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Hamnett, Nina (1890-1956)
by Scholes, Robert

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Nina Hamnett (1890 - 1956)

From the Web page of Red Flame (a site devoted to Aleister Crowley)

“Nina Hamnett was born in Tenby, South Wales on February 14th 1890. She attended the Royal School in Bath, and later studied at the Dublin School of Art, the Pelham Art School and the London School of Art. Her studies primarily revolved around portraits and landscapes. She exhibited her works at the New English Art Club, the Royal Academy and the London Group in England, as well as at the Salon d'Automne in Paris. She taught at the Westminster Technical Institute from 1917 to 1918. She was a talented artist and writer. She was immortalised in the paintings, sculptures, novels, poems and memoirs of her contemporaries in both London and Paris. Her greatest acclaim derived from her association with the artist Roger Fry. She was one of the first artists ever to get paid for their work at Fry's Omega Workshops in Fitzroy Square. She assisted in the avant-garde productions of fabrics, clothes, murals, furniture and rugs, etc. Shortly after she joined the workshop in 1913, her paintings were featured in several group exhibits of contributing Omega artists, which included such notables as Vanessa Bell, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Duncan Grant, among others. She also illustrated Osbert Sitwell's The People's Album of London Statues (1928) and Seymour Leslie's The Silent Queen (1927). In 1932 she published Laughing Torso, containing reminiscences of her bohemian life, which become a bestseller in England and America. A sequential autobiographical novel, Is She a Lady?, appeared in 1955. Hamnett lived in London and Paris most of her life. She was briefly married in 1914 to Ronald Kristian, also known as Count Edgar de Bergen. ”

She died on Sunday, December 16th 1956, from complications after falling out her apartment window and being impaled on the fence forty feet below. The great debate has always been whether or not it was a suicide attempt or merely a drunken accident. Her last words were, "Why don't they let me die?"

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