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Darwin, Elinor Mary 'Eily', 1879-1954 (née Monsell, illustrator and engraver)



Elinor Mary Monsell was born in May 1879 in Limerick, Ireland, the eldest daughter of William Thomas Monsell (1843–1900), a magistrate and inspector of factories, and Elinor Vere, daughter of the Honorable Robert O'Brien, of Old Church, Limerick. In 1896 Elinor left Ireland for London to take up a scholarship with the Slade School of Art and became one of the illustrators who worked with W. B. Yeats whom she met in 1899. Amongst her commissions was a logo for the Abbey Theatre which appeared on theatre programmes from 1904 and the creation of a cover for Stephen Gwynn's 'The Fair Hills of Ireland', which was published in 1906. Elinor married Bernard Richard Meiron Darwin (1876-1961), writer on golf, on 31 July 1906. They had three children, Ursula Frances Elinor (1908-2010), Robert Vere 'Robin' (1910–1974) and Nicola Mary Elizabeth (1916-1976). After their marriage, Elinor continued with her illustrations and provided some for several children's books written by Bernard, the first of which, 'The Tale of Mr. Tootleoo', appeared in 1926. In keeping with several Darwin family members, Elinor became a member of the Eugenics Society. Elinor died on 2 May 1954 and is buried in St Mary the Virgin Churchyard, Downe, Kent.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:


DARWIN, Elinor Mary, 21 Aug. 1910

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.10286/1/16
Scope and Contents

Single letter from Elinor Mary Darwin to Ida Darwin dated 21 August 1910 expressing sympathy following Ida's recent accident causing injury to her hand and with news of family and domestic matters.

Dates: 21 Aug. 1910
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Illustration by Elinor 'Eily' Darwin, c.1940s

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.10403/6
Scope and Contents

Card illustrated with cartoon of four household staff identified as 'Cook, Housemaid, Parlourmaid and Tweeny' wearing angel wings and standing amongst clouds. On reverse, Ida Darwin has written "this expresses Eily's hopes for my future household!".

Dates: c.1940s