Queen of Fitzrovia – a talk about Nina Hamnett given by David Dando

(c) University of Leeds Art Collection and Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
NINA HAMNETT by Roger Fry (c) University of Leeds Art Collection and Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

The Queen of Fitzrovia

Our October  talk – the first of the season- given by retired lecturer David Dando was very well received . His interest in Nina Hamnett was sparked 8 years ago after moving to Pembrokeshire and noticing a plaque on a house on Lexden Terrace in Tenby.  It commemorated  her birth in 1890  and early life in her grandmother’s house. She never returned to Tenby after being sent away to school under a cloud.  From then on the relationship between her  and her family broke down.

She went to Art School in London and soon became integrated into the Bohemian life of the artistic and literary set moving easily between Paris and London.  She became friends with many illustrious people of the time, spending her time paining portraits of lesser characters, posing as a model for the likes of Modigliani, Sickert etc, acting as a popular hostess in the Cafe La Rotonde and La Dome in Paris and later working with the Bloomsbury set making dresses, candle sticks ,Furniture etc for the Omega workshops.

Sadly she  never became well known for her painting, her only marriage ended sadly and her love of alcohol began to dominate her life- Her later years were spent in poverty, frequently needing handouts from her friends to keep going.  She died at 66 after hurling herself out of her flat’s window onto railings 40 ft below.

Report by Annie Weaver

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