From Frances Hodgkins to Lucy Wertheim, 3rd Jul 1930; The White Horse Hotel, E. Bergholt, Suffolk
“I am glad dear little Eve is so satisfactory. She has rare common sense behind that charm. Trust her. Now for Cedric. Thanks again dear Luce.”
Eve Disher was born in London in 1894. She studied at the Hornsey College of Art in Crouch End, London. As the First World War erupted Disher began working for the London Fire Brigade.
In 1918 she ran away from home and married the theatre critic of the Evening Standard, Maurice Wilson Disher. He was connected to the Bloomsbury Group, an association of English writers, philosophers and artists. The couple moved into a house in Gordon Square belonging to the Strachey family. Lytton Strachey was a founding member of the Bloomsbury Group who introduced Disher to the well-known writer Virginia Woolf. The marriage soon ended, forcing Disher to move in with artist Vera Cuningham. Cuningham had a great influence on Disher’s works.
Throughout this time Disher travelled extensively through South Africa and Jamaica and in the late 1920s she became involved with filmmaker Arthur Elton. Through Elton, Disher came into contact with British artists Cedric Morris and Duncan Grant. In a letter from Cedric to Arthur Lett-Haines in 1939, he wrote of Eve Disher, who had been asking him to hold portrait classes in London at Carl Thompsons’ studio.
Disher first came into contact with Frances Hodgkins during the 1920s through her good friends Morris and Lett-Haines. Hodgkins had written to Lucy Wertheim on several occasions about Eve and her work, suggesting that Wertheim should add her to her stable of ‘Young Masters’. She mentioned Disher in a letter to Lucy Wertheim, her gallerist, on July 3rd 1930: “I am glad dear little Eve is so satisfactory. She has rare common sense behind that charm. Trust her.” In 1934 Hodgkins gifted Disher a 1933 watercolour titled Ibiza (FH1287) inscribing it “To Eve from Frances Hodgkins 10.10.34”.
Disher is highly regarded for her portrait works. Her technique of using a dry brush to drag and blot gouache across the canvas became a distinguishing feature in her work. A portrait painted by Disher of J.B.S Haldane in 1936 is held at the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Disher exhibited with the Society of Women Artists, the Women’s International Art Club and the Matthiesen Gallery in London. In 1987 she held a solo exhibition at the Foyles Art Gallery in London.
– Kaitlin Stewart