ETHEL BLOUNT (d.1943) AND MAUDE KING (1867‐1927)
"…inspiring influence behind all that was done in the Haslemere workshops".
"The Peasant Arts Museum" by Joseph King
Ethel Blount and Maude King's parentage was described as, "on the one side from peasant folk and on the other from old aristocracy". They were the daughters of Henry George Hine, a well–known watercolour landscape painter and Vice President of the Royal Institute of Painters. Their brother, William Egerton Hine, was an art master at Harrow.
The Sisters Ethel & Maude
Ethel married Godfrey Blount in 1887. She set up the Tapestry House at Foundry Meadow with her husband and also ran a Craft School at the Hall of St. George in Haslemere where spinning and weaving was undertaken. She wrote a pamphlet called 'The Story of a Homespun Web', which was an instructional book showing how to make cloth from wool. Alice Greene was one of Ethel's students and learnt to spin and weave in Haslemere between 1909 and 1911. After initial despair over her spinning Alice writes:
"To my utter astonishment I actually began to spin, ‐ I don't suppose very
beautifully, but at any rate I span or spun or whatever the proper word is. I simply floated on clouds of rapture. It was one of the proudest moments of my life."
Extract from "The Mother and the Maiden Aunt" Edited by John E. Barham
In 1887, Maude married Joseph King. She devoted her energy to the effective organisation of the Haslemere Weaving Industry and set up the Wheel and Spindle Guild in 1894, which marked the start of the Peasant Arts Movement. In 1910, Maude founded and edited "The Vineyard", a monthly publication devoted to the literature of peasant life. It aimed to "cultivate everything that has proved essential in the real progress of man" by attracting "fine essayists, imaginative story tellers and faithful poets who will encourage this". After the First World War, "The Vineyard" changed its name to 'The Country Heart' and continued to be published until 1922.
The sisters as founders of the Peasant Arts Fellowship
Both Ethel and Maude took responsibility for many aspects of the Peasant Arts Movement but especially the roles of teaching practical textile skills. As founders of the Peasant Arts Fellowship in 1911, they established a "missionary" aspect to the Movement by sending teachers out to country schools to teach spinning, weaving and vegetable dyeing to a variety of pupils.
"Work was started in Oxford for two weeks in October, 1912, Miss Merivale being
responsible for the venture. Here the idea was to see if it would be possible to
found an industry to provide a means of livelihood for blind people. Five ladies
worked and learned as much as possible in the short time allowed, and made
many very nice lengths of cotton material also twelve yards of homespun cloth
which was shrunk."
"My first Year's Work for the Peasant Arts Fellowship" by Kate Sperling