LETT HAINES, Arthur

1894 - 1978

Arthur Lett Haines

Born Arthur Lett and known as Lett Haines, he was born at 9 Walterton Road, Paddington, London on 2 November 1894, his mother Frances Laura Esme Lett (1871-1959) divorced Charles Lett in 1898. In 1901 a 5[sic] year old living at Walterton Road with 29 year old Arthur Haines, a baker, and his wife 30 year old Frances with his two siblings, Frances M. 4 and Sidney C. 3. Educated at St Paul's School and initially intended for a farming occupation as in 1911, a 16 year old farm pupil on the farm of Henry Charles Frank at Poslingford Hall, Clare, Suffolk. During the First World War he served in the British Army and after the war Arthur involved himself with the artistic set which included E. McKnight Kauffer, John Middleton Murry, the Sitwells, Wyndham Lewis, Katharine Mansfield and D. H. Lawrence about which time he hyphenated his name to Lett-Haines. In 1916 Lett-Haines married at Hailsham, Sussex, Gertrude Aimee Lincoln, but in 1918 after he met painter Cedric Morris [q.v.], who moved in with them, the following year his wife Aimee, departed for America when Morris and Lett-Haines, although a stormy partnership, lived together as lovers for some sixty years. A British painter and sculptor who experimented in many different media, though he generally characterised himself as ‘an English surrealist’. After initially living at Newlyn, in 1920 they moved to Paris becoming part of an expatriate artistic community that included Juan Gris, Fernard Léger, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Nancy Cunard and Ernest Hemingway. They briefly returned to London in 1926, before moving to Suffolk in 1929. Lett-Haines largely subordinating his own artistic career to promote that of his partner Cedric, despite its open nature that included attachments on both sides such as Lett-Haines's affair with the artist and author Kathleen Hale (1898-2000). In 1937 Morris and Lett-Haines founded the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing at Dedham, Essex and when it burned down in 1939, the school was relocated to Benton End, a mansion near Hadleigh, Suffolk leaving the running to Haines. Like his friend John Middleton Murry (1889-1957), Haines gave his students freedom to develop along independent lines and Haines himself was a less consistent painter than Morris and his work had a strong linear element. Operating on a live-in basis that mingled artistic development with a social circle, its pupils included Lucian Freud, Bettina Shaw-Lawrence, David Kentish, Maggi Hambling, David Carr, Joan Warburton and Glyn Morgan. The school closed when Haines died on 25 February 1978, although Morris continued to live at Benton End until his death in 1984. He exhibited at the Ipswich Art Club in 1942 'Parmi Les Fleurs' and a retrospective exhibition was held at Redfern Gallery in 1984 and a joint Morris-Haines 'Teaching Art and Life' exhibition at the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery 2002-2003.




Works by This Painter