Thelma Hulbert - the woman who lends her name to Honiton art gallery

Artist Thelma Hulbert reading at her home in Holland Park, London, October 1962

Artist Thelma Hulbert reading at her home in Holland Park, London, October 1962 - Credit: Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Getty Images

Margaret Lewis, curator of Allhallows Museum, writes for the Herald.

Margaret Lewis (outside the Honiton Museum) is keen for the building to host the town's new TIC. mhh

Margaret Lewis (outside the Honiton Museum) is keen for the building to host the town's new TIC. mhh 25-16TI 2287. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Thelma Hulbert was born on November 10.1912, at 60 Falkland Road, Durley Park, Bath and baptised at Holy Trinity Bath on March 12, 1914.

She was the only child of daughter of Richard John Harris Hulbert (mason/bricklayer) and his wife Ethel Eliza.

Thelma attended the Walcot Girls School, and her first public appearance was in a pageant held there in 1926.

She was the principal dancer and performed variety of dances from around the world - Hawaiian, Dutch, Spanish, Grecian, Eastern and Cossack.

For several years she performed regularly at carnivals, cabarets, fetes, and revues in and around Bath.

She became a pupil at the Bath Municipal Technical College School of Art and was commended for figure composition, brush drawing and design.

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Thelma continued dancing. In 1932 at Bath Corporation Electricity Department Sports Club her performance of a flame dance was described as ‘weird gyrations’.

By the following year, Thelma was running her own dance school and her pupils performed tango spectaculars in Bath, Chippenham, and Bristol.

Thelma moved to London and tried to earn a living by painting flowers on china and giving ballroom dancing lessons and then became a model and a secretary.

Thelma shared a flat with Marjorie Few the pianist. Thelma became part of the Euston Road School of painters together with Victor Pasmore, William Coldstream and Claude Rogers.

After the war Thelma Hulbert taught at Camden School for Girls and rented a studio in Holland Park where she continued to paint.

She taught at the Central School of Arts and Crafts until she retired. She travelled to Ireland, France, Italy Switzerland South Africa, and New York.

Thelma’s most prestigious exhibition was one-woman show at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London in 1962.

The subjects of her paintings were still life, domestic interiors, and landscapes.

Thelma participated in twenty three exhibitions, eight of which were solo shows during her lifetime.

She moved to Elmfield House, Honiton (now the Thelma Hulbert Gallery) a Grade-II listed, Georgian town house in 1984 and she continued to draw and paint until she died of pulmonary fibrosis on 17 February 1995.

The Thelma Hulbert Gallery in Honiton.

The Thelma Hulbert Gallery in Honiton. - Credit: Archant

She left an estate to the value of £167,700. The Tate Gallery have acquired two of Thelma Hulbert’s works for their collection.