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Memories are made of this…..the story of Madeleine et La Pomme

and how Iain Hodgkinson of L’Atelier11 helped fulfil a dream………

Madeleine et La Pomme, Dry point engraving on copper plate

Madeleine et La Pomme, Drypoint engraving on copper plate by Claude Bénard, printed by Iain Hodgkinson. One of Claude’s later works in Surrealist style.

Claude began his studies at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and, after travelling throughout France painting, he settled in Angoulême, a small city in South West France, becoming a Professor at their Ecole des Beaux Arts from 1957-1980. 

Madeleine was born in Angoulême and as a young lady she studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts under the tuition of Claude Bénard.

Madeleine qualified and worked as a nurse in a local hospital before marrying, moving to London and later Hollywood. Once divorced, she returned to France and, now a talented botanical artist, rekindled her friendship with Claude. She life modelled for Claude and he created Madeleine et La Pomme.

We have translated a note he wrote about her:

The flowers of Marie-Madeleine Feuillade-Jessel.

When I taught at the Angoulême School of Fine Arts, Marie-Madeleine Feuillade took my drawing classes. Already, as a young girl, she showed excellent sills in this discipline and created vigorous graphics.

Like most artists during their careers, she explored other areas.

Recently, she has moved towards an intimate expression.

From her passion for the flowers that she cultivates on her property in Charente, precise watercolours were born.

Make no mistake, these are not documentary studies, a somewhat cold genre, but on the contrary, sensitive and refined works, reflecting the personality of this charming, elegant woman. So perfect osmosis between the author and his works.

The floral delicacy is rendered with rigor far from any sentimentality.

If I had to sum it up I would simply say: I love the flowers by Marie-Madeleine Feuillade-Jessel.

Claude Benard Painter
Claude Benard Painter

After his death, Madeleine’s second husband, Hugh Little, bought the plate of Madeleine et la Pomme from Claude’s daughter, with permission to reproduce prints from it since no originals remained.

Madeleine and Hugh were keen to see a print of the plate but not sure if anyone would be willing to print from it on their behalf. Now settled in Buckingham, they approached Artist Printmaker, and owner of L’Atelier11 Art Space in Towcester, Iain Hodgkinson to see if he would be willing to produce prints from the plate.

Iain was delighted by the challenge and Madeleine and Hugh were thrilled by the result:

You can view the framed print at L’Atelier11 from 1 December until 12 March 2024.


Claud Bénard, who died in 2016, obtained over seventy awards and founded the Cercle Angoumousin des Arts. In 1979 he organised a Salon of Contemporary Art in Angouleme collaborating with other local artists.

His style developed from figurative to Surrealist in his later works. 

He has had tribute exhibitions in Angoulême in 1972, 1984, 2001 and 2017. 


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