A. Milne and Agatha Christie. Many of the works we have in the collection carry the Marcus Adams studio stamp, or that of Bertram Parker.

Whilst Marcus was starting to gain a reputation for the photographic portraits for which he would become famous, he continued his artistic education by studying in Paris and travelling the globe. In our collection of artworks by the artist, it is this period of his life and work that we see. It includes a very large number of graphite drawings depicting Switzerland, Majorca, North Africa, Italy and various idyllic scenes around England.

Marcus’ compositions relay the balanced eye of the photographer and his realist style lends itself to a faithfulness to nature which make his drawings so charming. He exhibited his paintings both in St Ives (STISA) and at the Reading Guild of Artists, amongst other venues in and around London.

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