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Painter and teacher, born in St Andrews, Fife. She attended Edinburgh College of Art, 1932–7, having a studio in the Scottish capital, 1936–40. William Gillies and David Foggie were important teachers. On her quizzing Foggie as to whether or not she would ever be any good as an artist, he replied gruffly: “Come and see me in 20 years and tell me if you’re still painting.” In 1940 Barns-Graham pursued an Andrew Grant post-graduate travelling scholarship and went to live in St Ives, Cornwall, which with St Andrews remained her base. There she joined the Newlyn Society of Artists, the St Ives Society of Artists and became a founder-member of the Penwith Society in 1949. She had known Margaret Mellis in Edinburgh and now became friends with Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth and Naum Gabo.

Text source: 'Artists in Britain Since 1945' by David Buckman (Art Dictionaries Ltd, part of Sansom & Company)

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