Joyce Pallot was born in Brightlingsea and educated at Colchester County High School for Girls. She then went on to study industrial art and design at Colchester and Southend School of Art. It was while at Colchester in 1932 that she met Henry Collins (q.v.) whom she married in 1938. This was the beginning of a dynamic and successful partnership which was to last more than 60 years. Throughout the seventies she worked on commissions and murals with her husband, one of which can be seen outside the Sainsbury Store in Kingsway, Colchester. For details about her work with her husband see Henry Collins’s catalogue entries. She exhibited at the Minories (1) four times with her husband and also at York University, Cardiff, Hitchin, Cambridge, The Mercury Theatre and Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury, Suffolk. She had a solo exhibition at the Trafford Gallery, London, in 1968. There are watercolour and oil paintings in private collections, industrial offices, schools (Colchester High School for Girls) and hotels.
With her husband she was a founding member of Colchester Art Society in 1946, along with John Nash (q.v.) and Cedric Morris (q.v.). She was also a member of the Women’s International Art Club (2), which had among its members Gwen Jones and Orovida Pissarro, the only child of Lucien Pissarro. Lucien Pissarro (1863-1944), the eldest son of Camille Pissarro, married the sister of Dr. Ruth Bensusan-Butt (1877-1957) who sold the Minories to the Victor Batte-Lay Trust, now a Foundation, in 1956. Joyce Pallot was a leading exhibitor at Colchester Art Society exhibitions at the Minories for more than 40 years. She lived with her husband at 195 Lexden Road, Colchester, for many years and died in June 2004 at the Old Rectory Residential Home, Lexden, where she had lived for the past ten years.
Joyce’s work, as can be seen here, is geometric and dynamic, a perfect product of her training as an industrial artist-designer. It is also reminiscent of the work of the early 20th century American artists, notably Charles Demuth (1883-1935) and Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956), the latter a leading exponent of Abstract Expressionism. The Modernist John Marin (1870-1953) might have also been an influence. The work of these artists plays with strong diagonal, vertical and horizontal lines which cut across and into the picture. They often used city and industrial subject matters, as did Joyce Pallot.
Floating flowers is very different from Joyce Pallot’s usual angular, semi-abstract compositions seen in this collection. Its subject is reminiscent of Oriental motifs like the floating lotus. In Western cultures, floating flowers often have a symbolic meaning. For example, Millais, when painting the drowning of Ophelia, shows the heroine holding a poppy, daisies and pansies, which respectively mean death, innocence and love in vain. As we do not have a reference linked to this particular picture, it is difficult to interpret the meaning of it. The eye in the centre is perhaps the sole indication that this could be an exploration of a spiritual vision. It is interesting to note that the eye in this painting is identical to the eye included in the Society’s logo designed by her husband. In both cases the eye is inserted in a natural element, a tree or a flower.
Building Site by River
Joyce Pallot painted numerous building sites. The use of pinks and blue colours for this type of subject is unusual but effective, especially with the green sky in the background. She painted another similar subject entitled High Pink Construction (3), and often gave interesting titles to her industrial paintings, identifying them by colour rather than location. Other titles include White Pier, Blue Bridge. Her work, as can be seen here, is geometric and dynamic. It is reminiscent of the work of the early 20th century American artists, which included notably Charles Demuth (1883-1935) and Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956), the latter a leading exponent of abstract expressionism. The modernist John Marin (1870-1953) might also have been an influence. The work of these artists plays with strong diagonal, vertical and horizontal lines which cut across and into the picture. They too, like Joyce Pallot, built up a repertoire of city and industrial scenes which established the popularity of these subjects.
This colourful and geometric view of the Essex seaside in summer is probably made up from various sketches during visits to the Essex coast, hence its ambiguous title. There is no evidence that this is a particular place.
Exhibition at The Minories
October 1961 with her husband Henry Collins
BUCKMAN, David, Dictionary of artists in Britain since 1945, Art Dictionaries Ltd, Bristol, 1998, p. 938
(1) The Minories, joint exhibition with Henry Collins, Paintings in oils, watercolour, gouache by Henry Collins/Joyce Pallot - Paintings, 1977.
(2) This was a club, founded in Paris in 1900, which provided a way for women artists to exhibit their work. It was dissolved in 1976.
(3) See Minories 1977 exhibition catalogue No 49.