painter, was born into an upper middle class family at Miram Piram in Victoria’s Wimmera district, daughter of James Henry Parkin and Mary Jane, née Martin. In 1918, when she was 12 the family moved to Melbourne and later studied at the National Gallery School under Bernard Hall.
In 1929 she was awarded the Travelling Scholarship, which led her to London, where she studied at the Royal Academy School.
A journey to Paris introduced her to contemporary French art, and after working with André Lhote her style dramatically changed to be influenced by Post Impressionism and Cubism. After returning to Melbourne she held her first exhibition in 1933 just after she married Eric Wyborn Stokes. Soon after their marriage the couple travelled on an extended visit to Europe and she took extra anatomy classes at the Royal Academy.
On their return to Melbourne, the demands of married life and the birth of her three children served to restrict her art for many years. She did however exhibit at the first exhibition of the Contemporary Art Society in 1939 and later maintained contact with George Bell through his Thursday night drawing classes. She described herself at this time as ‘half mother and half painter.
In 1953 her work was selected for an exhibition of Australian art at the New Burlington Galleries in London.
In 1964, two years after her husband’s death, she held the first of many solo exhibitions. In her last years the renewed interest in work by women artists led to her work being included in a number of survey exhibitions.
Her final painting, Alice Tumbling Down the Rabbit Hole, was completed in 1990, the year before her death.

Staff WriterNote: Heritage biography.
Joanna Mendelssohn
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