|CONSTANCE PENSTONE (also known as CONSTANCE ROTH)|
|Born 1864 in Chesterfield, England
(Deceased 1928, died in Glencairn, Near Cape Town )
Lived for some years in Australia and the USA; reputed to have designed
stained-glass windows for Tiffany's, NY; 1896: she came to SA; was married
to the cartoonist, Charles Penstone, who established the periodical 'The
Owl'; worked as cartoonist to 'The Owl' and the 'Cape Times' under the
Constance Penstone was one of the small coterie of 'doers' who organized art-activities in Cape Town during the earliest years of the century. She was professionally employed as a cartoonist, painting watercolours for her own satisfaction.
Between 1900 and 1910 she was referred to regularly in the Cape press for her energetic movement in art-circles and for exhibitions of her work. Her water-colours were criticized for their 'prettiness', but her works in gesso, (few of which still exist), were commended: "Mrs Penstone probably stands alone in SA, in a matter of successful results, and almost alone as a worker in that method" - 'Cape Argus' 14 November 1904. (Other artists who exhibited work in the gesso medium included Denis Santry and Pickford Marriot of PE).
Later in her career Constance Penstone gave up cartooning and concentrated on watercolour. Cape Farmyard is fairly typical of her subject matter and style. The original bears out another early press comment - "she is an optimist in colour". While not artistically inventive, her visual accounts were competent and pleasant; her descriptive inclinations led her to record many scenes of the Cape environment, particularly the coastline. In 1905 she showed a series of paintings of buildings in Simonstown at Darter's Gallery, Cape Town. Such works gain added interest today as Africana.
(Late in 1982, when this edition of Art & Artists was already at final proof stage, the author was approached by an Australian art historian seeking information on a certain Constance ROTH, who was believed to have worked in SA after leaving Australia in the 1890s. The researcher, Margaret Maynard, had established that the Afric Museum, Johannesburg, possessed lithographs by Constance Roth, but the museum was unable to provide any data about the artist herself.
Aware that the SA artist, Constance PENSTONE, was at least twice married, and armed with the above facts about her life, the author hazarded the proposition that the Australian artist may perhaps have changed her surname …And, suddenly, two independent research exercises fitted together, to identify the mysterious local Constance Roth and to present a more complete biographical profile of Constance Penstone:
The artist, born Jones in 1864 (SA records cite 1865), was married to
Felix Roth in 1884 and divorced from him in 1887. She lived in Sydney,
Australia from the mid-1880s until c1892. During that time, she was known
to move in the circle of leading Sydney artists. Although not represented
in Australian museums, she acquired some reputation as an illustrator.
When she departed from Australia, the country was going through a period
of economic depression. Little is yet known about her temporary residence
in the United States.)
Artist: CONSTANCE PENSTONE
Size: 40 x 60 cm
Price on request, framed
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