20th Century British Art
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Clare Winsten (1894 - 1989)

Clare Winsten (née Clara Birnberg) emigrated from Romania to

England in 1902, where she trained at The Slade School of Fine

Art (1910–12). Gaining recognition within the circle of Jewish

painters emerging at the time, she was the only female member

of the so-called Whitechapel Boys. As a portraitist, she made

drawings of numerous eminent figures, including George Bernard

Shaw, Benjamin Britten and Mahatma Gandhi. She also illustrated

several books, such as Shaw’s Buoyant Billions: A Comedy of No

Manners in Prose, published in 1949.


Winsten joined the Women’s Freedom League and became

active in women’s suffrage soon after leaving the Slade. A female

artist and pacifist working during a particularly turbulent time

in English history, her work came to reflect the notional gulf

between the forward movement of emerging modernist art and the

traditionalism at the heart of the war effort and society at the time.

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