Ruth Everard Haden (1904 - 1992)

oil on canvas, 76 x 61cm

signed bottom right ‘Ruth Everard Haden’ and inscribed with the title on the reverse

Ruth Everard was the daughter of Bertha Everard, who together with Bertha’s other daughter Rosamund and Bertha’s sister Edith King made up the remarkably creative family of women painters who lived in the eastern Transvaal (now Mpumalanga) in the first half of the twentieth century.

Ruth first studied art in Cape Town in the early 1920s and moved to London in 1922 where her fiercely independent spirit was incompatible with the dogmatic manner of her teacher Henry Tonks. In the winter of 1923 she decided instead to enroll at an art school in Paris. For the next three years she worked in various studios and travelled for extended periods with her family in Europe and Britain. In 1929 she married Denholm Haden and the couple settled on the family farm Bonnefoi where her husband farmed and Ruth continued painting. In this period she concentrated on landscapes but also occasionally painted portraits and still lifes.

The sitter Barbara was the wife of Rodney Bridges, a geologist who was a close family friend and who had earlier pursued Rosamund Everard. He acquired a number of large works by Bertha and often stayed at Bonnefoi where this work was painted.

This work is illustrated in the family history: Frieda Harmsen, The women of Bonnefoi, Pretoria, 1980 (fig 154 and inventory no 154). See also the exhibition catalogue The Everard phenomenon, Johannesburg, 2000.

© 2005 Michael Stevenson. All rights reserved.