Guide to the Nina Hamnett Papers 1914-1953
Cage 534

Summary Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
Hamnett, Nina
Nina Hamnett Papers
Cage 534
Date [inclusive]
1.0 container.
General Physical Description note
.25 linear feet of shelf space.
Correspondence received by Hamnet, along with some drawings. Correspondants include Clive Bell, Sacheverell Sitwell, and Nancy Cunard.

Preferred Citation note

[Item Description]. Cage 534, Nina Hamnett Papers. Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

Return to Table of Contents »

Biographical/Historical note

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’s greatest acclaim derived 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.  Is She a Lady?, a sequential autobiographical account, appeared 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.

Return to Table of Contents »

Arrangement note

The papers of Nina Hamnett include Correspondence and Drawings. The correspondence series, arranged chronologically, consists of letters and postcards written to Hamnett by various friends and associates. Correspondents include: Nancy Cunard,  Clive Bell,  Sacheverell Sitwell,  Lucien de Rubempre,  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.

Return to Table of Contents »

Administrative Information

Publication Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries © 1987
Terrell Library
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open for research use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The papers of Nina Hamnett, 1890-1956, were purchased from a New York bookseller in 1986 (86-58).

Return to Table of Contents »

Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

Additional Sitwell manuscript holdings at Washington State University Libraries are included in:

Cage 9 Thomas Balston - Papers of the Sitwells, 1924-1960. This collection includes letters received from the Sitwells and manuscripts of some of their works.

Cage 165 Siegfried Sassoon - Papers of the Sitwells, 1918-1957. Contains letters, clippings, postcards and pamphlets from the Sitwells.

Cage 531 Edith, Osbert, and Sacheverell Sitwell, 1917-1972

Cage 4669 Ada Leverson - Letters from the Sitwells, ca. 1920- 1935. Letters received from the Sitwells about literary matters and mutual friends.

Cage 4793 Correspondence from Edith Sitwell to Geoffrey Singleton, 1922-1964. 25 items.

Return to Table of Contents »

Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Bloomsbury group


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

Personal Name(s)

  • Bell, Clive, 1881-1964
  • Cunard, Nancy, 1896-1965
  • Hamnett, Nina, 1890-1956 --Archives
  • Sitwell, Sacheverell, 1897-


  • Arts and Humanities
  • Literature

Return to Table of Contents »

Collection Inventory


Correspondence 1914-1953 


Correspondence undated 


Correspondence (oversized) undated