Nina Hamnett Papers, 1914-1953

Overview of the Collection

Hamnett, Nina, 1890-1956
Nina Hamnett Papers
1914-1953 (inclusive)
.25 Linear feet of shelf space, (1 Box + Oversize)
Collection Number
Cage 534
Incoming correspondence to artist Nina Hamnett, along with some of her drawings. Correspondents include Clive Bell, Sacheverell Sitwell, Nancy Cunard, Alan Odle, and others.
Washington State University Libraries' Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC)
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Terrell Library Suite 12
Pullman, WA
Telephone: 509-335-6691
Access Restrictions

This collection is open and available for research use.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Nina Hamnett was born February 14, 1890 in Tenby, South Wales. She attended the Royal School in Bath, and then studied at the Dublin School of Art, the Pelham Art School and the London School of Art. Primarily a portrait and landscape painter, Hamnett exhibited at the New English Art Club, the Royal Academy and the London Group in England, and at the Salon d'Automne in Paris. She taught at the Westminster Technical Institute from 1917 to 1918.

A distinguished artist for nearly forty years, Hamnett derived her greatest acclaim from her association with Bloomsbury artist Roger Fry during the first three decades of the twentieth century. One of the first artists to get paid for work at Fry's Omega Workshops in Fitzroy Square, Hamnett assisted in the avant-garde productions of fabrics, clothes, murals, furniture, rugs, etc. Shortly after she joined the workshop in 1913, her paintings were featured in several group exhibits of contributing Omega artists, which included Vanessa Bell, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Duncan Grant, among others. She also illustrated The People's Album of London Statues (1928) by Osbert Sitwell and The Silent Queen (1927) by Seymour Leslie.

In 1932 she published Laughing Torso, reminiscences of her bohemian life, which become a bestseller in England and America. She published Is She a Lady?, a sequential autobiographical account, in 1955.

Hamnett lived in London and Paris most of her life. She was briefly married in 1914 to Roald Kristian, also known as Count Edgar de Bergen. She died December 16, 1956.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The papers of Nina Hamnett consist of correspondence (incoming) and drawings. The correspondence consists of letters and postcards written to Hamnett by various friends and associates. Correspondents include: Nancy Cunard, Clive Bell, Sacheverell Sitwell, Alan Odle (whose letters are signed with pseudonyms), Elsie Rieti, Vittorio Rieti, Marcel Herrand, Charles Duff, Laura Knight, Tommy Earp, and others. Also included is a typed transcript of Nancy Cunard’s poem Saturday Night in Golden Lion (For Nina Hamnett), signed by the author. The drawings are inscribed and signed by Hamnett.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions apply.

Preferred Citation

[Item Description]

Nina Hamnett Papers, 1914-1953 (Cage 534)

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


The correspondence is arranged chronologically.

Location of Collection

(MASC STAFF USE) Folder 3: map case.

Acquisition Information

The Washington State University Libraries purchased this collection from a New York boookseller, Glenn Horowitz, in 1986 (MS.1986.58).

Related Materials

Additional Sitwell manuscript materials are available in MASC in several different collections, including:

Thomas Balston Papers of the Sitwells, 1924-1960 (Cage 9)

Siegfried Sassoon Papers of the Sitwells, 1918-1957 (Cage 165)

Edith, Osbert, and Sacheverell Sitwell Papers, 1917-1972 (Cage 531)

Stephen Tennant Papers, 1929-1977 (Cage 643)

Ada Leverson Letters from the Sitwells, circa 1920-1935 (Cage 4669)

Stephen Tennant Papers, 1945-1953 (Cage 4722)

Edith Sitwell Correspondence, 1922-1964 (Cage 4793)

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1 Correspondence 1914-1953
1 2 Correspondence undated
O.S. 3 Correspondence (oversized items) undated
1 4 Drawings undated

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Artists -- England -- Correspondence
  • Authors, English -- 20th century -- Correspondence
  • Bloomsbury group

Personal Names

  • Hamnett, Nina, 1890-1956 -- Archives (creator)

Other Creators

  • Personal Names
    • Bell, Clive, 1881-1964 (creator)
    • Cunard, Nancy, 1896-1965 (creator)
    • Sitwell, Sacheverell, 1897-1988 (creator)