Jennifer Lash

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Jennifer Lash
Born Jennifer Anne Mary Alleyne Lash
(1938-02-27)27 February 1938
Chichester, Sussex, England
Died 28 December 1993(1993-12-28) (aged 55)
Odstock, Wiltshire, England
Cause of death Breast cancer
Other names Jini Fiennes
Occupation Novelist, painter
Spouse(s) Mark Fiennes
(1962–1993; her death)
Children Ralph Fiennes
Joseph Fiennes
Martha Fiennes
Sophie Fiennes
Magnus Fiennes

Jennifer Anne Mary Alleyne Lash (27 February 1938 – 28 December 1993; also known as Jini Fiennes) was an English novelist and painter.[1]

In 1961, she published her first novel, The Burial, at the age of 23. Lash was widely regarded as one of the most promising young people among England's up and coming artists at the time. Upon meeting Jennifer Lash in Suffolk, Dodie Smith, who wrote The Hundred and One Dalmatians, remarked that Lash was "almost too interesting to be true".[2]

Life and career[edit]

Lash was born at Chichester, Sussex on 27 February 1938, the daughter of Joan Mary (née Moore) and Brigadier Henry Alleyne Lash,[3][4] a British colonial officer. She has English, Irish, and Scottish ancestry.[5] Lash lived in India, where her father was stationed until the age of 6. Her uncle Bill Lash was the Bishop of Bombay from 1947 to 1961. When her family returned to England, they settled down in Surrey. Raised a Roman Catholic, Lash attended boarding school at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and continued on to Farnham Art School. When she was 16 years old, her studies were cut short by family problems. She discontinued her education and moved to London where she supported herself with odd jobs to support her artistic pursuits.

In the mid 50s she met the lyric poet and gallery owner Iris Birtwistle In Churt, Surrey where they were both living. Shortly afterwards when Birtwistle moved to Walberswick, Suffolk, Lash went with her and, encouraged by Birtwistle, began work on her first novel, The Burial. Birtwistle renamed Lash Jini and also introduced her to her future husband, Mark Fiennes,[6] [7] whom she married in 1962,[8][9] the year in which her second book The Climate of Belief was published. There were 7 children of the marriage: actors Ralph Fiennes and Joseph Fiennes, film makers Martha Fiennes and Sophie Fiennes, composer Magnus Fiennes, Jacob Fiennes, a conservation manager, and a foster son, Michael Emery, an archaeologist. The family frequently relocated and lived in Suffolk, Wiltshire, Ireland and London. Lash went on to write four more novels over the next twenty years. They are: The Prism (1963), Get Down There and Die (1977), The Dust Collector (1979) and From May to October (1980).

Lash's haunting paintings were featured in several exhibitions in The Penwith Galleries in St Ives, The Halesworth Gallery and Westleton Chapel Gallery in Suffolk.

In the late 1980s Lash was diagnosed with breast cancer. While in remission from the disease, she travelled to Lourdes and Saintes Maries de la Mer in France and to Spain's sacred Santiago de Compostella. During this time she wrote her only non-fiction book, On Pilgrimage. Jennifer Lash lost her fight to cancer on 28 December 1993 at Odstock, Wiltshire, aged 55. Her final novel Blood Ties was published posthumously in 1997.


  1. ^ Sampson, Antony. "Obituary: Jini Fiennes". The Independent. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  2. ^ Kenneth, Powell (4 January 2005). "Obituary: Mark Fiennes". The Independent. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  3. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Brigadier Henry Alleyne Lash". The Peerage. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  4. ^ Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage. Kelly's Directories. 2000. p. 1488. ISBN 978-0-3335-4577-5. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Lee, Hermione (2014). Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life. Random House. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-0995-4659-7. 
  7. ^ Stanford, Peter (23 June 2006). "Obituary: I.M. Birtwistle". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "Obituary: Mark Fiennes". The Telegraph. 5 January 2005. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  9. ^ Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage. Kelly's Directories. 2000. p. 1488. ISBN 978-0-3335-4577-5. 

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