Elsie Garrett Rice Biography

Elsie Garrett Rice




Painter, printmaker, and teacher Elsie Garret Rice was born Elsie Garrett on April 25, 1869 at Walton on Trent, England to Mary Gray and Reverend John Fisher Garrett; she and her twin brother, John Herbert, were baptized the following year at Elton. The twins were orphaned at a young age and raised by their cousins, the sisters Millicent Fawcett, writer and politican, and Agnes Garrett, interior designer; both were British Suffragists. While living with them, Rice studied at the Slade School of Art, London, and then for a brief time in Florence, Italy. The 1891 census shows her as a "visitor" in the home of Marion Withers in Epsom, Surry and her profession as artist.

By 1895 she was advertising her services in sketching lessons in Ipswich and Felixstone, and was a member of the Ipswich Fine Art Club. She exhibited nine watercolors at St. Helen's Lodge around this time. In the late 1890s she began teaching art at Bedales public school, founded by her brother-in-law Jon Badley in Steep, Hampshire. There, she met her future husband, the headmaster Charles E. Rice. By 1901 they had one son and one daughter: Edmund Gabriel Rice and Agnes "Rosemary" Hawthorne, and were living in Hampstead

In 1933 Elsie and her husband separated. Elsie traveled to South Africa, eventually settling in Camps Bay with her daughter and son-in-law. It was there that she built a reputation for her botanical drawings and watercolors, and was commissioned to illustrate the monumental 
Wild Flowers of The Cape of Good Hope, written by Robert Harold Compton in 1951, which included over 250 color plates illustrating 453 species. Her second project was Common South African Succulents, published in 1955 when she was in her late 80s.

Elsie Garrett Rice died in Cape Town, South Africa on July 2, 1959.