Ben Uri collection

Portrait of Siegmund Nissel

Artist information

Name Eva Aldbrook (1925-)

Other name Mehl, Melova, Urbach

Born Hamburg, Germany

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Painter, illustrator and costume designer Eva Aldbrook was born Eva Mehl in Hamburg, Germany and immigrated to the UK with her family in 1938. She attended Bunce Court - a progressive boarding school in Kent for Jewish refugee children - for one year, meeting there her future husband Alexander Urbach (afterwards Aldbrook), a Viennese refugee, whom she married seven years later. After training as a classical dancer (taking the name Eva Melova), she studied fashion and costume design under Muriel Pemberton at St. Martin's School of Art, becoming a highly successful fashion illustrator in the 1950s and 1960s, celebrated for her elegant, confident designs with commissions from fashion house Dior and publications including British Vogue, The Evening Standard and The Sunday Times. In later years she turned to portraiture and landscapes of the Tuscan countryside, where she spent some years running an olive farm with her husband, later returning to England.

Object Details

Object type drawing

Medium Pencil

Materials and techniques Pencil (medium) drawing (technique) paper (support)

Unframed 57 x 45.3 cm

Framed 59 x 47.3 cm

Acquisition Presented by the artist 2018

Accession number 2018-02

Display status not on display

Austrian violinist Siegmund Nissel was a co-founder of the Amadeus Quartet, three of whose members met during internment on the Isle of Man. The artist's father-in-law, Ernst Urbach, was also interned on the Isle of Man and afterwards introduced Eva Aldbrook to her subject.

Selected exhibition history

2018 Finchleystrasse: German artists in exile in Great Britain and beyond 1933-45


'Finchleystrasse: German artists in exile in Great Britain and beyond 1933-45' (London: Ben Uri Gallery and Museum in association with the German Embassy London, 2018), p. 13.

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