Elizabeth Rivers

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Elizabeth Rivers
Elizabeth Rivers fair use only.jpg
Elizabeth Rivers

Elizabeth Joyce Rivers (1903-1964) was an Irish-based painter, engraver and illustrator.


Born in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire in England on the 5th of August 1903[1], Rivers was educated at Goldsmiths College, London here she worked under Edmund J. Sullivan.[2] In 1926 she won a scholarship to the Royal Academy schools, where she continued her training under Walter Sickert. She moved to Paris in 1931 to continue further education in art in the school with André Lhote and Gino Severini. By 1932 she was considered part of the ‘Twenties Group´ and had exhibition work shown in the Wertheim Gallery in London.[3]

It was after that, that Rivers moved to live in the Aran Islands in Ireland. Her first book This Man published by The Guyon House Press in 1939 was written while she was in Aran.[2] She also wrote a book entitled Stranger in Aran published in 1946. She had exhibitions at the Royal Hibernian Academy. A portfolio of her wood engravings was published by the Waddington Galleries. Except for a short period during the Second World War and in 1955 Rivers lived in Ireland where she also worked with Evie Hone for designs for stained glass. During the Second World War she lived in London and worked as a fire warden during the blitz.[2] She also held exhibitions in the New English Art Club and the Royal Academy.[3]

While she was living in the west of Ireland she became friends with The White Stag group founder Basil Rakoczi. He commented in a letter in 1942 about her:

"Miss Rivers. Her book ‘This Man’ is certainly her best work. [...] the strange thing is her ability to draw male nudes—I have never known a woman draw the male body well before ... She ... is awfully interesting though very reserved ... I really think she is a genius mislaid."[4]

Elizabeth Rivers died in the 20th of July 1964 in her home in Dalkey Co.Dublin.[5] She is buried in St. Maelruain's Church, Tallaght.[6]


She created illustrations for other people's books[2] such as:


  1. ^ Snoddy, Theo (2002). Dictionary of Irish Artists 20th Century Second Edition. Dublin: Merlin Publishing. p. 564. ISBN 1-903582-17-2.
  2. ^ a b c d "A Rare Treasure: This Man by Elizabeth Rivers".
  3. ^ a b "Crawford Art Gallery Permanent Collection".
  4. ^ S B Kennedy, former Keeper of Art at the Ulster Museum. The White Stag Group.
  5. ^ 1922-, Snoddy, Theo, (2002). Dictionary of Irish artists : 20th century (2nd ed.). Dublin: Merlin. ISBN 1903582172. OCLC 50624017.
  6. ^ "South Dublin Libraries".