Isabel by Jacob Epstein 1933

ISABEL - Ferens Gallery, Hull


Photographed this fine bronze – probably in contravention of the rules – when I last visited Hull.
Got home and wondered who she was. Tried the net. So easy! Born in London in 1912, the daughter of a ships captain, and brought up in Liverpool where she became a student at Liverpool College of Art and won a scholarship to the Royal Academy. There she met Jacob Epstein, and spent two years in his studios. Though he was married they had a boy – Jackie – who she left with Jacob and his wife when she went to Paris.
There she had a successful first show of her paintings in 1934, and was painted by Picasso.
She visited Spain in the Civil War with her first husband, Sefton Delmer foriegn correspondent with the Daily Express. Subsequntly became involved with Alberto Giacometti.
She returned to UK during the war and worked with the Black Propaganda group which was set up by husband Sefton to promulgate pornographic propaganda to enemy troops, suggesting what might be happening to their wives and girls back home in Germany. Ultimately this rather ugly line of work led to Isabel and Sefton splitting up, just before the end of the war.
She subsequently met and developed friendships with Francis Bacon, Ian Fleming, Dylan Thomas, Jean Paul Satre and Eduado Paolozzi.
In 1947 she met and married the composer Constant Lambert in France and returned to England where she mixed with the Sitwells, Lucien Freud, Margot Fonteyn and composer Alan Rawsthorne. As well as painting (exhibitions at the ICA and British Council) she became designer for the Royal Ballet, Covent Garden and Sadlers Wells.
Her second husband died in 1951 and Isabel returned to Paris, soon returning with Alan Rawsthorne to settle in Essex, where they lived until his death in 1971. Isabel continued to live in the Essex cottage in all for 40 years, until her death in 1992. Both are buried in Thaxted churchyard. Her later paintings reflect her growing interest in environmental issues, inspired by the work of Rachel Carson, her best known being a series called Migrations, painted in the 1970s.
Wow – what a life.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in my travels and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Isabel by Jacob Epstein 1933

  1. fred says:

    Oooh… you shouldn’t take photos in art galleries – it sucks photons out of paintings and sculptures making them smaller – and if everyone did it there’d be nothing left to look at! What was her surname?

  2. Pingback: Eco-Schools Staff Reunion in Bristol | Roundhillrob's Blog

  3. alan triffitt says:

    Living in Hull I’ve seen this sculpture many times, it is beautiful. Thanks for the background on Isabel and your right what a life

  4. Pingback: Visiting Burton Agnes Hall in the East Riding of Yorkshire | Roundhillrob's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s