Arthur Lett-Haines (1894 – 25 February 1978[1]), known as Lett Haines, was a British painter and sculptor who experimented in many different media, though he generally characterised himself as "an English surrealist".[2] He was part of a London artistic circle, which included D. H. Lawrence, the Sitwells and Wyndham Lewis, but for most of his life lived with the painter and gardener Cedric Morris in Cornwall, Paris and finally Suffolk.

Arthur Lett-Haines
Born2 November 1894
Paddington, London
Died25 February 1978
Resting placeFriars Road Cemetery, Hadleigh, Suffolk, England
SpouseGertrude Aimee Lincoln (married 1916 – separated 1919)
PartnerCedric Morris

Biography edit

Arthur Lett was born 2 November 1894, at 9 Walterton Road, Paddington, London, the son of Charles Lett and Frances Laura Esme Lett (who afterwards married S. Sidney Haines). He was educated at St Paul's School, London and then, planning a career in agriculture, he worked on a farm at Poslingford Hall in Clare, Suffolk.[3]

In the First World War he served in the British Army.[3] In 1916 Lett-Haines married (as his second wife; he had been left a widower whilst still a teenager)[4][5] Michigan-born Gertrude Aimee Lincoln.[a] at Hailsham, but when he met the painter Cedric Morris in 1918, the latter moved in with them and in 1919 his wife Aimee returned on her own to America.[6] Morris and Lett-Haines lived together until his death, Haines largely subordinating his own artistic career to promote that of his partner. This relationship lasted some 60 years, despite its open nature that included attachments on both sides such as Haines' affair with the artist and author Kathleen Hale.[7]

After initially living at Newlyn, they moved to Paris in 1920, becoming part of an expatriate artistic community that included Juan Gris, Fernand Léger, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Nancy Cunard and Ernest Hemingway. They returned briefly to London in 1926, before moving in 1929 to Suffolk.

Lett-Haines gravestone, near to that of Cedric Morris, at Hadleigh Cemetery, Hadleigh

In 1937, Morris and Haines founded the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing at Dedham. When it burned down in 1939, the school was relocated to Benton End, a large house near Hadleigh. Operating on a live-in basis that mingled artistic development with a social circle, its pupils included Lucian Freud, Bettina Shaw-Lawrence, David Kentish, Maggi Hambling, David Carr, Joan Warburton and Glyn Morgan. He exhibited at the Ipswich Art Club in 1942 Parmi Les Fleurs.[3]

In 1946, along with Henry Collins, Cedric Morris, John Nash and Roderic Barrett, Lett Haines became one of the founders of Colchester Art Society and later the Society's President.[8]

The school closed when Haines died in 1978, though Morris continued to live at Benton End until his death in 1984. They are buried near each other at Hadleigh Cemetery in Hadleigh.

A retrospective exhibition was held at Redfern Gallery in 1984 and a joint Morris-Haines "Teaching Art and Life" exhibition at the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery in 2002–2003.[3]

Portraits of Lett-Haines edit

A sandstone portrait sculpture exists of Lett-Haines by John Skeaping dating from 1933.[9] This work came about after the break-up of Skeaping's marriage to Barbara Hepworth, when Skeaping joined the artists' colony at Morris's house at Higham, Suffolk. A portrait of Lett-Haines by New Zealand artist Frances Hodgkins is held at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand.[10]

References edit

  1. ^ Deaths, The Times, 2 March 1978
  2. ^ "Morris: More than a minor talent", Visual art, John Russell Taylor, The Times, London, 11 December 2002
  3. ^ a b c d "Suffolk Painters". Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  4. ^ An Elusive Tradition: Art and Society in Wales, Eric Rowan and Carolyn Stewart, University of Wales Press, 2002, p. 188
  5. ^ The Sexual Perspective: Homosexuality and Art in the last 100 Years, Emmanuel Cooper, Routledge, 1986
  6. ^ Richard Morphet Cedric Morris The Tate Gallery 1984 ISBN 0-946590-06-0
  7. ^ Cooper, Emmanuel (1994), The Sexual Perspective: Homosexuality and Art in the Last 100 Years in the West, Routledge, pp. 152–5, ISBN 0-415-11101-3
  8. ^ "About Us". Colchester Art Society. Archived from the original on 10 July 2015. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  9. ^ John Skeaping 1901–1980: Retrospective Catalogue, Arthur Ackermann (1991) p.39
  10. ^ "Collections Online - Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa". Retrieved 10 April 2018.

Notes edit

  1. ^ Some online sources claim Gertrude was granddaughter of Abraham Lincoln, but she appears in none of the many comprehensive genealogies of his family, e.g. Burke's Presidential Families of the United States of America, ed. Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd, 1981: Abraham Lincoln pedigree, So can be considered untrue

Other sources edit

Bibliography edit

  • Reynolds, Gwynneth; Grace, Diana; Morphet, Richard (2002). Benton End Remembered: Cedric Morris, Arthur Lett-Haines and the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing. London: Unicorn Publishing Group. ISBN 0-906290-69-4.

External links edit