Elyse Ashe Lord Biography

Elyse Ashe Lord




Elyse Ashe Lord, painter and printmaker, is well-known for her works inspired by the Far East and for her unusual, multi-layered printmaking technique, which involved a combination of etching, drypoint, aquatint and woodcut. She lived her entire life in Britain and although her work shows a strong Asian influence, she never actually traveled the continent. Her inspiration instead came from Chinese literature, artwork and her own imagination. Her unique style uses fine drypoint lines and delicate, yet vibrant colors to create images that that have a serene, almost dreamlike quality. Lord also designed and hand-painted many of the frames used on her prints.

Her personal timeline, however, has not been formally examined. Conflicting accounts of her life are expertly untangled by the author of the art blog Eastern Impressions Darrel Karl, excerpted here:

"[Elyse Ashe] Lord was born Elise Müller in 1885, and not 1895 or 1900 as tends to be usually reported. Gladys Engel Lang and Kurt Lang reported that she claimed to have married at 18, but that her marriage certificate gives her age as 23 (c. 1908) (Etched in Memory: The Building and Survival of Artistic Reputation, University of North Carolina Press, 1990).  Growing hostilities between England and Germany around this time caused many people to hide their German parentage and the Langs say that Lord was no exception. [In reference to Lord's marriage to Reverend Thomas Ashe Lord and subsequent name change.

"Lord attended Heatherley’s School of Art in Chelsea, London at some point prior to the Great War. Being one of the few art colleges in Britain that focuses on portraiture, figurative painting, printmaking, and illustration, she probably learned the rudiments of printmaking there. From 1915 to at least 1921, Lord’s principle medium was painting, especially watercolors and paintings on wood panel. Her first watercolor exhibition allegedly took place in 1919. In November 1921, she had a two week exhibition of her output of the prior six years at the Brook Street Gallery in London. …Lord was elected a full member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours in 1922, and her first color prints were issued and shown by the Fine Arts Society in Bond Street, London, in the spring of 1923.

"…Lord’s early prints were either drypoints colored by hand or aquatints and evidently were self-published. At some point, however, she started to combine the technique of drypoint with woodblock color printing. Lord used the drypoint plate design in a manner similar to how the Japanese used the keyblock in multi-block color printing.  Colors would then be added by over-printing the drypoint design using colored-inked woodblocks, as shown in this unique series of progressive proofs that I acquired from Michael Campbell at Campbell Fine Art.

"At some point, the Lords moved to Thorns Boars Hill, three miles south of Oxford, in Berkshire (ceded in 1974 to Oxfordshire). …Elyse Lord would remain in the area for the rest of her life, where she was described as a reclusive and wealthy widow. It is unclear if she made any prints after WWII, and she died in Abingdon in 1971 at age 86. Lord’s estate of unsold prints and paintings was left to her last publisher, H.C. Dickins.

"During the course of her career, [Lord] would exhibit her prints and paintings in the U.K. at the Royal Academy, the Royal Cambrian Academy, the Royal Scottish Academy, the Royal Society of Artists (Birmingham), the Walker Gallery (Liverpool), the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, the Goupel Gallery, the Leferve Gallery, and the Redfern Gallery, among others.  Lord would additionally exhibit at the Paris Salon, where she won a silver medal, and with the Chicago Society of Etchers, and she was also a member of the Society of Graver-Printers in Colour."

Lord's work was represented in the United States by Arthur Ackermann & Sons, Inc., 50 East 57th Street, New York. In the 1940s she produced some now rare, abstract prints. Elyse Ashe died in 1971 in Bexley, Kent, England.

More information on Lord can be found on Karl's website
Asian Art Deco #4A: The Musician Prints of Elyse Ashe Lord, EasternImp.blogspot.com, May 20, 2017.