SMITH, Elinor Bellingham

1906 - 1988

Elinor Bellingham Smith

Elinor Bellingham Smith was born at Southwark, London on 28 December 1906, third child and second daughter of Guy Bellingham Smith (28 April 1865-19 April 1945), obstetrician and registrar at Guy's Hospital and a noted collector of drawings and prints, and his wife Ellen née Buxton (17 September 1867-14 July 1949), who married at Lewisham, London in 1901 and in 1939 were living at 'Yarrow', Station Road, Felsted, Dunmow, Essex. Elinor, who was the niece of painter Hugh Bellingham-Smith (1866-1922), trained as a ballet dancer, but injury forced her to abandon this career after which she studied at the Slade School of Fine Art 1928–1931, one of the last pupils of Henry Tonks (1862-1937). She married on 26 December 1931, artist, (Herbert George) Rodrigo Moynihan (17 October 1910-6 November 1990), but they separated in 1957 and divorced in 1960, they had one son John Dominic Moynihan (1932-14 January 2012). Following their marriage, Elinor found herself at the centre of Moynihan's artistic coterie, latterly at Old Church Street, Chelsea, where she ‘dispensed gallons of soup and not a little whisky and supervised hilarious and crazy get-togethers’ (The Guardian, 12 Nov 1988). In 1939, Elinor was an artist, living at Monksbury, Little Hallingbury, Dunmow, Essex with her husband Rodrigo. She exhibited with the London Group of Artists from 1931 and at the Royal Academy from 1948, with her first solo exhibition at the Leicester Galleries 1948, to be followed by six more, and was one of the prizewinners in the ‘Sixty Paintings for '51’, exhibition as part of the Festival of Britain. She spent the last thirty years of her life at Boxford, near Bildeston, Suffolk, thus belongs to the great line of East Anglian landscape painters, painting a remarkable series of landscapes, conveying the bleakness and beauty of East Anglia in winter. Her paintings are sensitive and poetic, showing a sharp observation of the natural world, with which she was at one, and the atmospheric effects of the weather. Elinor Bellingham Smith died at Ipswich on 4 November 1988, aged 81. Her London exhibitions included those at the New Art Centre in 1972, the Fitzroy Gallery in 1980, and the New Grafton Gallery in 1987, and a retrospective at the Royal Academy in 1990. Her work is in many distinguished public and private collections, including the Tate Gallery, Aberdeen Municipal Gallery, Wolverhampton Municipal Gallery, Preston Municipal Gallery, Chatsworth and elsewhere.

Royal Academy Exhibits
from 155 Old Church Street, London SW 3
1948 531 The Thames from Chiswick
         545 Kingcup
         679 Willows

Works by This Artist