Modernism, Dartington Hall and All Hallows’ Day



Dartington Hall is the seat of Modernism in South Devon and it was hugely influential to me as a child in the sixties. We regularly visited the gardens and the shops, including the Tridias toy shop, with visiting friends. Later I discovered that my father knew Marianne de Trey. they were founder members of The Devon Guild of Craftsmen when my dad owned Milton Head pottery in Brixham from 1950 -59.

I was researching the painting All Hallow’s Day which shows three Modernist women who all studied at The Slade School of Art. They were independent and talented yet under valued at a time when the democratisation of art was at its height and women artists held little currency. Their identities were ultimately defined in history by their relationships with famous men but I did find a link with Dartington Hall through Iris Tree. Her son Ivan Moffat was educated at the Hall and although it is difficult finding references to Modernist women visitors, Dartington Hall’s progressive coeducational boarding school was chosen to embed his mother’s bohemian values.

All Hallows’ Day

Iris Tree (1897-1968) Iris studied art at The Slade. She is remembered as the daughter of Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree and for cutting her hair into a bob and leaving the rest on a train. She was a poet, absurdist and actress. Her son Ivan Moffat was educated at Dartington Hall

Dora Carrington (1893-1932) Dora studied art at The Slade; she was a friend of Iris Tree. She is remembered for her love of Lytton Strachey and shooting herself when he died

Gwen John (1876-1939) Gwen John studied art at The Slade; she is remembered for neglecting her health and as the sister of Augustus John, who painted Iris Tree’s portrait

"for most of history, anonymous was a woman" – Virginia Woolf

Visit my FaceBook page ‘The Longing and the Lack’ for lost women artists of the avant-garde

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