This website is dedicated to my maternal grandparents. It is starting small, but I intend it to grow over time. The pages will evolve and new pages will be added.

Stella Marks was a member of the American Society of Miniature Painters and of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptures and Gravers and was awarded an MVO by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II for her work. Two of her portrait miniatures are in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. She met Montagu Marks, 'Monty', when they were both students at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School.

Monty was also an accomplished artist, but spent much of his life as a businessman in the film industry. As General Manager of Alexander Korda's London Films Productions he raised the money to build Denham Studios. He was also a World War I Royal Flying Corp pilot and in World War II was sent to Spain to help in Britain's propaganda efforts to keep Spain from joining the Axis powers.

I knew and loved them both as I was growing up and thought they were special, as most grandchildren would. But, over the years what they achieved slipped further and further into oblivion. An internet search on the day I went live with this website (29th May 2015) showed almost no references to either.

This would not have surprised me, except that I had recently started to go through press cuttings that had been stored in a cupboard, unread for years. The more I read the more a feeling of awe came over me. I had never fully appreciated the extent of their success and even fame, especially in their early years. 

I intend this website to be an exploration into the past that will piece together their lives, create a reference library of their work and what has been said about it. Perhaps, one day there can even be a retrospective exhibition. I hope some people will find it interesting and join me on the journey.

It is time my grandparents returned from oblivion.

Anthony Pettifer.

www.brandstorm.com

Stella Marks in 1917, Australian artist who painted over 500 portrait miniatures and was awarded an MVO for her work by Queen Elizabeth II

Stella Marks in 1917, Australian artist who painted over 500 portrait miniatures and was awarded an MVO for her work by Queen Elizabeth II

Monty Marks in 1917, pilot in the royal flying corp

Monty Marks in 1917, pilot in the royal flying corp


Don't Forget

In old age Monty would poignantly leave self-sketches on 'Don’t Forget' memo pads around the house. I hope he sensed that one day his wish (or was it a command?) would come true.

Monty Marks in 1970, SElf-sketch

Monty Marks in 1970, SElf-sketch