Twentieth century artist Doris Hatt (1890-1969) was a woman ahead of her time. She was a feminist and socialist, and a pioneer of modernism in Britain, but her life and work have been under-appreciated until the last few years.
Doris Hatt was born in Bath, but after World War I she moved to Clevedon with her mother, where they established their home, Littlemead. When her mother died in 1929 Doris’s partner Margery Mack Smith, a school teacher and weaver, came to live with Doris, beginning a 40 year commitment to each other. In 1938 a legacy enabled Doris to design a new home in the form of a starkly modern house in the international Bauhaus style, and this still stands today. By this time Doris and Margery had joined the Communist Party and Littlemead became a meeting place for radical and intellectual activity in art and politics.
Doris exhibited her vibrant paintings for almost 50 years, beginning in the 1920s. Her painting style developed over time as she absorbed the major influences of modernism, including cubism, purism and abstraction, but her work – as was also the case for many other women artists of the time – was overlooked by the art-historical surveys of the time.
Recent years have seen a reappraisal and celebration of her courageous life and art – full of spirit, commitment and individuality.