Art, Books and Culture Group: July 2021 – Sylvia Gosse, Edna Clarke Hall and Ethel Walker – some resources


How very fabulous it was to start up our Art Discussion meetings again, hurrah! So wonderful to see everyone.

As promised, I’ve put together some resources for our three brilliant artists (just click on the links underlined in blue):

Sylvia Gosse (1881-1968)

Sylvia Gosse: The Printer [1914; Swindon Art Gallery]

There are 55 paintings by Sylvia Gosse on,

Alicia Foster’s article “Sylvia Gosse: being modern” is here

and a short essay about her in connection with Walter Sickert & the Camden Town Group on Tate Inc.

We mentioned the paintings of Sylvia Pankhurst (1882-1960): there’s a Tate essay here and I suspect a very good article in Apollo (but I’m just waiting for a password reset! Very worth signing up to their 4 free articles a month – but don’t forget your password!)


Edna Clarke Hall (1879-1979)

Edna Clarke Hall: Poem Picture

So very difficult to find out much about Lady Edna Clarke Hall, other than a short biography on Tate/Wikipedia and an interesting Old Upminster history article.

We do learn quite a lot about her earlier life and marriage via Ida Nettleship’s letters:

which include the immortal line: “Stir up, and look the thing in the face and be a man for a time”.

There are only a few images on, more at Abbott and Holder and some on a blogspot called “the sight of morning“, it seems a V&A archive and the National Gallery of Wales archive also hold some of her work, including the Poem Pictures, unfortunately not digitalised – and I’m not sure if the Archives are open to the public yet – I’ll find out!

Edna Clarke Hall is also mentioned in Carolyn Trant’s brilliant “Voyaging Out”

in which Trant writes: “[ECH’s] work was out of kilter with the times…. All her work sprang from emotional compulsion rather than aesthetic consideration, and these merged when, inspired by Blake, she went on to make the Poem Pictures, her own handwritten verses with images, creating a more metaphysical representation of a ‘soul in chains’. The words are frank, sensually erotic and integral to the images… With so much of her work missing and the remainder now rarely exhibited it is hard to arrive at a considered judgement of her achievement.”


Ethel Walker (1861-1951)

Ethel Walker: The Young Sculptress [no date; Potteries Gallery & Museum]

112 paintings on and Alicia Foster’s essay is here

There are a number of paintings on the Christie’s website (scroll down to their Essays)

as well as interesting information on those paintings held by the Tate – where Walker’s archive and unpublished biography by Grace English is held – click on the “Catalogue Entry”, especially for example on The Zone of Love: Decoration where Mary Chamot writes:
“[The Decorations] are translations of a state of mind in terms of design, they are musical in their abstraction… no jarring note of excessive realisation is allowed to destroy the imaginative completeness of the whole.”


I’ll add to these resources as I can

– and please let me know if you discover anything and what you think of the artists’ work.

The other book we mentioned for general information on artists’ lifestyles in this period is:

and, next month (hopefully Saturday 28th August, but I’ll confirm by email) we’ll discuss the

Art & Life


Gwen John

John, Gwen; A Corner of the Artist’s Room in Paris; Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales;

Looking forward to seeing you again soon!


About TheCommonViewer

Independent Researcher: gently exploring the art and artists of early 20th century Britain (with forays elsewhere, in particular Russian Art History); the Art, Books & History Group meets monthly in Southend-on-Sea Twitter: @TheCommonViewer

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