Nina Hamnett – a Simple Exhibition Celebrating a Complex Woman of Fitzrovia
The Fitzrovia Chapel presents a rare glimpse into the life and work of writer and artist Nina Hamnett through an intimate exhibition of rarely seen sketches. ‘Nina Hamnett — ‘Everybody was Furious’ explores this often-overlooked Welsh artist who is central to the creative and cultural legacy of Fitzrovia as well as the wider art scene. Influenced by her own writings and Fitzrovian myth, this is a simple exhibition about the work of a complex woman.
The exhibition includes a touching portrait of Nina’s niece, Rosemary Booth-Clibborn, aged 10, and a drawing which has never before been displayed in a public exhibition. The Boy, held until recently in a private collection, is signed and dedicated to the Bloomsbury-based Welsh novelist Rhys Davies.
Launched into the art world on little more than a stipend of two shillings and sixpence a week, Nina’s charisma and avant-garde style forged friendships and connections with many notable artists and thinkers. Augustus John, Modigliani, Walter Sickert, Roger Fry, Dylan Thomas, Aleister Crowley, Picasso, Lytton Strachey and members of the Omega Workshops are all included in her autobiographies. Despite creating a wide range of work and being painted by the greats, Nina’s legacy dwindled as the Bloomsbury Group increased its notoriety and presence in the public consciousness. Towards the end of her life, her circumstances declined, as did her health, and Nina died in poverty after falling 40 feet from her apartment window.
Faye Hughes, Artistic Director, the Fitzrovia Chapel, says: ‘Nina Hamnett — “Everybody was Furious” explores a fascinating life so often characterised by the work of other artists, and a talent acknowledged too late. Through her career as an artist, her role as a sitter and association with better known artists (and the social circles which connect these worlds), Nina wove a bold path through the twentieth century art world. It seems right to acknowledge her talent with this exhibition at the chapel, a building at the heart of Fitzrovia — an area she made her home for so long.’
Mark Lewis, Curator, Tenby Museum & Art Gallery, says: ‘This exhibition, focusing on her art, reveals what a talent Nina Hamnett had and will go some way to bringing her out of the darkness of notoriety and back into the light. We are thrilled to be a part of it and know that the Fitzrovia Chapel will do her proud.’