BLAKE, Betsy

1910 - 1995

As Muriel Betsy Ellen Blake, she was born in West London, on 26 September 1910, second child of Frank Blake, an engineer, and his wife Beatrice née Owen. In 1911 she was a baby living at 382 Uxbridge Road West, Hammersmith, London with her parents, 26 year old Frank and 24 year old Beatrice, and her elder sister Winifred Amy, known as Peggy, aged 1. Her father Frank died when Betsy was just 6 years old, after which the family struggled financially. Betsy studied at Godolphin School on a scholarship, as did her two sisters Peggy and Daphne, where her painting and music making were encouraged. At the age of 15 she went on to Goldsmiths' College, where she met her future husband Ewan Phillips, proceeding to the Royal College of Art where she spent five years, with John Nash as one of her tutors. She married at Kensington, London in 1936, Ewan Maurice Godfrey Phillips, when John Nash lent the young couple his cottage near Bures, Suffolk for their honeymoon. In the mid 1930s, the couple travelled through France and Spain, on foot and with backpacks, and their son Daryl was born in 1938. In 1937 she exhibited with the London Group at New Burlington Galleries in London and on the outbreak of the Second World War, Ewan enlisted, when Betsy settled for a while at Assington Hall, Suffolk, where John and Janet Platts Mills had established a sort of commune, and where Betsy and Ewan's daughter Tessa was born in 1943. However, in 1944, Betsy moved to Marsh Farm, Thorington, Suffolk where second daughter Tabitha, was born in 1946. Many of Betsy's most recognisable painting are of the Suffolk landscape and the work of the countryside. Muriel Betsy Ellen Phillips died at Tunbridge Wells, Kent on 1 June 1995.

Works by This Artist