ROPE, Margaret Edith

1891 - 1988

Margaret Edith Aldrich Rope

Margaret Edith Rope was born at Leiston, Suffolk on 29 July 1891, and baptised at St Margaret's Church, Leiston, on 25 August 1891, fifth child of Arthur Mingay Rope (30 November 1850-17 February 1946), and his wife Agnes Maud Aldrich (27 March 1855-1 December 1943), youngest daughter of Revd William Wogan Aldrich (1800-1864), who married at Wickham Market, Suffolk on 16 September 1882. Born into a Suffolk farming family at Leiston, Margaret Edith Rope found herself among artistic relatives at Leiston and Blaxhall, Suffolk. Her uncle, artist George Thomas Rope, her aunt, sculptor Ellen Mary Rope, and her sister Dorothy Rope was also a sculptor. In the family, her nickname was 'Tor', for tortoise and she was later to use a tortoise to sign some of her windows. Educated by an aunt and later at Wimbledon High School, she studied at Chelsea School of Art and at L.C.C. Central School of Arts & Crafts, where she specialised in stained glass under Karl Bergemann Parsons (1884-1934) and Alfred John Drury (1868-1940). From about 1911, 'Tor' commenced working at the Glass House in Fulham with her cousin Margaret Agnes Rope and one commission they worked on together is believed to have been the Rope family memorial window for Blaxhall church. During the First World War, 'Tor' was involved in the Women's Land Army, returning to the Glass House, working with ‘Marga’ also working on independent commissions such as Clippesby, Norfolk (c.1919), where her skills at portraying children are first visible as is her interpretation of the Arts and Crafts style. To distinguish herself from her namesake cousin, she used the professional name of M. E. Aldrich Rope, incorporating her mother's maiden name, or M. E. A. Rope. Together with Manchester architect John Harold Gibbons (1878-1957) led to her first major commission for St Chad's, Far Headingley, Leeds, the resulting large window above the altar, 'The Creation', which remains one of her finest works. Around 1926 as 'a stained-glass artist' she moved to 61 Deodar Road, Putney where she was living with her sister Helen (7 July 1900-1941), but during World War II, she moved to 81 Deodar Road which was bombed after which she moved to Storrington, Sussex. After the war she returned to Deodar Road but at No. 89, where she had a studio, workshop & kiln which was also used by Rachel de Montmorency (1891-1961). During this period, she completed several windows for the Carmelite monastery at Quidenham, Norfolk, which were designed by her sister ‘Marga’. In 1978 she returned to live on the family farm in Suffolk and Margaret Edith Rope died at St Mary's House, Farsham Street, Bungay, Suffolk on 9 March 1988, aged 96, after suffering a protracted period of Alzheimer's disease, she was unmarried.

Works by This Artist