• Call us: +44 (0) 1305 265 080
  • Call us: +44 (0) 1305 265 080


Kathleen M Scale

Languishing in a barn in Dorset is a group of highly original art deco paintings by Kathleen M. Scale (1913 - 2006) whose mythological and biblical subjects show the influence of the Renaissance. She set her distinctive figures in classical landscapes variously wearing drapes, contemporary dress or naked. Scale was a young artist of precocious talent who studied under William Otway McCannell RBA and John Bateman RA and learnt line drawing with Rowland Hilder.She exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1933 and 1938, with several hung ‘on the line’.  Inspired by contemporary mural painting and art deco imagery of the age her work attracted press interest.  Punch magazine even published several imitative cartoons of her RA paintings.  In 1936 Scale was invited by the National Gallery of Canada to exhibit at an Exhibition of Contemporary British Art together with George Spencer Watson, Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell and Stanley Spencer amongst many others. Scale also produced designs for Vogue, fashion, stage sets and murals.

Scale’s highly original paintings were all too soon lost to British art. She married an army officer, Rupert Harding-Newman, at the beginning of the war. Army life and three children effectively prevented Scale from developing her original style and saw her turn increasingly to portrait commissions and decorative watercolours of flowers. Scale was amongst generations of female artists, composers and writers lost to history because their lives - and indeed their names - changed after marriage, which for most women at this period, meant the end of an artistic career. The family eventually settled in Dorset where her near neighbour and friend was Elisabeth Frink. In 1995 Scale held a highly acclaimed retrospective solo exhibition at Dorchester Museum opened by fellow Dorset artist Mary Spencer Watson, the daughter of George Spencer Watson who had exhibited with Scale in the 1930s. 

For over 50 years Scale’s art has been hidden away. Some of her surviving work, of over 30 paintings and drawings in original condition, is to be sold by auction in Dorchester at the end of April.  This presents a rare opportunity to buy paintings and full-scale drawings by this highly gifted artist at the start of her career, who painted in an original and distinctive manner so highly evocative of the period.  

At the time of her retrospective exhibition Godfrey Barker observed in the Telegraph, Scale’s was “…..a precocious talent, she created dancing figures who owe as much to Piero della Francesca as to Futurism.   ………….but what survives from early on tells us that something quite original was lost to British art.”

K.M. Scale Exhibition Listing

Royal Academy, New English Art Club, Royal Society of British Artists , Society of Women Artist

This exciting collection will be coming to auction within Art & Design post 1880 on the 25th April


John Holmes