Ursula McCannell ARCA WICA (1923-2015)
Ursula McCannell was the only child to the painter Otway McCannell, former head of Farnham School of Art. At the age of 13 she showed at the Wertheim Gallery and had her ﬁrst major exhibition at the Redfern Gallery in London when she was sixteen, which led to her being elected the youngest member of the Woman’s International Art Society and the youngest exhibitor at both the New English Art Club and the Royal Academy (1940).Ursula McCannell studied at the Farnnham Art School, beneﬁting from her father’s enthusiasm and discipline. She had numerous one man shows at prestigious, leading galleries and important group shows including: Royal Academy, Leicester Galleries (London) –‘Artists of Fame and Promise’, Leger Gallery (London) the London Group and the New English Art Club.Her work is held in many private and public collections including: Contemporary Arts Society and Manchester City Art Gallery. She was also deeply inﬂuenced by the Spanish Civil War.
She studied at the RCA which had rellocatd to Ambleside and it was while there that she met Peter Rees Roberts, another Royal College student. Shortly before this, Ursula had made a stone head of a handsome man with strong aquiline features -rather prophetically it could almost be a portrait of him. Rees Roberts in turn painted a tempera panel of Ursula in the style of Raphael, a particularly beautiful portrait that marked his feelings for her. Rees Roberts left the Royal College in 1944, and he and Ursula married the following year. After a holiday at Mousehole in Cornwall, they settled in Farnham near Ursula's parents and Peter taught for a while alongside Otway at the Farnham School of Art. In 1959 Peter and Ursula ﬁrst visited Cadaques in Spain, and in 1963 bought a house there from the Spanish painter Juan Jose Tharrats. Cadaques was to become a second home, and from 1960 they exhibited there regularly.