Friday, 12 August 2011

Elsie Garrett Rice - Printmaker

Back from my trip into the applied art of the British Arts and Crafts movement to more familiar ground - woodblock prints and printmakers.

This print is a recent purchase at a popular antiques market on the south west corner of London. I spotted this leaning against the side of a van turning to Candice I enquire "what do you think, like it?" eerrr well its faded, look like its foggy !! Well it is titled "Misty Morning" -- so turning to the seller "what der yer know about it mate" - "well, its signed, chinese I think" (she may have meant japanese) -- "but its signed Janet Rice!" -- after a bit more negotiations I paid a price and was happy with my purchase, except - who was the artist?



Before you correct me, I could see it was actually signed E Garrett Rice, who is listed as Mrs E Garrett Rice of Coventry and who exhibited in the 1920's including 3 works at the Royal Society of Artists, Birmingham and 6 works at the Walker Gallery, Liverpool. What else can we find ??

I think I have found a possible - Elsie Garret Rice (1869-1959), she was listed in the 1891 census as an artist living as a visitor in Epsom, Surrey. She had studied at the Slade School of Art, London before teaching at Bedales. She and her twin brother had been born in Elton, Derbyshire and she went to school in West Bromwich. In 1901 she is recorded as living Hampstead and later in South Africa where she illustrated "Wild Flowers of the Cape of Good Hope" written by Robert Harold Compton.

Luckily I was able to find a photo of the front cover of the book which was illustrated and more importantly signed by Elsie. See right - confirmation that I have found the correct artist. Some of the illustrations from this book were reproduced by the Medici Society as a series of postcards - "Medici Wild Flower Series (South Africa) c1954
And a photograph of her in later life. 

Annex Galleries have another woodcut titled "Woodloes Manor" for sale. That one is dated 1931, signed in pencil but without an edition size. Woodloes House is in Warwickshire and shown in the photo below.


She also wrote articles on art education including one titled "Child Artist. By Mrs. E. Garrett Rice" found in an 1902 edition of the "Parent's Review - A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture"

More information has arrived - courtesy of her grandchildren. She also illustrated the field guide "Common Succulents" by Harry Hall (1906-86) published by Longman in 1953. She spent her later years in South Africa.

Internet references;
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=27237481

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