Nocturne des Alpes
Oil on canvas; signed.
36 1/2 x 54 inches
Hechle's obituary in The Times, 20th of April 1939, read:
'Gifted with imagination and a good sense of design, she broke away from the usual rather sentimental treatment of mountains in favour of a simplified statement with the rhythms of structure strongly accentuated so that the effect of great scale was preserved even in a small picture.'
Hechle was born at Brassington Hall, the home of her uncle, in the Peak District of Derbyshire, famous for its climbing tradition. She became an experienced climber and scrambler, having mastered several routes in the Alps, and was a stalwart of the Ladies Alpine Club. Hechle studied at St. John’s Wood Art School and the Royal Academy Schools, and thenceforth set up her studio in St. John’s Wood as a painter and illustrator. Her fanciful illustrative work is populated by fairies and spirits, and in 1915 she illustrated a re-telling of William Morris's The Earthly Paradise. This aspect of her work lends a romantic, almost animist, dimension to her more serious paintings of mountains, that she painted on the spot at all altitudes.
In a lecture that she gave at the Ladies Alpine Club on January 4, 1928, she issued 'some valuable practical directions, i.e., that the best place from which to draw one mountain is halfway up another.' (Ladies Alpine Club Yearbook, 1929, p. 40). That she acted upon her own advice is evident in this painting, which is mounted on a double stretcher joined with metal plates (unique in our experience), presumably for ease of transport up a mountain. She showed in London at the Royal Society of British Artists, of which she was made a member in 1926, the Society of Women Artists, St George's Gallery and the Alpine Club Gallery.