Artist Detail

Eileen Alice Soper (England 1905-1990)


Painter and Etcher. Born in Enfield,

Daughter of the artist George SOPER.

Exhibited at the R.A., R.S.A.

Lived at Welwyn in Hertfordshire.

Eileen was born in 1905 and in 1920 at age 15 she exhibited a selection of her work at the “Printmakers Society of California”. At the age of 20 she received royal patronage, with Queen Mary buying one of her impressions. She added to her output by writing and illustrating 23 books. By the 1930’s she had moved away from etchings. The majority of her works deal with the subject of children at play, others deal with more sensitive subjects such as the solitary child. Her work was praised for its economy of line, simple but effective composition and technical qualities. She is well listed in Davenport’s art guide among others. There is also a reference book, The Catalogue of George (her father) & Eileen Soper – Published by Chris Beetles Limited (1995). Eileen died in 1990.


She was the daughter of George Soper, a well-known artist whose speciality was horses. With his encouragement she exhibited at age 15. Her specialities were wild animals (esp. badgers) and children. Apparently when she saw children playing she used to stop and ask if she could draw them, and they used to pose for her. Imagine the verbal abuse and volleys of stones an artist would get today if she attempted to draw children at play today.


George Soper was obsessive about germs, and, as they grew older Eileen and her sister became obsessed with the idea that the Dread Disease (i.e. cancer) could be caught from coughs and sneezes. They became recluses. Servants and gardeners who retired or died were not replaced in case the newcomers imported the Dread Disease, and their 4-acre garden became a wild, overgrown nature reserve. Provisions were ordered by telephone and delivered to the garden gate so that they did not have to meet shop-keepers. Both sisters lived to be over 90 and died within a few months of each other.

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Tragedy Tragedy

Beetles 31


A fine impression with plate tone.

Signed in pencil.

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