Eleanor Mary Hughes (1882-1959)

Eleanor Mary Hughes (1882-1959)

Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, the child of West Country parents, Eleanor Waymouth visited Britain initially at the turn of the Nineteenth Century. She studied art with C N Worsley (c1901-3) and attended the FORBES School of Painting for a short time.

In 1907 she came again to London from New Zealand, accompanied by her sister, to study at Frank SPENLOVE's 'Yellow Door Studio'. Prior to 1908, she drew and painted in Hampshire, Gloucestershire and Warwickshire, with a special interest in country trees. Wallace comments in the Exhibition catalogue for Women Artists in Cornwall (1996) that Hughes 'had a particularly delicate style which has been compared to that of Rennie Mackintosh'.  From 1902 she exhibited as Miss E W Waymouth (until 1912 when she exhibited as Mrs Hughes).  She was also an accomplished pianist.

From 1908 similar drawings appear in her sketchbook of Cornwall, probably signaling a recent return to the West Country. In Newlyn in 1907 she began to study under Stanhope FORBES and Elizabeth FORBES for the second time. There she met and married Robert Morson HUGHES in 1910, and together they designed and built their own home, Chyangweal, near St Buryan. Living and working in London in 1914, they returned home to St Buryan in 1915.

She and her husband were part of the inner circle of friends surrounding S J Lamorna BIRCH; this included the Harveys, the Napers, the Knights, and the Simpsons. She took up etching in late 1930s, a natural extension of her talent for drawing, but examples have been scarce until recently, when her niece has made the personal collection available. She sold up her studio in 1940 in aid of financing evacuee children. She died at her home in Lamorna in 1959.

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