Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Biographies: Ethel Blount

Ethel Egerton Blount (nee Hine) born in 1864 was one of fourteen children of Henry George Hine (1811-1985) the watercolour landscape painter and Mary Ann Eliza Egerton, her mother’s maiden name of Egerton appears in most of the children’s middle names.  Ethel was born in St Pancras, London.  For the next twenty years Ethel was living in Hampstead:

  • In 1871 she is recorded on the census as living at 26 Park Road, Hampstead.
  • In 1881 the family were living at 130 Haverstock Hill, Ethel then 17 was recorded on the census as an ‘art student’. 
  • In 1891 she had married the artist Godfrey Blount and they were living together in 1 Church Row Mews, Hampstead.
The Blounts moved to Haslemere around 1896.  In 1901 they are recorded living in Foundry Cottage, Foundry Lane.  Here the Blounts produced a Peasant Tapestry range of work to advertise and promote their experimental rural idyll, this was an applique design by Godfrey Blount, that was produced by his wife Ethel. The Studio in 1908 reported ‘Mr. Godfrey Blount is largely responsible for the exquisite designs, though Mrs. Blount often suggests the harmonies in colour, and besides teaching the girls, herself weaves at the hand looms. The great difficulty at Haslemere has been that of trying to wed cheapness to beauty…’.
Applique work portiere, designed by Godfrey Blount, Executed by the Class, Haslemere, Studio International 11-13, 1898

Ethel has been linked with the Healthy and Artistic Dress Union, along with C.R.Ashbee’s wife Janet, Ethel is reported to have been a prominent member (Cumming & Kaplan, 1991).  The Union promoted the wearing of "unusually comfortable, loose-fitting clothes made of hand-woven cloth", and had connections with the suffragette movement.
from The Story of the Homespun Web

Ethel published ‘The Story of the Homespun Web: A simply Guide to Spinning and Weaving’ in 1910.  Unlike her sister Maude, her published name was ‘Mrs Godfrey Blount’, perhaps reflecting upon her husband’s reputation, but also her position as a female at the time.  This small book is ‘fully illustrated by the author’.  Whilst containing instructions on how to weave, from the initial scouring of the fleece to the final waulking, it is peppered with her opinions on the importance of weaving within the home.

In 1911 the Blounts had moved to St Cross on Weydown Road.

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