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A woman on a wet and windy Wednesday

March 5, 2014


Long before we had the wettest winter since records began, here in UK; I fell in love with this lino cut by Ethel Spowers.  I promised myself I would buy a copy when we had recovered from the Christmas expenditure. However we were taken over by a catalogue of events which included the aforementioned appalling weather and it is only now that I have finally taken delivery of the lovely thing.

I came across Ethel Spowers when I was researching Cyril Powers and Sybil Andrews. She was born in Australia and trained at Melbourne National Gallery Art School (1911-1917) where she gained a reputation for black and white children’s illustrations.  She was presented with a copy of Claude Flight’s Lino-cut book (1927) by her friend Eveline Syme and together the two travelled to London where they studied under Flight at the Grosvenor School of Art (1928-1929)

The Grosvenor School was hugely influential for Spowers. Her work always had a clear narrative to tell, but now she incorporated   the rhythmical expression and colour harmonies which Flight taught his students.  

On her return to Australia Spowers helped set up the Contemporary Art Group (1932). The group defended the modernist movement  against its more conservative detractors.  She also championed the work of Flight, both through the dissemination of his ideas, but also by acting as his agent and taking orders for buyers interested in purchasing his, or his London-based student’s linocuts.  Edith Spowers’ work is now found in major collections around the world, including the British Museum and the V&A, London.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2014 1:36 pm

    lovelly picture and really good text!!!

  2. March 5, 2014 7:58 pm

    It seems as though illustrators, especially of children’s books, did not get much recognition in the art world. It’s nice to see that this is changing with museums acquiring works like this.

  3. March 5, 2014 10:53 pm

    Very interesting post. I didn’t know this artist’s printmaking. I love the ubrellas.

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