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. Esther Grainger


"Mountainside Patterns",
watercolour on paper

"Cardiff Offices",
pencil on paper

"Canal Lock at Newport",
watercolour on paper

(in private collections)

Esther Grainger was born on 12th November 1912 in Cardiff; she died there on 21st December 1990. Esther was educated at Howell's School Cardiff, and thereafter trained in c.1930-34 at the Cardiff School of Art. She was closely associated with Heinz Koppel and Charles Burton and both their families, a friendship that lasted well into the next generation. She was also closely associated with Cedric Morris at Benton End; another member of this group was Glyn Morgan who too remained a life-long friend. Influences: William Pickles, Cardiff and Cedric Morris, Benton End, Suffolk.

Esther Grainger was deeply involved with life in the South Wales valleys. She taught art and handicrafts in clubs for unemployed men and women and organised art lectures in practical painting classes in conjunction with various educational institutions. Later, as Principal Lecturer at Cardiff's College of Education, she taught drawing (her most favoured discipline), painting and embroidery. Her collages and embroidered applique wallhangings were particularly attractive and became major works of art. Although primarily engaged in water colour painting (landscapes) and pencil drawing (architectural sites), she also engaged in landscapes and portraits in oil. For some reason, however, she discontinued painting in oil in the early 1950s.

It was at the Pontypridd & Dowlais settlements of the Welsh Music & Arts Clubs in the 1940s that Esther first met Cedric Morris who invited her to visit Benton End, the East Anglian School of Painting, which he ran with the painter Lett Haines. They became Esther's lifelong friends, and it was from Cedric Morris that she learned to use oils, resulting in large canvases of thick impasto, strong landscapes and portraits. Her last exhibition took place in 1990 , an exhibition of watercolours called "A Pontcanna Flora", shown in the small Manor Gallery in Canton, Cardiff. The exhibition was a sell-out.

Commissions: 1944/45 founder member of the Pontypridd & Dowlais Settlement; 1945/6 founder member & secretary of the Federation of Welsh Music & Art Clubs; 1950 secretary of the Eisteddfod Arts & Crafts Commission.

Public Collections: Welsh Arts Council, Merthyr Tydfil Museum & Art Gallery, Breconshire Education Authority, Bristol Education Authority, Carlisle Education Authority, Cardiff Education Authority, Denbighshire Education Authority, Derbyshire Education Authority, East Riding of York Education Authority, East Sussex Education Authority, Glamorganshire Education Authority, Hertford Education Authority, Lancashir Education Authority, Merthyr Tydfil Education Authority, Northumberland Education Authority, Barry College of Education, Caerleon College of Education, Grammar School Cardiff, Long Medow School Birmingham, Cathays High School Cardiff, Grange Town School Cardiff.

Principal dealer: Martin Tinney Gallery Cardiff.

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