ELMHIRST, Sheila

1920 - 1987

As Sheila Dimond, she was born at Eastbourne, Sussex on 24 August 1920, second daughter of the two children of Bernard Dimond or Di Mond, and his wife Dulcie M. née Parker, who married at Sedgefield, Durham in 1918. Educated at Normanhurst Court, Battle, Sussex and studied at the Slade School of Fine Art 1936-1939 under Randolph Schwabe (1885-1948), and at the London Polytechnic. She married at Chelsea in 1942, Edward Mars Elmhirst (1915-1957) who had dropped his name from Elmhirst-Baxter by public advertisement in 1939. Her husband was a noted surgeon in London before taking a position as surgical registrar at the East Suffolk and Ipswich Hospital from 1952. Failing to obtain a consultant post at home, in 1956 Edward migrated to Bermuda where he died on 1 August 1957 aged 41, survived by Sheila and five children, two of whom, Gurl and Peregrine, were born in Ipswich. Sheila was a painter and illustrator and exhibited at the Royal Academy, Society of Women Artists and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. Her husband collected Tudor portraits, and was sufficiently well-known for his researches in heraldry to be offered a position as herald-extraordinary at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. He was also a keen entomologist, and while at Ipswich studied the effects of irradiation on the genetics of the cabbage-white butterfly. Sheila lived at Trophy House, Grimwade Street, Ipswich and died at Ipswich in 1987. There is an engraving by Elmhirst in Wangford church, Suffolk which depicts a lady sewing and a little girl working at embroidery to the memory of Barbara, Countess of Stradbroke (1901-1977).