Evie Hone

(1894 - 1955)

Evie Hone was born in Dublin in 1894. A Cubist painter and stained glass artist, Hone was one of the original abstract painters in Irish Art History. She studied drawing and painting at the Byam Shaw School of Art in London before training at the Westminster School of Art under Walter Sickert. It was here, in 1920, that Hone befriended her lifelong companion and fellow artist, Mainie Jellett. After completing their studies in London, the pair travelled to Paris where they joined the studio of André Lhote. Lhote professed a subtle form of Cubism that found a middle ground between extreme abstract design and natural form. Intrigued by his semi-Cubist teachings but not entirely satisfied, Hone, and Jellett, moved to the studio of Alber Gleizes where there was nothing but complete dedication to pure abstraction. Having found what they were pursuing Hone became an avid devotee of pure abstract design, producing works with pure colour in a single plane.

Having painstakingly developed and perfectly absorbed the laws of harmony and linear form during her time at Gleizes’ studio, Hone became a forerunner of the abstract movement, gaining her widespread recognition in Ireland. Her devotion to abstraction was what inspired her to create works that so distinguished her from the work of her Irish contemporaries.

Hone is perhaps best known for her achievements in working with stained glass. From the beginning of the 1930’s her main artistic preoccupation was stained glass art, building a reputation for exciting design and outstanding technique. In 1933 she joined the studio run by Sarah Purser, which was the stained glass co-operative known as An Túr Gloine. After converting to Catholicism in 1937, Hone’s work became decidedly more religious in character. Her first commission comprised of three small panels, The Annunciation, for the window of St. Naithi’s Church in Dundrum, Co. Dublin. In 1938 Hone was commissioned by the Department of Industry and Commerce in Dublin to design a window for the Irish Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair of 1939. What she produced was perhaps her most significant piece, a large upright rectangular window depicting the four provinces of Ireland, My Four Green Fields, now located in Government Buildings.  Hone received international recognition following her design of a window in the Eton College Chapel, replacing one that had been destroyed during a German bombing raid in 1941, ranking her among the best stained glass artists of her era.

Throughout her career Hone produced over a hundred and fifty stained glass panels as well as numerous oils and watercolours. Bridging the arts and the crafts, her work consistently conveyed strong coloration, heavy symbolism and brilliant technique. In 1943 she was one of the founding members of the Irish Exhibition of Living Art.

Evie Hone passed away whilst attending mass in Rathfarnham, Dublin, in 1955.