Mary was a British Figurative painter, illustrator, designer and war artist. She was born in London and studied at the Clapham School of Arts and Crafts. Her most known work and the work that is in the Darlington Collection are her war drawings and paintings. At the end of the second world war, Kessell was commissioned to work in Germany as an official war artist, one of only three women selected. She documents refugees stating herself, “moving through Europe in the aftermath of the German surrender." After the war, she was commissioned to complete needlework designs for the Needlework Development Scheme. In her later years, she taught at The School of Silversmithing and Jewellery, alongside painter, Richard Hamilton. Not only is her work in the Darlington Collection, her work has been collected by the Tate, The Imperial Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum.