Monday, 24 April 2017

Mrs Spinks and Eleanor Brooks

Eleanor Brooks was busy bringing up a family of four children, and placed an advert for a cleaner, so that she could concentrate more on her art.

Eleanor Brooks with Mrs Spinks in her bedsit
This was in 1966 and Mrs Spinks applied for the post. Her opening words were: ‘I used to be a nanny you know. I'm broke. I just pawned my wireless.I only got ten bob and I've got to pay my rent.'

Having a soft spot for nannies Eleanor invited her in and, assuming that nannies would know how to do basic housework, Mrs Spinks was hired, more out of pity than merit.

Her housework was a disaster. When ironing clothes she would burn through the material. Plates which she stacked in a cupboard would fall onto the floor when the door was opened.

After a couple of days Eleanor decided to switch her from being a cleaner to being a model and for the next seven years she sketched and painted the ever-changing guise of Mrs Spinks.

A Portrait of Mrs Spinks was first exhibited in 1973 and has been shown on at least 25 occasions since then. It is currently in residence until 7th May at Oriel Brondanw which is at Plas Brondanw, near to Llanfrothen and Eleanor’s home.

I met with Eleanor for her to record the story of Mrs Spinks and this is what she said:

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