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Born: 1899
Died: 1996


Born 1899 (Bellair, Natal)

An artist who designed artworks for the Ceramic Studio.

Daughter of Dering Lee Stainbank. 1913-15: Educated at St. Anne's DSG, Hilton. (The South African woman's who's who, Johannesburg, Biographies Ltd, 1938, p. 358) 1916-1921: Trained at the Durban School of Art (under John Adams and Alfred Martin). (M. Webb, Precious stone, Durban, Knox, 1985). 1922-24: Royal College of Art, London (under Frederick John Wilcoxson). Awarded RCA Scholarship, 1925. (Interview with Miss Stainbank, 28 September 1985). She also attended a school of engineering in London to study bronze foundry work. (The art of Mary Stainbank, The Natal Mercury, 8 July 1933 p. 22) 1926: Returned to Durban and established a studio at Coedmore, Bellair. (M. Webb, Precious stone, Durban, Knox, 1985) 1939-45: War service, Johannesburg. (M. Webb, Precious stone, Durban, Knox, 1985). 1945-57: Lecturer (sculpture), Durban School of Art. (M. Webb, Precious stone, Durban, Knox, 1985).

Sculptures, Children's Hospital, Addington 1929
Sculpture, Sunlawns
Season panels, Johannesburg Public Library 1934
Figure for Herb Garden 1932
Figures for Coloseum, JHB 1932
Swimming pool panel, 1933, Rodean School? (The art of Mary Stainbank, The Natal Mercury, 8 July 1933 p. 22) Mary Stainbank's pieces were glazed in Della Robbia colours, an effect of which she disapproved, preferring natural stone or metal. ("Mary herself was not very enthusiastic about this coloured pictorial effect but at the time it was all the vogue, and so many people had a finger In the pie, that she bided her time and longed for the day when she could let the stone speak for itself." M. Webb, Precious stone, Durban, Knox, 1985, p. 99)


Entry from 1938 Who's Who (see right)

STAINBANK, Miss MARY, A.R.C.A., eldest daughter of the late Dering Lee Warner Stalnbank, who came to South Africa in 1857 at the age of 17 and began as a coffee planter and Mrs. Stainbank who is well-known in the district as a very capable and energetic woman, who, left a widow, carried on and developed the work of her late husband with great success. Born at Coedmore, Natal, educated at St. Anne's College, Hilton Road, Natal, studied art first at the Durban Art School and then at the Royal College of Art in London for four years. Is by profession a sculptor, exhibited several times in Durban and also at the Royal Exhibition in Johannesburg where her work awoke great interest and was very successful. Gained associateship of R.C.A. with distinctions and R.C.A. Scholarship, 1925. Completed many notable and important works on public buildings. Her younger sister, Edith Marion Stainbank, A.R.C.M., who was trained at the Royal College in London is a music teacher. Favourite recreations are fishing and tennis. Her address is Ezayo Studio, Coedmore, Bellair, Natal.

Ref: The South African Woman's Who's Who. 1938. Biographies (Pty) Ltd. Johannesburg: pg 358. Submitted by William MARTINSON

Books citing STAINBANK

Botha, Andries: et al. 1988. Mary Stainbank Retrospective Exhibition Catalogue. Durban: Durban Arts. pp All

Hillebrand, Melanie. 1991. The women of Olifantsfontein - South African studio ceramics : Die vroue van Olifantsfontein - Suid-Afrikaanse ateljee-keramiek . Pretoria: South African National Gallery. pp 15-16

Werth, Albert & Harmsen, Frieda. 1993. Our Art/Ons Kuns 4. Pretoria: Foundation for Education, Science and Technology. pp 26–33