Literature: Sarah MacDougal, Whitchapel Girl, chapter 7 of Whitchapel At War: Isaac Rosenberg & His Circle, Ben Uri Gallery.
The artist’s daughter Theodora, recalls, my parents first met George Bernard Shaw in 1925 and then again in the 1940s. This friendship also led to a remarkable series of drawings and paintings.
As humanists, pacifists and vegetarians, the Winstens were natural allies of the polemicist and playright George Bernard Shaw. ….Over a decade (1946-1956) Steven Winsten produced five books on Shaw, ranging from biography to reminiscences, which have led to accusations that he ‘fashioned a career our being Shaw’s neighbour’. However, Shaw certainly enjoyed the Winstens company and, though he sat to many artists, he also sat for at least three – probably more – portraits to Clare Winsten. She also executed at least one bust of him, cast in an addition of three. One of her drawings of him is in the British Museum (1946).
Sarah MacDougal, Whitchapel Girl, chapter 7 of Whitchapel At War: Isaac Rosenberg & His Circle, Ben Uri Gallery, p 113-114
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Clare Winsten (n e 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.