BLAKE, Betsy

1910 - 1995

Muriel Betsy Ellen Blake was born in West London on 26 September 1910, second child of Frank Blake, an engineer, and his wife Beatrice née Owen. In 1911, Betsy as she was known, was a newly born living at 382 Uxbridge Road West, Hammersmith, London with her parents, 26-year-old Frank and 24-year-old Beatrice, and her 1-year-old elder sister Winifred Amy, known as Peggy. 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, Betsy studied at Goldsmiths' College, where she met her future husband Ewan Phillips, proceeding to the Royal College of Art where she spent five years, when John Nash was 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 in 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 of Artists at New Burlington Galleries in London and on the outbreak of the Second World War, Ewan enlisted, when Betsy settled 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 but her marriage had ended by 1972. 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