Portrait painter and draughtsman, whose natural talent for art (what she called her ability “to do certain tricks”) helped her overcome the demoralizing effects of dyslexia and to support charities. Edith Honor Betty Earl was the second daughter of the 1st Viscount Maugham, Chancellor of the Exchequer under Neville Chamberlain and brother of writer W Somerset Maugham. Although the Hon. Honor Earl’s subjects were often drawn from the top rank of society, including four generations of the British royal family and stars of stage and screen, she chose to mix with the under-privileged. In 1937 Earl became a prison visitor; during World War II she worked to employ refugee talent; she raised funds for the All-Nations Voluntary Service League; and donated the proceeds of exhibitions to such causes as the National Council for the Unmarried Mother and Child, the Actors’ Orphanage and The National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

Text source: 'Artists in Britain Since 1945' by David Buckman (Art Dictionaries Ltd, part of Sansom & Company)

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