Dora de Houghton Carrington, known generally as Carrington, (March 29, 1893 – March 11, 1932) was a British painter and decorative artist, remembered in part for her association with members of the Bloomsbury Group, especially the writer Lytton Strachey.
Born in Hereford, England, she attended the all-girls' Bedford High School which emphasized art. Her parents also paid for her to attend extra lessons in drawing. She won a scholarship to the Slade School of Art in London where she met the brothers Paul and John Nash, Christopher R.W. Nevinson and Mark Gertler. All at one time or another were in love with her. Gertler in particular pursued Carrington for a number of years.
She went by her surname Carrington after her time at the Slade School of Art; it was common practice at the Slade for students to refer to each other by surname only. She was not well known as a painter during her lifetime, as she rarely exhibited and also did not sign her work. She worked for a while at the Omega Workshop.
Career and personal life
She was not a member of the Bloomsbury Group, but was peripherally associated with Bloomsbury and, more generally, with "Bohemian" attitudes, through her longtime relationship with the homosexual writer Lytton Strachey and through her occasional lesbian affairs.
Two of her documented love affairs were with Mark Gertler, who was an esteemed English painter of the period, and with the writer Gerald Brenan. She married Ralph Partridge, but lived most of her life with Strachey, who died of cancer in January 1932. Carrington shot herself fatally two months later. This followed a previous attempt to take her own life by asphyxiation from car exhaust. Partridge was able to intervene in the first suicide attempt, but could not save her from the second attempt. She simply did not want to live without Strachey, whom she loved deeply. Carrington's life with Strachey was dramatized in the 1995 film Carrington, starring Emma Thompson in the title role.
An accomplished painter of both portraits and landscape, she also worked in applied and decorative arts, painting on any type of surface she had at hand including inn signs, tiles and furniture. She also decorated pottery. Carrington designed the library at Ham Spray, the house in Ham, Wiltshire where she lived with Strachey and Partridge.
Since about 1970, critical and popular appreciation of her work has risen sharply.
- Carrington at the Internet Movie Database
- The Grove Dictionary of Art
- Farm at Watendlath (1921)
- Dora Carrington Collection at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin
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