AS AN 18-year-old art student, Eileen Harris was invited to spend six months as guest of a friend whose father held the post of Governor in what was then Palestine and under British rule. The series of superb watercolours painted by her at this time would be enough to secure for her a place in history.
Eight years later, in 1930, the brilliant watercolourist married a successful illustrator, Roland Chandler, but was left a widow in the Second World War. With a small daughter to provide for, Eileen Chandler began to make use of her talents by painting portraits, mainly of children. An article in Illustrated London News launched her on a successful career that took her to Hollywood, painting sensitive, charming watercolour portraits of the children of the stars, and many of the stars themselves. Her child subjects included Sheridan Morley, Bamber Gascoigne and Liza Minnelli.
Rather less known in her own country than in the United States and in Sweden, where her many commissions included painting portraits of the royal family, Eileen Chandler spent her childhood in north London, attended Hornsey Art School, and gained a scholarship from there to the Royal Academy School. From 1943 she was domiciled in Hampstead, but made regular and frequent visits to other parts of the world, where she was always in great demand. She moved latterly to Putney, to be nearer her family.
This versatile and delightful artist painted landscapes wherever and whenever she travelled for her portrait commissions. She was also adept at coining witty, succinct rhymes and verses whenever a situation tickled her sense of humour. She died suddenly, and peacefully, and somehow never became an old lady.
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