Ethel Sands was a British artist of American origin. Born in Rhode Island in 1873, Sands and her family relocated to England just a year after her birth. Originally intended as the destination of a brief visit, London proved to be the perfect base for exploring the sights of continental Europe. In 1894 Sands began her artistic education at the Académie Carrière in Pairs. The early stages of her career are marked by an emphasis on intimate still life and interior studies, most often produced with a vibrant colour palette and distinctive brush style. Sands first participated in an exhibition held at the Salon d’Automne, Paris in 1904. In 1907, Sands was invited to join the Fitzroy Street Group (which would later merge with the Camden Town Group) in London. She continued to show in Paris, with her first solo exhibition reportedly held there in 1911, but became increasingly popular in England, participating in several important English Post-Impressionist exhibitions held by the New English Art Club in the following years. However, France would continue to be an important influence on the artist’s life and work.
In 1920 Sands purchased the Château d’Auppegard, which served as a rich source of inspiration for the artist’s interior paintings. She was involved in setting up the London Group in the early 1920s, and continued to exhibit with the group throughout the 1930s. Sands was also closely affiliated with the Bloomsbury Group of artists and intellectuals, hosting and nurturing many culturally important figures in the houses she kept in both London, Oxford and Diemme, France. The artist’s instinct to support and nurture those around her was not exclusive to the intellectuals of her glamorous social circle in London. During the First World War Sands had taken it upon herself to nurse wounded soldiers in France, a practice which she continued during the Second World War in London. She continued to paint late in to her career. The artist died in 1962. Her work can be seen today in the collections of the Tate, London and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.