Painter and stage designer, born in London as Isabel Nicholas. She married in succession Sefton Delmer, foreign correspondent of the Daily Express; the conductor and composer Constant Lambert; and the composer Alan Rawsthorne. She attended Liverpool School of Art, then at 18 went to the Royal Academy Schools, in 1934 going to Paris to study at L’Académie de la Grande Chaumière. She had modelled in London for the sculptor Jacob Epstein and in Paris she financed her studies by sitting for André Derain, the sculptor Giacometti and others. A striking Derain portrait of her is in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; a later portrait by Francis Bacon is in the Tate Gallery. After World War II, during which she helped Delmer with his black propaganda work at Bletchley Park, she held an exhibition at Hanover Gallery, as a result of which the choreographer Frederick Ashton invited her to design the ballet Tiresias for Covent Garden.

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

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