Born: Established: 11 Jul 1890 South Yarra ; Died: 5 May 1947 East Melbourne
Ethel Spowers was part of a Melbourne based group of fairy illustrators during the first half of the twentieth century that included Ethel Jackson Morris, Edith Alsop, and Christian Yandell (qq.v.). Spowers met Morris through the National Gallery School where both women studied between 1911-1917. Their friendship saw them exhibit in the same Victorian Artists' Society exhibitions, publish their first major illustrated children's books in 1921 and the following year both were in London pursuing work in printmaking.
Spowers came from a wealthy Melbourne family with financial interests in the media. She had a studio above the stables at the family mansion in Toorak where she was based throughout her life. Spowers first solo exhibiton came in 1920 at the Decoration Galleries in Melbourne which showcased her fairytale illustrations. Her work was strongly influenced by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite (q.v.).
Later in her career her linocuts attracted acclaim. Distinctive for their bold use of colour, rhythmic sense of movement and humorous observation of everyday life, they marked a sharp change from her fairy illustrations. Her prints are held by the National Gallery of Australia, state galleries in Melbourne and Sydney and the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.