Mabel Gear, 1898-1987

Mabel Gear was born in Suffolk, and studied at Colchester School of Art and in Bushey. Best known as a painter of birds and animals, particularly dogs. She exhibited at: Royal Academy, Royal Society of British Artists, Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, Royal Scottish Academy, and Society of Women Artists.. A number of her pictures were reproduced as postcards and prints.

She was an animal painter and is primarily known for her animal designs for postcards, greetings cards, book illustration and advertisements. She studied at Colchester School of Art before moving to Bushey in 1921 to continue her studies with the animal painter, Septimus Power. She occupied No.15 Meadow Studios from 1923 -1926 and her future husband, Ivor Symes occupied No.10. They married in 1929 and moved to Hampshire but Ivor Symes became chronically ill shortly afterwards and died in 1944. Mabel Gear had exhibited animal pictures widely from 1920 to 1929 but she then became the bread winner and had to turn to commercial designs in order to support them and later to raise their son on her own.

One of her commercial contracts was the production of illustrations for Black and White Scotch Whiskey advertisements which were paintings or models of black and white Scotch terriers with tartan collars.

Source: Bushey Museum

Portfolio (some paintings in the Bushey Museum collection)

'Have a Game' by Mabel Gear
'Have a Game'
'Happy Motherhood Spaniel and Pup' by Mabel Gear
'Happy Motherhood Spaniel and Pup'
'Cairn Terriers' by Mabel Gear
'Cairn Terriers'
'A Collie with a Lamb' by Mabel Gear
'A Collie with a Lamb'
'Two Westies with a Gift Wrapped Parcel' by Mabel Gear
'Two Westies with a Gift Wrapped Parcel'







'A Pony looking at a Robin on Holly' by Mabel Gear
'A Pony looking at a Robin on Holly'
'Four Ponies looking at a Lamb' by Mabel Gear
'Four Ponies looking at a Lamb'
'Hunting, Racing' by Mabel Gear
'Hunting, Racing'
'The Good Companions' by Mabel Gear
'The Good Companions'

Other resources

  • Suffolk Artists at their website.
  • See some of her work on the Art UK website.

If you would like more information, please contact our Local Studies Centre.

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March 2020